Hillary Clinton LAW ’73 to receive honorary degree

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton LAW ’73 will be in New Haven on Monday to receive an honorary degree, the News has learned.

A spokeswoman for the Clinton Foundation confirmed Sunday that Clinton would receive the degree. University officials neither confirmed nor denied that the former first lady would receive the award or be on campus. Honorary degree recipients will be announced formally Monday.

Hillary Clinton LAW '73, seen here campaigning in Iowa, will be in New Haven on Monday to receive an honorary degree.
Chris Young
Hillary Clinton LAW '73, seen here campaigning in Iowa, will be in New Haven on Monday to receive an honorary degree.

A person familiar with Commencement proceedings said Clinton would not arrive on campus the day before Commencement exercises, as is customary for honorary degree recipients. Instead, she will arrive Monday morning.

State Department spokeswoman Julie Reside could not confirm or deny whether Clinton would attend the Commencement ceremony, adding that Clinton’s public schedule for Monday is open all day. Still, she said, a trip to New Haven could be deemed a personal event and thus be left off the schedule.

This year’s Commencement budget for security has remained the same as last year’s, when former British Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke at Class Day. University administrators declined in recent weeks to reveal why the budget for event security remained so high, though one University official hinted earlier this month that a prominent individual could receive an honorary degree.

University Deputy Secretary Martha Highsmith, who heads Yale security, would not confirm Clinton’s appearance, but added that if Clinton were to come to campus, security would be tightened for Commencement.

When asked about Clinton’s honorary degree on Sunday, University spokeswoman Helaine Klasky simply said: “We never discuss such things.”

University President Richard Levin made a note of Clinton during his Baccalaureate Address, calling her a Yale graduate who is contributing to “greater international cooperation and understanding.” In his speech, Levin encouraged the class of 2009 to follow her example.

Hardly a stranger to the graduation proceedings, Clinton delivered the Class Day address in 2001. The last time she came to Yale was in February 2008, when the then-Democratic Presidential contender met with a group of women at a roundtable discussion at the Yale Child Study Center.

Her husband, former U.S. President Bill Clinton LAW ’73, came to campus last October and spoke at his 35th Yale Law School reunion.

Isaac Arnsdorf, Florence Dethy, Harrison Korn, Paul Needham, Eric Randall and Derek Tam contributed reporting.

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