Yale Makes It Up To Hillary

by Paul Bass | May 25, 2009 10:58 AM | | Comments (3)

hillaryclintonyaledegree.JPGA year after her alma mater dissed her on the presidential campaign trail, Yale opened its arms to Hillary Rodham Clinton Monday by awarding her an honorary degree.

Yale bestowed the degree on the secretary of state at its 308th commencement exercises on Old Campus Monday morning, 36 years after she received her law degree from the university.

She was one of 10 “certain distinguished persons” receiving honorary degrees for lifetime achievement from Yale this year. Also included in the list was writer John McPhee.

Clinton’s triumphant homecoming Monday contrasted with the second-dog shrug she received in February 2008, when she campaigned in Connecticut for U.S. president. New Haven voters chose Barack Obama over Clinton in the Democratic primary that month by more than a 2-1 margin. The margin was even bigger at Yale, which makes up Ward 1: 552 for Obama, just 172 for Clinton. In the Yale graduate school-heavy East Rock Wards 9 and 10, Obama clobbered Clinton 536-252 and 648-298, respectively.

In the days leading up to the primary, the law school in particular was a locus of fervent Obama organizing. Clinton paid a visit to the city a day before the primary. Rather than stage the revival-like mass rallies that Obama did in the state, her staff arranged an intimate, staged gathering to highlight Clinton’s command of health-care issues before the remaining faithful inside a Yale medical school conference room. (Click on the play arrow for a sample.)

All that history was forgotten Monday morning as Clinton was the beloved star at Yale’s festive graduation.

Her award was largely kept a secret, as Yale always maintains a tight lid on the names of its honorary degree recipients until the event itself. However two enterprising Yale Daily News reporters caught wind of the news, confirmed it, and posted an advance on the paper’s website Sunday.

Clinton skipped the annual pre-commencement parade of Yale officials and degree recipients that courses through downtown and leads into the Old Campus. Instead she pulled up to the Old Campus gate on blocked-off Elm Street around 10 a.m. in a phalanx of Secret Service vehicles with D.C. and New York plates.

DSCN3241.JPGShe and her entourage walked through the otherwise locked Elm Street entrance, opened just for her.

DSCN3244.JPGThey retired for a few minutes inside Durfee Hall, then emerged as graduates streamed into Old Campus through the High Street gate.

The eight-paragraph pronouncement accompanying Clinton’s award hailed her historic quest to become the nation’s first female president: “Ms. Clinton won more than 18 million votes in state primaries and energized great numbers of volunteers. After Barack Obama won the presidency, she accepted his invitation to serve as Secretary of State, assuming the country’s leading diplomatic position in January 2009 at a time of great challenges in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Gaza, North Korea, and other countries.” (Read more about Yale’s commencement here and here.)

DSCN3250.JPGAs Clinton prepared to take the stage, Johnese Webb (at left in photo) prepared a block away to serve post-commencement lunch at Yale’s Trumbull College.

She hadn’t yet heard the news of Clinton’s award. She said was pleased, even though she cast her vote for Obama in the primary.

“I love her. She had my vote, when they were talking about she may be running years ago,” Webb said. “But Obama came out of nowhere and took her thunder.”

Share this story

Share |


Posted by: HILL BILLY | May 25, 2009 10:08 PM


Time today would have been better spent talking with world leaders about North Korea's Nuke testing, than gallivanting around Yale over self pity and adulation. Hope your not an example of the Obama Administration!

Bill would not have approves of your actions.

Posted by: PYW | May 26, 2009 12:43 PM

How do we know she wasn't talking with world leaders at some point? The Yale ceremony hardly took up the whole day.

Posted by: PYW | May 26, 2009 1:03 PM

As I suspected, she DID talk to foreign leaders Monday.


Special Sections

Legal Notices

Some Favorite Sites

Government/ Community Links



N.H.I. Site Design & Development

NHI Store

Buy New Haven Independent Stuff

News Feed

Powered by
Movable Type 3.35