Honorary Doctorate Recipients

2023 Honorary Degree Recipient

At commencement, we are humbled to honor movers and shakers who have made a difference and personify the mission and values of Beacon College through the recognition of an Honorary Doctorate degree.

Temple Grandin, Ph.D.

Temple Grandin with cowA distinguished scientist and author, Grandin notably transformed the design of livestock facilities helping to eliminate pain and fear from the slaughtering process. Diagnosed with autism at a young age, her parents fought doctors’ advice to place her in an institution and instead enrolled her in private school education nurturing her IQ. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Franklin Pierce College, and then continued her education with a master’s degree and a doctorate in animal science from Arizona State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, respectively. She has authored more than 400 scientific journals on livestock practices and over 25 books on autism. Today she teaches courses on livestock behavior and facility design at Colorado State University and consults with the livestock industry on facility design, livestock handling, and animal welfare. Her awards and distinctions include inductions into the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, being named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World,” the Difference Maker Award from the PBS TV show “A World of Difference: Embracing Neurodiversity,” and an award-winning 2010 HBO biopic, “Temple Grandin,” starring Claire Danes.


Past Honorary Degree Recipients

The following people have been awarded honorary doctorate degrees from Beacon College.

2022: Jhillika Kumar, a social impact entrepreneur, diversity and inclusion community builder, and advocate for disability empowerment; and Dr. Harold “Hackie” Reitman, an entrepreneur, author, filmmaker, retired orthopedic surgeon and former professional heavyweight boxer.

2019: James T. Brett, national disability advocate and former Massachusetts legislator, and Dr. Charles Vert Willie, professor of education, emeritus, at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

2018: Sheikha Jameela Al-Qasimi, director general of Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (United Arab Emirates), and Sen. Andrew and Camille Gardiner, former Florida State Senate President and disability advocates

2017: Sen. Tom Harkin, former U.S. Senator and architect of the Americans with Disabilities Act

2016: Rep. Daniel A. Webster, U.S. Representative

2013: John M. Hutchinson, Ph.D., former interim president of Beacon College

2012: Dr. Alexa Posny, former assistant secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services and former director of the U.S. Education Department’s Office of Special Education Programs

2011: Bambi Lockman, former chief of the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services in the Florida Department of Education