Saturday, June 1, 2013

Harvard Continues Its Downward Spiral in Academic and Scholarly Areas – Has Media Mogul Oprah Winfrey as a Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient

Remembering When Harvard Stood for the Very Best

This Forum has nothing against Oprah Winfrey, in fact like almost everyone else in America we admire her accomplishments in business and entertainment.  Ms. Winfrey has succeeded against what is probably the biggest odds against success in America, she is an African American woman whose success has come despite an upbringing in a low income family in the rural south.

Ms. Winfrey was recently honored at Harvard commencement activities and given the traditional honorary degree.  And while Ms. Winfrey’s business and economic success is certainly a proud achievement, one wonders exactly what she has done to validate recognition by Harvard in such a prestigious manner.  According to Ms. Winfrey, one of her great accomplishments was making her namesake network a success.

Oprah Harvard
Ms. Winfrey at Harvard
A Great Success Story - But Is Harvard Trying to Buy a Big Donation?

And then came OWN, which during its first year left her "stressed" and "frustrated." She said, "I thought I'm going to turn this thing around and be better for it" by the time Harvard's graduation day came. Today, she said, "I have turned that network around!"

Now it may be that Harvard felt the honors should go to Ms. Winfrey because she overcame such tremendous odds in her life.  But while we hate to be the thrower of cold water on Ms. Winfrey's happiness and pride at getting this honor, we think maybe there is another motivation.

Harvard President Drew Faust said in March that Oprah is one of the great American success stories. Forbes listed her as the 11th most powerful woman in the world last year. She has a net worth of $2.7 billion.

And Harvard, whose endowment, largely unspent on things like education at Harvard and is only slightly less than the GDP of small countries, certainly has its eye on some of tha $2.7 billion.  Yep, that would explain a lot.

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