Commencement 2013: Celebrities, Politicians, Authors Awarded Honorary Degrees

PHOTO: Ben Affleck receives an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Brown University at the 245th Commencement ceremony, May 26, 2013, in Providence.
Mike Cohea/Brown University/Getty Images

As colleges and universities across the nation confer degrees to graduating seniors in the next few weeks, celebrities, journalists and politicians will be awarded with honorary degrees. Here's a look at who has received an honorary degree this graduation season.

For a look at the notable commencement speakers this year, check out: Commencement 2013 Speakers: Obama to Oprah Winfrey Bestow Words of Wisdom

PHOTO: Actor Ben Affleck attends the premiere of Magnolia Pictures' 'To The Wonder' at Pacific Design Center on April 9, 2013, in West Hollywood, Calif.
Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Ben Affleck, Brown University, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts

Actor Ben Affleck along with five other notable recipients were awarded honorary doctorate degrees on May 26.

Affleck received a doctorate degree in fine arts.

"This is a spectacular honor for me," Affleck told the Providence Journal. "Not only for the education [notch], but now I surpass Matt Damon."

PHOTO: Willie Nelson receives an Honorary Doctor of Music Degree during the 2013 Berklee College Of Music Commencement Ceremony at Berklee College of Music on May 11, 2013 in Boston, Mass.
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Willie Nelson, Berklee College of Music, Honorary Doctor of Music Degree

Country music legend Willie Nelson has been named an honorary doctor — of music.

The 80-year-old Texan was honored May 12 by the Berklee College of Music in Boston, along with musicians Carole King and Annie Lennox.

"I was going to ask them if I could write my own medication," Nelson told the Boston Globe before the ceremony. "Probably not, but it doesn't hurt to ask."

Nelson has long been a staunch advocate of decriminalization of marijuana and has had his share of drug-related brushes with the law.

The new "doctor" seemed to revel in his title, tweeting a picture of himself sporting his trademark long braids and wearing graduation regalia.

Willie Nelson Becomes Honorary Doctor

PHOTO: Henry Louis Gates, Jr. speaks at the premiere screening of "Faces of America" on February 1, 2010 in New York City.
Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images
Henry Louis Gates, Duke University, Honorary Degree

Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates received a honorary degree on May 12 at Duke University. Gates currently directs the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard and is the editor in chief of the online magazine focusing on African American issues --

PHOTO: Kristin Chenoweth stars in the new ABC show "G.C.B." airing on March 4, 2012.
Bill Matlock/ABC
Kristin Chenoweth, Oklahoma City University, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters

Actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth received a honorary doctor of Humane Letters from Oklahoma City University on May 11. "The Pushing Daises" star holds a bachelor of music and master of music in opera performance from Oklahoma City University.

PHOTO: Patrick Dempsey attends the Silhouette photocall, March 4, 2013, in Milan.
Stefania DAlessandro/WireImage/Getty Images
Patrick Dempsey, Bowdoin College, Doctor of Humane Letters

While he's best known for playing Dr. Derek Shepard on the hit show "Grey's Anatomy," Patrick Dempsey was honored with a honorary doctor of Humane Letters degree at Bowdoin College's Reunion Convocation ceremony on June 1.

"Lewiston native is held in high regard in Maine for his philanthropic work and for establishing the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing at the Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston," according to the Bowdoin College website .

PHOTO: Morgan Freeman received a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree at Boston University's commencement ceremony on Nickerson Field, May 19, 2013, in Boston.
Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe/Getty Images
Morgan Freeman, Boston University, Doctor of Humane Letters

Oscar award winning actor Morgan Freeman received a doctor of humane letters degree from Boston University on May 19.

"I am most proud to receive this honorary degree from Boston University," Freeman told BU Today . "However," he adds, "we must never lose sight that there is no such thing as an honorary education."

PHOTO: Barbra Streisand attends the Bloomberg Vanity Fair White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) dinner afterparty in Washington, April 27, 2013.
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Barbra Streisand, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Honorary Doctor of Philosophy

Legendary singer and actress Barbra Streisand will receive an honorary doctor of philosophy degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on June 17.

"Barbra Streisand's transcendent talent is matched by her passionate concern for equality and opportunity for people of every gender and background. Equally important, her love of Israel and her Jewish heritage are reflected in so many aspects of her life and career," Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, president of the Hebrew University said in a news release . "We are deeply proud to honor an individual who exemplifies these values which we at the Hebrew University share and uphold."

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