By Cassidy Grom | Echo
Taylor University will award Os Guinness, a Christian author and social critic, an honorary doctorate on Wednesday. During chapel, Guinness will address the Taylor community following a short ceremony.
Guinness, who is a direct descendent from the Dublin brewer, Arthur Guinness, was born to missionaries in China in 1941 and later educated at Oxford. According to his website, he is the author or editor of over 30 books, including: "The Call," "Time for Truth," "The Global Public Square" and most recently, "Fool's Talk."
Eric Turner, Taylor's newest trustee and former Speaker Pro Tempore of the Indiana House of Representatives, told President Lowell Haines that Guinness intended to visit the state to be the keynote speaker at this year's Indiana Leadership Prayer Breakfast. Haines then invited Guinness to Taylor.
"He is the kind of writer that I would love (for) our students to be reading," Haines said. "First of all, I think they would find him very approachable . . . but at the same time, he is known far and wide as being one of the great intellects."
As of March 25, Guinness had not decided what he will speak about during the Wednesday chapel service. He said he might speak on the connection between the U.S. Constitution and the covenant made on Mount Sinai as they relate to the history of American constitutional freedom.
Haines estimated that Taylor has previously awarded 25 to 30 honorary degrees. Academic institutions often give honorary degrees to those they hold in high esteem or who have made important contributions to a particular academic field. Honorary degree recipients bypass the normal requirements of taking classes, paying tuition and passing final exams.
In his article, "Why do colleges give out 'honorary' degrees?," writer Zachary Crockett said that awarding honorary degrees allows institutions to build relationships with well-known individuals and gives the institutions publicity.
In order for Taylor University to give the award, both the faculty and the board of trustees must approve. Past recipients include Bill Gaither, who received an honorary doctor of music degree, and former Wheaton College president Duane Litfin, who received a doctor of divinity degree.
"It is meant for people who have either made a huge contribution to Taylor or who have made a huge contribution to the world," Haines said. "The honorary doctorate says something about the person, but it also says something about the school. So, it is a two-way street."
Guinness said he earned a doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University and received four honorary degrees from other universities.