GALESBURG, Ill. (January 25, 2007) — A small Illinois college says it would consider issuing a new, fireproof honorary degree to simmer down last spring’s commencement speaker, satirist Stephen Colbert.
The arch-browed comic threatened to burn the honorary doctorate of fine arts he received last year after Knox College landed former President Bill Clinton as next June’s graduation speaker.
Colbert fumed that Clinton had “stolen his thunder” Monday during an installment he calls “Who’s Riding My Coattails Now” on his Comedy Central program, “The Colbert Report.”
“If you give Clinton the same doctorate you gave me, I will be forced to burn (my degree) on the air,” said Colbert, who plays a caricature of a conservative pundit on his show.
Knox College President Roger Taylor said Wednesday that Colbert has nothing to worry about.
“You were awarded an honorary doctorate of fine arts, in recognition of your outstanding work as a political satirist. President Clinton will receive an honorary doctorate of laws, for his achievements in public service. It’s not the same degree at all,” Taylor said in a statement.