Daily Orange is a nonprofit newsroom that does not receive funding from Syracuse University. Consider donating today to support our mission.
Kevin Richardson will receive an honorary degree from Syracuse University, the first degree awarded in SU history, the university announced on Friday.
SU students launched a petition last year to confer on Richardson, who hoped to attend university before being unjustly convicted of an unspoken murder, an honorary degree. Richardson visited the university for the first time in September 2019, when SU announced that it had created a scholarship in his honor.
In 1989, Richardson and four other black and Latino teenagers – Korey Wise, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana and Yusef Salaam – were falsely accused and arrested for the rape of a woman running in Central Park. Only in 2002, when the real perpetrator admitted the crime, were the “Central Park Five” exonerated.
Chancellor Kent Syverud announced the honorary title at a virtual ceremony as part of the reunion of SU alumni returning together, black and Latino. Although honorary degrees are typically doctoral degrees, Richardson specifically requested that he obtain a bachelor’s degree in fine art – the diploma he hoped to obtain before being arrested by mistake.
“We had planned to award this diploma in early May in 2020,” said Syverud. “We will reschedule our graduation ceremonies as soon as we can. And we look forward to honoring you Kevin personally here at our stadium. “
After his resignation, Richardson became an advocate for criminal justice reform through the Innocence Project, which works to exonerate individuals who have been unjustly convicted of crimes.
Syverud said Richardson’s compassion, commitment to education and perseverance in the face of injustice made him the only one qualified for the honorary degree.
“Syracuse University has never before, in its 150 years, received an honorary degree,” he said. “I can’t think of anyone who deserves this unique honor anymore.”
published in October 17, 2020 at 9:50 am
Contact Chris: email@example.com