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Board revokes Armstrong’s Tufts degree

Published: Friday, November 30, 2012

Updated: Friday, November 30, 2012 12:11


Courtesy Melody Ko

In response to mounting evidence that Lance Armstrong doped during his career, Tufts has rescinded the cyclist’s honorary degree he received in 2006.


In a Nov. 19 email from University President Anthony Monaco regarding the Board of Trustees’ meeting earlier this month, it was announced that the Honorary Degree Committee, with the unanimous vote of the Board, has revoked athlete, philanthropist and seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong’s honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

The university awarded the degree to Armstrong during its 150th Commencement in 2006, at which Armstrong was the keynote speaker. Universities bestow these honorary degrees upon individuals who make distinguished contributions to society or who have set themselves apart in areas related to the humanities.

“The board concluded that, in the wake of the recent report of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and its acceptance by the International Cycling Union, Mr. Armstrong’s actions as an athlete are inconsistent with the values of Tufts University,” the email said.

Earlier this year, after the USADA concluded with evidence that Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs, he lost his seven Tour de France titles and severed ties with the Livestrong Foundation charity, which he founded in 1997.

“A recommendation to rescind the degree was made by the Board’s Committee on Honorary Degrees and then reviewed by the full board, which made its final decision after thoughtfully considering the exceptional circumstances involved,” Tufts Director of Public Relations Kim Thurler said. 

She added that the Board has notified Armstrong of its action. 

At the 2006 Commencement, the university justified its gifting of an honorary degree to Armstrong, stating that he had conquered challenges in his health and career and supported cancer treatment and research. 

“In addition to being an inspirational hero to millions of people who suffer from cancer, you are a legendary athlete and a truly deserving champion,” former University President Lawrence Bacow said while presenting the cyclist with the award at the ceremony. 

To date, Armstrong has not publicly acknowledged the degree’s withdrawal or admitted that he is guilty of doping.

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