Former Rep. John Dingell to get honorary UM degree

David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

The University of Michigan plans to award the longest-serving member of Congress in history an honorary degree at its spring commencement in Ann Arbor.

The school in Ann Arbor said former Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, will be awarded an honorary doctor of laws. The University of Michigan Board of Regents is scheduled to vote to grant the honorary degrees on Thursday.

Dingell, 88, was awarded the presidential medal of freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor — in December. He was released in December from George Washington University Hospital after an 18-day stay following a broken hip.

He has been in much better health in recent months since retiring after 59 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he cast more than 25,000 votes. His wife, Debbie Dingell, succeeded him in January after winning election in November.

The spring commencement speakers on May 2 at Michigan Stadium will be Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig, co-owners and founding partners of Zingerman's Community of Businesses which includes the Ann Arbor restaurant that was visited last year by President Barack Obama. Each receive honorary doctor of laws degrees.

Others honorees are Sanford R. Robertson, a venture capitalist and founding partner of Francisco Partners, as well as Robert J. Shiller, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, best-selling author and UM alumnus. Schiller will be the speaker at the Rackham graduate exercises.

Also getting honorary degrees are Robin Wright, award-winning journalist and UM alumna, and Dr. Tadataka Yamada, global health expert and former faculty member in the medical school.