Some Colorado Mesa University (CMU) instructors who have doctorate degrees were upset to see CMU President John Marshall at the December graduation ceremony wearing what looked like the type of graduation robe worn only by doctoral students upon their graduation.
It was an easy mistake to make.
A gown exactly like it with three bars on the sleeves indicates someone who has earned a doctorate or Ph.D. degree.
A gown with four bars on the sleeves indicates a sitting university president, regardless of degrees, or lack thereof.
The flurry of indignation over this matter, though, indicates some members of CMU staff are not only keeping a close eye on Marshall, but are also acutely aware that he lacks a doctorate degree as well as the knowledge and academic experience that goes with it, including having done in-depth research and successfully publishing in peer-reviewed journals. These are normally are prerequisites for anyone holding a position of university president.
Before working at CMU, Marshall made his living as a Republican political operative who, in 2006, called progressive voters “Bed-wetting, pampered liberals,” adding “No one cares what they say about anything.”
Marshall worked to minimize the fact that he lacks a Ph.D. or doctorate degree on his résumé when he applied for the job.
On the last page of his 19-page résumé (which has now been removed from CMU’s website), buried at the bottom of the tiny “Education” section he included at the end, he wrote that he has a “PhD in Public Policy – (Not completed, ABD).”
“ABD” means “All But Dissertation.” In other words, Marshall is a dropout from a Ph.D. program. He also listed no academic publications to his name, either.
A university president who dropped out of a Ph.D. program sets a poor example as the head of an advanced education institution, and people who have actually earned real doctorate degrees are acutely aware of that.