Pomp and celebrity: Famous figures in cap and gown (26 images)

As college students across the United States march in cap and gown to accept their hard-earned degrees, many universities will also be handing out honorary degrees. Those mark significant contributions to a specific field or society as a whole. Here's a look at some famous honorary degree holders through the years.
Updated: May 29, 2018 at 10:16 AM
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Frank Sinatra speaks at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, commencement on May 23, 1976. Sinatra received an honorary degree of humane letters -- the first certificate he had ever received from any educational institution. Sinatra said, "I can finally call my mother and tell her I graduated." File Photo by Wolf Wergin/UPI
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Henry Kissinger adjusts the tassel on his cap prior to receiving an honorary degree at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., on May 29, 1977. He was accompanied by his wife, Nancy, who also received an honorary degree. UPI File Photo
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Mother Teresa, the then 72-year-old nun from Calcutta, India, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, marches in procession during Harvard University’s commencement exercises in Cambridge, Mass., on June 10, 1982. She was awarded an honorary doctor of law degree. File Photo by Pam Price/UPI
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British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher receives an honorary doctor of laws degree from Georgetown University on February 27, 1981 in Washington, D.C. UPI File Photo
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First lady Nancy Reagan, or "Dr. Reagan" as she jokingly corrected a photographer, gets some practice in changing the side of the tassel during a photo session at her hotel shortly before she was to be given a honorary doctor of law degree from Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif. File Photo by Glenn Waggner/UPI
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Brooke Shields (L) receives her actual Princeton University diploma on June 9, 1987 from University Registrar C. Anthony Proh after the graduation ceremony. The actress graduated with honors, receiving her degree in French literature. File Photo by Paul Kern/UPI
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South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela acknowledges applause at Texas State University in Houston on August 12, 1991 as he is presented with an honorary degree. Mandela, imprisoned for 27 years, spoke on human rights to a capacity crowd at convocation. File Photo by George Wong/UPI
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