Shaq Now Officially "Dr. O'Neal" After Earning PhD
And he's got the papers to prove it
Shaquille O'Neal can be called "Doctor" come Saturday when he graduates from Barry University with a doctoral degree in education.
The former NBA star spent the last 5 years earning his diploma for organizational learning and leadership, with a specialization in human resource development.
Like any student, O'Neal was evaluated for his work, and is walking out in cap and gown with a 3.81 grade-point average after completing 16 courses (54 credits).
Ever the jokester, the title of his doctoral capstone project was “The Duality of Humor and Seriousness in Leadership Styles.’’ He interviewed CEO’s about their use of humor in the workplace.
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So were his teachers worried he'd be a class clown?
David M. Kopp, the department chair, said, “I was skeptical at first, because I only knew what I saw of him on TV and media. I’m not a sports freak, and didn’t know what to make of it. But he insisted he wanted to earn it, and he certainly did that. He was thoughtful, asked very good questions, and never missed an appointment.’’
O'Neal has said of his new title, “Kids can still call me Shaq, but adults should call me Dr. O’Neal. I did this for two reasons. One, I wanted to continue challenging myself, see if I could do it. I was a medium-level juvenile delinquent, didn’t believe in school. But my parents instituted no pass-no play in our house, and that changed my life. Also, a lot of kids look up to me, especially my own kids, and now that I’m not playing anymore, I want them to have something to look up to me for.’’