Johns Hopkins revokes Bill Cosby's honorary degree after guilty verdict

Iconic entertainer was among those honored by the university in 2004

Johns Hopkins University announced Thursday afternoon that its board of trustees has revoked an honorary degree previously presented to Bill Cosby, hours after the iconic entertainer was convicted on three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault in connection with a 2004 incident at his home near Philadelphia.

Bill Cosby at Johns Hopkins

Image caption: Bill Cosby at Johns Hopkins University's commencement ceremonies in 2004.

Image credit: Homewood Photography

Cosby, 80, was one of four people to receive an honorary from the university in 2004, and he spoke that year at the diploma ceremony for seniors from the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and the Whiting School of Engineering.

This is the first known instance of Johns Hopkins rescinding an honorary degree, which the university has presented to more than 480 individuals since 1880.

"The university conferred the honorary degree on the comedian and actor in 2004 based on his professional accomplishments to that date," the university said in a statement. "At the time the honorary degree was conferred, the university was unaware of the allegations that Mr. Cosby sexually assaulted dozens of women over decades.

"Johns Hopkins honors the principle of due process. The jury's decision today is the result of a fair and independent process. Accordingly, the Board of Trustees has decided to revoke Mr. Cosby's degree.

"As a university, we stand in firm opposition to sexual assault, whether on our campuses or elsewhere. This decision underscores that opposition."

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