Concordia University, River Forest | F. Amanda Tugade

Concordia University Chicago President Russell Dawn has nominated conservative journalist Mollie Hemingway to receive an honorary doctorate degree from the River Forest-based institution, according to university spokesperson Eric Matanyi.

Wednesday Journal first learned about the president’s nomination through an anonymous letter. The nomination was later confirmed by Matanyi. Honorary degrees are often given to individuals who have made important contributions to their fields of study.

Hemingway is the senior editor of The Federalist and was referred to as “one of Mr. Trump’s favorites” by New York Times reporter Jeremy W. Peters in an August 2020 article. In that same piece, Peters examined how writers such as Hemingway, who once openly criticized former president Donald Trump, now sided with him and publicly worked to “explain away” his policies.

Hemingway’s “stories for The Federalist earned presidential retweets and affirmation for their scathing criticism of Democrats and the news media, whom she accuses of lying about just about everything when it comes to the president,” Peters wrote.

Early last month, Hemingway released her book, “Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized our Elections,” through Regnery Publishing, a Washington D.C.-based publishing company billed as the “leading publisher of conservative books.”

Hemingway’s father Larry Ziegler is a retired pastor of Mount Zion Lutheran Church in Colorado, which like Concordia is affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. 

Russell P. Dawn, Concordia University president | File Photo

Matanyi declined the Journal’s request for an interview with Dawn.

Matanyi told the Journal that “I can’t speak for the president and why he put forth a nomination in particular, but I can say that we get many nominees every semester, and [those] nominees frequently reflect a wide range of viewpoints held by our faculty and staff.”

“Recognizing, respecting and discussing diverse viewpoints is one of the primary values of a university education,” he said. “That’s why people go to a university, and doing so, recognizing, respecting and discussing those viewpoints really prepares our students for success.”

Matanyi said that university faculty and staff nominated many people this semester, including Hemingway, and a degree recipient has been chosen for the 2021-22 school year. He explained further that a faculty-led committee reviews all nominations before making a final selection.

“I can tell you that the fair process does not favor specific nominees nor does it favor those who submit nominations, and I do know that the voting on final recipients also occurs anonymously,” he said.

In addition, CUC does not award the same number of honorary degrees to individuals each year. In previous years, CUC had two or three recipients or none at all, and the faculty committee makes that decision, Matanyi said.

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