Beloved university campus cat receives honorary degree at graduation

Beloved university campus cat receives honorary degree at graduation

Vermont State University, in Castleton, Vermont, held its commencement this weekend, as many of the university’s hard-working students received their diplomas.

But the school also granted an honorary degree to a very special friend who helped support many of the students through their education — a cat named Max!

Max belongs to a family who live right near the campus, and as an outdoor cat Max likes to roam around and make friends with the students and faculty. Over the years, he’s become a true campus favorite.

“I was asked, ‘What’s your affiliation with the college?’ I was like, ‘My cat is the emotional support animal,’” Max’s owner Ashley Dow told WCAX. “He likes to be carried around on backpacks. Students pick him up and he crawls up on their backs.”

Students say Max is a friendly and affectionate cat who always appreciate a pet or a hug. Faculty members say Max has even become a favorite of campus tours, following around groups of prospective attendees.

At the end of this semester, the Vermont State University decided to officially acknowledge Max’s beloved contributions to campus life: they awarded him his own honorary diploma!

The school announced the news in a pun-filled release, along with some photos of Max basking in the attention on campus.

“With a resounding purr of approval from the faculty, the Board of Trustees of the Vermont State Cat-leges has bestowed upon Max Dow the prestigious title of Doctor of Litter-ature, complete with all the catnip perks, scratching post privileges, and litter box responsibilities that come with it,” the university wrote.

It may all sound like a joke, but animals can be a real boost to one’s mental health and wellbeing, especially during what can be a stressful four years. University officials say that Max has had a noticable, positive effect on students.

“You can see him enlighten students,” Jessica Duncan, the school’s director of career development and innovation, told WCAX.

“Day to day, I look out my window and see him walking along and I see students put down their phones and pick up Max, and he jumps on their back and they’re taking selfies with him. He draws the crowds.”

With another semester over and the summer break starting up, Max’s owners say he will be “kind of sad” after finding the campus gone and spend more time hanging around the house.

But in a few months, he’ll be eager to greet the new students.

“The students will come back in the fall and he’ll be gone for three days, and we’ll have to go looking for him and he’s up there up on campus hanging out waiting for his people,” Ashley Dow said.

Congratulations to Max on receiving an honorary diploma! He deserves it after bringing so much joy and comfort to students on campus.

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