Shaq Now a ... PhD

O'Neal to graduate with doctoral degree
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2012 9:44 AM CDT
Shaq Now a ... PhD
In this photo released by Chase on Saturday, March 31, 2012, Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal greets cardmembers at the Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card from Chase event in Orlando, Fla.   (Alex Della Gatta/AP Images for Chase)

(Newser) – That's Dr. Shaq to you: Shaquille O'Neal graduates Saturday from Barry University with a PhD, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. The retired NBA star's doctoral degree, earned after 4½ years at the Miami university, is in education—or, if you want to get technical, Organizational Learning and Leadership with a specialization in human resource development. He completed 16 courses, or 54 credit hours, with a 3.813 GPA, and presented his doctoral dissertation, "How Leaders Utilize Humor or Seriousness in Leadership Roles," two weeks ago.

"He was a good student," says the chair of his program, but of course, he had a bit of a tight schedule. Professors often flew to him at various locations around the country to hold one-on-one classes, travel that O'Neal paid for. He also sometimes used video conferencing or even, occasionally, attended class on campus. O'Neal will use the degree in his post-NBA career as an entrepreneur, but says in a press release that he really got it for his mother, "who always stressed the importance of education. … I'm smart enough to know that, even at my tender age, my pursuit of education is never finished." (He joins Tyra Banks, who is now officially a Harvard alum.)

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