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This Day in Georgia History

July 31, 1731

Oglethorpe Received Special Masters Degree

Corpus Christi College at Oxford University awarded James Oglethorpe a special Masters degree. Oglethorpe had attended Corpus Christi but never graduated. History books universally have attributed the honorary degree a recognition of Oglethorpe’s humanitarian work - particularly with respect to prison reform. However, in 1996, Corpus Christi College president Sir Keith Thomas revealed that such honorary degrees were a common practice for “gentleman commoners” in Oglethorpe’s time - if they kept their name on the books long enough.