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Local

NIU Academic Affairs committee votes for honorary degree

101-year old retired botanist for DeKalb Agriculture Association top nominee

DeKALB – Northern Illinois University may soon award an honorary degree to a 101-year-old botanist who spent his life's work researching new ways to breed plants all over the world.

Sherret S. Chase, 101, developed a new form of plant breeding, according to the recommendation in the NIU Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and Personnel Committee. He joined the DeKalb Agricultural Association in 1953.

Chase lives in the Catskill Mountains in New York, according to the Yale Daily News.

Brad Bond, dean of Honorary Degrees at Northern Illinois University, said the honorary degree tends to go to people who have helped the community. Bond said the list of nominees was less than 10 and people from outside the university can nominate people for honorary degrees.

"People who through their work or their lives, reflect the values of the university," he said. The techniques he developed are still used in plant breeding, Chase said.

Bond would not comment on Chase, because he did not want to seem to sway for or against Chase receiving the honorary degree when the NIU Board of Trustees votes on the matter March 5.

Despite Chase already having a Ph.D. from Cornell, in Genetics, Bond said Chase could receive it again because it's about honoring someone.

"It's a very traditional way for universities to recognize people," Bond said.

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