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A college puts the ‘cat’ into ‘education’ by giving Max an honorary ‘doctor of litter-ature’ degree


CASTLETON, Vt. — A Vermont university has bestowed the honorary degree of “doctor of litter-ature” on Max the cat, a beloved member of its community, ahead of students’ graduation on Saturday.

Vermont State University’s Castleton campus is honoring the feline not for his mousing or napping, but for his friendliness.

“Max the Cat has been an affectionate member of the Castleton family for years,” the school said in a Facebook post.

The popular tabby lives in a house with his human family on the street that leads to the main entrance to campus.

“So he decided that he would go up on campus, and he just started hanging out with the college students, and they love him,” owner Ashley Dow said Thursday.

This photo shows a special diploma for Max the Cat at Vermont State University in Castleton, Vt.
This photo shows a special diploma for Max the Cat at Vermont State University in Castleton, Vt. (Photo: Rob Franklin, Vermont State University)

He’s been socializing on campus for about four years, and students get excited when they see him. They pick him up and take selfies with him, and he even likes to go on tours with prospective students that meet at a building across from the family’s house, she said.

“I don’t even know how he knows to go, but he does,” Dow said. “And then he’ll follow them on their tour.”

The students refer to Dow as Max’s mom, and graduates who return to town sometimes ask her how Max is doing.

Max won’t be participating in the graduation, though. His degree will be delivered to Dow later.



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