Baylor College of Medicine awards honorary degree to J.J. Watt

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston Texans star J.J. Watt will receive an honorary degree from Baylor College of Medicine in May.

According to a release sent by the school, Watt and Houston Emergency Medical Services Director Dr. David Persse will both receive honorary degrees for their major roles in serving the community during Hurricane Harvey.

"In the year following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and the community's incredible response, it was most fitting to honor two community leaders who contributed in major ways, Dr. Persse and J.J. Watt. Our graduates and their families can take important lessons from all four of these honorary degree recipients," said Dr. Paul Klotman, president, CEO and executive dean of Baylor.

Also receiving honorary degrees will be the college's commencement speaker, Nobel Laureate Dr. Robert Lefowitz and Dr. Alice McPherson, professor of ophthalmology at Baylor.

Watt and Persee will receive a Doctor of Humanities in Medicine degree. This degree is awarded by the College to individuals who have provided exceptional support or service directly or indirectly to Baylor or to academic medicine as a whole and to the community.

Following Hurricane Harvey, Watt raised more than $37 million to support recovery efforts from the storm. Watt was named the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year along with Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve. Watt also won the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year for his humanitarian efforts and athletic excellence.

Lefkowitz and McPherson will receive a Doctor of Letters in Medicine degree. This degree is awarded to physicians or research scientists who have excelled in medicine through teaching, research or public service and whose acts have brought credit or advancement to Baylor or to the profession of academic medicine.

Commencement ceremonies for the School of Medicine and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences will be held Tuesday, May 29, at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts.
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