Professional Development

Shaq Gets Schooled in Education

By Liana Loewus — May 07, 2012 1 min read

Maybe this guy just holds a special place in my heart because I once ran into him in a Sally’s Beauty Supply store in Phoenix (no, I have no further explanation for why he was there, and yes, he is massive!), but ...

... over the weekend, NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal earned his doctoral degree in education from Barry University in Florida. According to The Miami Herald, the now-retired basketball star has been “quietly working toward his doctoral degree in organizational learning and leadership with a specialization in human resource development. He studied before and after games, and between his work on television as an analyst, often staying up to the wee hours of the morning to get work done.”

O’Neal—ehem, Dr. O’Neal—also has a bachelor’s degree in general studies from Louisiana State University, which he went back to eight years after leaving school in 1992 to enter the NBA draft, and a master’s in business administration from the University of Phoenix.

According to the Herald, O’Neal called earning the doctorate his “No. 1 accomplishment” in life, and cited his mother as his motivator. “Everyone thinks this is honorary,” he said. “But this is not honorary. I put in four and a half hard years staying up late at night, studying, reading, rewriting papers Dr. Kopp marked up.” He completed the program with a 3.81 cumulative GPA.

There’s no word yet on what (if anything) he might do with his degree. (Consider yourself forewarned if they start moving over-sized furniture into the principal’s office in your school.) But if nothing else, it’s nice to hear about a professional athlete who has continued to push himself academically.

Photo: Towering over his classmates, former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal takes part in the graduation ceremony on May 5 at Barry University in Miami. (Peter Andrew Bosch/Miami Herald/AP)

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.