Bill Russell Honorary Degree Presented To Him By Boston College at 1999 Commencement


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NBA Hall of Fame legend.

Impressive honorary degree awarded to Bill Russell by Boston College at their commencement ceremonies on May 24, 1999.  The leather folio is imprinted with “William F. Russell” on the outside.  Inside is is the official diploma awarded to Russell conferring the degree of “Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa”.

The 10×13 document is filled with a beautiful dedication to Russell.  It reads, in full:

Boston College salutes William F. Russell

He failed to make his junior high school’s basketball team.  In high school he shared the team’s fifteenth uniform with another player.  By his senior year, he had developed enough talent and skill to win a basketball scholarship to the University of San Francisco, where he led his team to 55 straight victories and two successive NCAA championships.  Joining the Boston Celtics, fresh from a gold medal victory at the 1956 Olympics, he began a career highlighted by 11 championships in 13 years and five Most Valuable Player awards, in a steady rise to Hall of Fame stature, legend status, and widely-held reputation as the best player the game had ever seen.  Along the way, he revolutionized the game of professional basketball and helped give it a prestige it had never before enjoyed.  For his pursuit of excellence in athletic performance and in every subsequent career, for outspoken and forthright advocacy of civil rights and social justice, and for using his celebrity for further the cause of equality, Boston College honors William F. Russell, conferring the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Included with this most attractive document are original snapshot photos of Russell from the day of the ceremony, including several that show this very degree in his own hands.

Also included is a program of ceremonies for the event as well as a cap and tassle which appears, via the included photos, to be the same one he wore the day of this significant event.

The document and additional material all originate directly from the collection of Bill Russell.