Veteran Feminists of America 

by Eleanor Pam

On April 21, 2014, Kate Millett received an honorary doctorate degree in Science from her Alma Mater at the University of Minnesota.  It was an event I had been invited to attend but regretfully could not. 

Kate has been receiving so many honors in recent years that even her calendar, much less mine, has been overwhelmed.  It seems that everyone, everywhere wants to recognize and celebrate her life and work.

Below, Sophie Keir, Kate's close companion and friend describes the event.  Since Kate now has two doctoral degree I have taken to calling her Dr. Dr. Millett and I'm afraid it has taken hold now of both Sophie and me, and we can't stop.

The following email is a wonderful and important snapshot of Kate Millett and the meaning of her work as apprehended by those who gave Kate this award. 

It clearly merits a wider readership than me so I asked--and received--Sophie's permission to publish it on the website.  


Dear Eleanor,

Do you remember we were wondering why Kate was going to receive a Doctor of Science - a woman who can't follow a recipe or find True North?

This was the response from the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts:

The University of Minnesota awards the following honorary degrees:

  • Doctor of Humane Letters for cultural contributions
  • Doctor of Laws, for public service
  • Doctor of Science, for contributions to knowledge 

Given how the University defines the parameters of each degree, Kate received the Doctor of Science because of her contributions to knowledge. This is a much broader category than that understood by the Doctor of Humane Letters. Kate is, of course, a literary critic, a sculptor, and a novelist, but the impact of her work transcended the usual boundaries of those fields. Kate is in her various writings also a cultural critic, a historian, a social critic and very effective activist, a political philosopher, and a staunch advocate for equal rights, human rights, and social justice. Kate encompasses in her career the ideals of the talented, multidisciplinary humanists of the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. The most memorable of them did it all: politics, education, moral philosophy, rhetoric/poetry, history, natural sciences, religion/ theology, social criticism. Because of her exceptional accomplishments and transformative impact on so many fields, Kate was awarded the Doctor of Sciences rather than the Doctor of Humane. Kate is truly deserving of that most capacious of all honorary degrees, that of a Doctor of Science.

So here we are, back in NYC after a wonderful week of events in St. Paul/Minneapolis.  Dr. Dr. Millett, who, with this new honor, now assumes she is a scientist, is making our smoothies in a beaker. 

I hope this update finds you well and still enjoying life in the warmth of the sun. Let us know please, when you plan to return.  It's been too long between visits and exclamation points.

Much Love,


 Kate Millett Website: