Honorary Degree Recipients

Since 1890, Temple University has awarded close to 900 honorary (typically doctorate) degrees to outstanding leaders, artists, scientists, and professionals from all walks of life whose values and achievements exemplify the mission and ideals of the university. This honor recognizes recipients' extraordinary accomplishments, celebrates their life achievements, and signifies the highest level of respect.

2017 Recipients

Richard Albert Vermeil
Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa

Richard Albert "Dick" Vermeil spent 15 seasons as a National Football League (NFL) head coach. He began coaching high school football after graduating from San Jose State. Vermeil then coached at the community college level, until he was hired as an NCAA Division I assistant coach for Stanford in 1965. In 1974, Vermeil was named UCLA's head coach and led the Bruins to a 1976 Rose Bowl Championship.

Vermeil began coaching for the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1976. Under him the Eagles made the playoffs four times and competed in Super Bowl XV in 1980. Vermeil retired in 1982 and served as a football analyst for 14 years at CBS and ABC. He also provided color commentary for the Kansas City Chiefs' preseason television broadcasts.

In 1997, he returned to the NFL as head coach of the St. Louis Rams, leading them to their first Super Bowl victory in 2000. Vermeil retired again, but returned to coaching in 2001, when he was named the Kansas City Chiefs' ninth head coach. Following his fifth season with the Chiefs, Vermeil retired for the final time.

Vermeil is a supporter of many organizations, including the Boys & Girls Club of Philadelphia and Chester County Food Bank. In 2008, he turned a winemaking hobby into a successful business that produces 3,000 cases of wines annually.

Vermeil and his wife, Carol, reside in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and have three children and eleven grandchildren.

Estelle B. Richman
Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa

Estelle B. Richman is former secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, a position she held under former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell from 2003 to 2009. Richman left that post to join the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where she oversaw goal setting and outcomes measurement for all major departments and regional offices as chief operating officer and acting deputy secretary. Richman also served as senior advisor to the department, specializing in health and human services issues.

For more than 30 years, Richman has been dedicated to serving the most vulnerable Pennsylvania residents through her roles as Philadelphia's deputy commissioner for mental health; commissioner of public health, mental retardation and substance abuse services; director of social services; and managing director for the City of Philadelphia.

Currently, Richman is senior strategic advisor for Sellers Dorsey, a healthcare consulting firm that educates individuals about marketplace policies. She chairs the board of the First Hospital Foundation and the Philadelphia Citizens for Children and Youth, and serves as a board member of the William T. Grant Foundation.

The American Medical Association honored Richman for her advocacy efforts, and she is the recipient of numerous other accolades. She earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from Western Reserve University and a master's degree in clinical and community psychology from Cleveland State University.

Richman has two children and four grandchildren, and resides in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia.

Past Recipients

View past Temple honorary degree recipients »