The Executive Committee of the Siena College Board of Trustees voted on August 8 to rescind an honorary degree awarded to former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, former archbishop emeritus of Washington, effective immediately. 

The vote was unanimous, and the campus community was informed via e-mail today.

In a July 28 announcement from the Vatican, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of McCarrick from the College of Cardinals, ordering him to a life of “prayer and penance” after recent and credible allegations that the cardinal sexually abused minors and adults over the course of decades.

McCarrick was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Sacred Theology at Siena’s Commencement ceremonies in May 2007. This is the first time Siena has rescinded any degree.

“In voting to rescind, Siena’s Board and the entire College community stand in support and belief with the survivors of sexual abuse by members of the clergy,” said Br. F. Edward Coughlin, O.F.M., Ph.D., president of Siena College. “The tragic emotional and spiritual harm done to these children and adults may have occurred years or even decades ago, but it is profound and long-lasting, and in many cases may never be fully healed.

“We rescind the honorary degree as an act of compassion for and solidarity with those who have suffered.”