May is just around the corner and that means that for most universities, including my institution, the University of Southern California (USC), spring commencement will soon be under way. Traditionally, at every graduation ceremony at USC, at least one outstanding nominee is awarded an honorary degree and is entrusted to deliver the commencement speech to the graduating class. According to the USC Honorary Degree criteria, these degrees are awarded “to honor individuals who have distinguished themselves through extraordinary achievements in scholarship, the professions, or other creative activities, whether or not they are widely known by the general public.” The selection of such an individual worthy of this prestigious accolade can not be taken lightly. As James Freedman, president emeritus of the University of Iowa and Dartmouth College, noted: “In bestowing an honorary degree, of which there is a long tradition in American higher education, a university makes an explicit statement to its students and the world about the qualities of character and attainment it admires most.” In this week’s post, I have decided to recognize an individual who has truly distinguished himself in the field of Psychology and, in doing so, is deserving of such an honorary degree of Doctor of Science.
As an alumnus of the University of Southern California, Dr. David Drew Pinsky (pictured below), better known as “Dr. Drew”, has already demonstrated that he possesses the qualities inscribed in our beloved mascot, Tommy Trojan (pictured to the left): faithful, scholarly, skillful, courageous, and ambitious. All kidding aside, Dr. Drew truly is an incredible person. He continues to have a remarkable career as an American board-certified physician and Addiction Medicine specialist, a successful author, a professor at the Keck School of Medicine, a medical magazine editor, a notable television personality, and film actor. However, what Dr. Drew is most famous for is his nationally syndicated radio talk show, Loveline, which can be heard locally in Los Angeles, Sunday thru Thursday from 10:00 pm to 12:00 am on KROQ 106.7 FM. What started out as a once-a-week segment in 1983 while Dr. Drew was still only a fourth-year medical student at USC, has turned into a highly influential program heard in over seventy markets, aimed at helping people, primarily youths and young adults, with relationship, sexuality, abuse, and drug addiction problems. This is where Dr. Drew shines the most. As a practicing internist and addictionologist with training in psychology, Dr. Drew's answers to call-in questions offer sound medical credibility along with compassionate, understanding, and knowledgeable guidance. Some might say that over the years Dr. Drew has grown a bit cynical towards today’s youth, but perhaps they simply have not listened to the show long enough to understand that even at times when he may become frustrated with some of the more scandalous callers, his genuine passion and devotion to help others is always present.
With over twenty-seven years of experience in the fields of medicine and psychology, three successful books, countless interviews, and numerous television and movie appearances Dr. Drew is truly a voice for our generation. One of his greatest traits is his ability to relate to today’s youth whether it is in identifying the serious issues affecting them today or simply by being tuned in to all of the latest trends and current humor in contemporary pop culture. Both are powerful tools he uses to connect with young people that would prove to be very valuable assets in his commencement speech. He certainly would impart the graduating class with useful knowledge in how to succeed in life in a realistic yet approachable manner. With all of his qualifications, attributes, accomplishments, knowledge, and popularity, we should all, as James Freedman said, “celebrate distinguished and sublime achievement” by honoring this fellow Trojan, Dr. David Drew Pinsky.