HICKORY, N.C. (WNCN) – In recognition of his courageous leadership, more than a dozen colleges and universities from across the country are honoring Ukraine’s president with an honorary degree.

Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory is among 16 other schools in five states offering President Volodymyr Zelenskyy an honorary degree at spring commencement.

Manor College and Alfred University have both listed Lenoir-Rhyne University as one of the institutions supporting the joint honorary degree movement.

Manor College will award Zelenskyy an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. The school said in a release that the degree “is typically awarded to those who have distinguished themselves through humanitarian and/or philanthropic contributions to society. Zelenskyy exemplifies leadership through crisis and caring for his people worthy of the conferring of this degree.”

Alfred University said the movement started when they asked Zelenskyy to speak virtually to the graduating Class of 2022 at their commencement ceremony.

An official at the Ukrainian embassy declined the offer which eventually lead to the suggestion that the university award Zelenskyy with an honorary degree. Alfred University said the idea took off with other universities joining them in their efforts.

“It has been beyond heartening to see how readily and positively colleagues at other higher education institutions have responded to the idea. It speaks to how all of us have been galvanized by President Zelenskyy and the citizens of Ukraine to doing whatever we can to help their cause,” said Mark Zupan, president of Alfred University.