Michael R. Bloomberg
New York City mayor and Bloomberg founder
Doctor of Laws: University of Pennsylvania
Non-Honorary Degrees: BA in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins, MBA from Harvard
Qualifications: He built a huge media business, then brought his pragmatism to City Hall. But maybe he should be a Doctor of Interior Design: He also introduced a now-much-copied open-floor office plan similar to the one used at Bloomberg.
Doctor of Business: University of Utah
Non-Honorary Degrees: None. Dropped out of Utah after three years
Qualifications: Born in Brazil, Neeleman returned there as a 19-year-old for a Mormon mission and won 200 converts in the slums of Rio. Last year, he used his persuasive powers to assuagefliers after more than 1,000 flights were canceled in five days in February — but still lost his CEO job.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Doctor of Science University of Pennsylvania
Non-Honorary Degrees: BA in physics from Harvard, PhD in astrophysics from Columbia
Qualifications: Named Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive by People in 2000. Tyson, the director of New York's Hayden Planetarium, led the push to downgrade Pluto's planetary status, forcing millions of people to edit the mnemonic "My very elegant mother just sat upon nine porcupines."
Holder of three of the nine original IBM PC patents
Doctor of Science Wheaton College
Non-Honorary Degrees: BS from Tennessee, MS from Florida Atlantic, PhD from Stanford, all in electrical engineering
Qualifications: All the black kids shared one room in his segregated school, so he learned fourth-grade math in first grade. After desegregation, he was bored. He once said, "I couldn't read worth a darn, but all I cared about was math anyway."
Sheila E. Widnall
Doctor of Science: Oxford, Northwestern, and Claremont Graduate Univ
Non-Honorary Degrees: BS, MS, and ScD from MIT in aeronautics/astronautics
Qualifications: Lots. The first woman to head a branch of the U.S. military (the Air Force), she already has 12 honorary degrees. She tells Fast Company: "I'm particularly proud that my mother was a juvenile probation officer and my father a rodeo cowboy — both good role models."
A version of this article appeared in the June 2008 issue of Fast Company magazine.