By Jennifer Copley (Last Updated 16 April 2011)
Trinity Southern University of Texas was exposed as a diploma mill in 2004 after it granted an MBA degree to a housecat named Colby Nolan. Investigators paid $299 for the degree on behalf of a deputy attorney general’s cat.
The fraudulant university was exposed when the cat was granted the degree based on his “resume” (which listed activities such as retail management and babysitting) and provided with not only a degree certificate but also a transcript of grades for classes he had not attended (his grade point averge was listed as 3.5).
Colby isn’t the only certificate-holding feline. Other cats that have been used to expose diploma mills and poor credentialling standards include the following:
- George the cat is a registered hypnotherapist with the British Board of Neuro Linguistic Programming and the Professional Hypnotherapy Practitioner Association
- Henrietta Goldacre posthumously became a certified member of the American Association of Nutritional Consultants
- Kitty O’Malley and Oreo Collins received a high school diplomas
- Toby the cat was made a Certified Real Estate Appraiser by the National Association of Real Estate Appraisers
- Zoe de Katze (which in German translates to “Zoe the cat”) has been certified by several major hypnotherapy associations including the American Board of Hypnotherapy, the American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists, the National Guild of Hypnotists, and the International Medical & Dental Hypnotherapy Association.