A College Puts the ‘Cat’ into ‘Education’ by Giving Max an Honorary ‘Doctor of Litter-ature’ Degree

This photo provided by Vermont State University shows Max the Cat stands in front of Woodruff Hall at Vermont State University Castleton on Oct. 12, 2023 in Castleton, Vt. (Rob Franklin/Vermont State University via AP)
This photo provided by Vermont State University shows Max the Cat stands in front of Woodruff Hall at Vermont State University Castleton on Oct. 12, 2023 in Castleton, Vt. (Rob Franklin/Vermont State University via AP)
TT

A College Puts the ‘Cat’ into ‘Education’ by Giving Max an Honorary ‘Doctor of Litter-ature’ Degree

This photo provided by Vermont State University shows Max the Cat stands in front of Woodruff Hall at Vermont State University Castleton on Oct. 12, 2023 in Castleton, Vt. (Rob Franklin/Vermont State University via AP)
This photo provided by Vermont State University shows Max the Cat stands in front of Woodruff Hall at Vermont State University Castleton on Oct. 12, 2023 in Castleton, Vt. (Rob Franklin/Vermont State University via AP)

A Vermont university has bestowed the honorary degree of “doctor of litter-ature” on Max the cat, a beloved member of its community, ahead of students' graduation on Saturday.

Vermont State University’s Castleton campus is honoring the feline not for his mousing or napping, but for his friendliness.

“Max the Cat has been an affectionate member of the Castleton family for years,” the school said in a Facebook post.

The popular tabby lives in a house with his human family on the street that leads to the main entrance to campus.

“So he decided that he would go up on campus, and he just started hanging out with the college students, and they love him,” owner Ashley Dow said Thursday.

He's been socializing on campus for about four years, and students get excited when they see him. They pick him up and take selfies with him, and he even likes to go on tours with prospective students that meet at a building across from the family's house, she said.

“I don't even know how he knows to go, but he does,” Dow said. “And then he'll follow them on their tour.”

The students refer to Dow as Max's mom, and graduates who return to town sometimes ask her how Max is doing.

Max won't be participating in the graduation, though. His degree will be delivered to Dow later.



Several Missing in Landslide in Swiss Alps as Heavy Rains Cause Flash Floods

People were also advised against filming or photographing the floods for safety reasons. - The AP
People were also advised against filming or photographing the floods for safety reasons. - The AP
TT

Several Missing in Landslide in Swiss Alps as Heavy Rains Cause Flash Floods

People were also advised against filming or photographing the floods for safety reasons. - The AP
People were also advised against filming or photographing the floods for safety reasons. - The AP

Three people were missing on Saturday after massive thunderstorms and rainfall in southeastern Switzerland caused a landslide, authorities said.

One woman was pulled out alive after being buried by the landslide in the Alpine valley of Misox in Graubünden. A rescue operation for the three others is ongoing.

The rockslide hit a group of houses in the municipality of Lostallo. Rescuers have been searching all day Saturday with excavators and specially-trained search dogs. William Kloter from the Swiss police, who is heading the rescue operations, told local media that he was hoping to find the three missing persons alive.

Swiss President Viola Amherd said she was shocked by the scale of the damage caused by severe weather, The AP reported.

“My thoughts are with those affected. I thank the emergency personnel for their tireless efforts in this difficult situation,” Amherd said on X.

Elsewhere in Switzerland, the popular tourist destination of Zermatt in the southern canton of Valais near the iconic Matterhorn mountain remains inaccessible. Heavy rains and melting snow have caused the Mattervispa River to overflow, cutting off the village.

Dramatic videos showed the otherwise small river that flows through Zermatt turning into a muddy flash flood, partially submerging streets in the popular ski resort.

The Matterhorn-Gotthard Railway halted operations with no alternative transportation available, the railway company announced on social media on Saturday morning.

Emergency services in the canton of Valais were on high alert over the levels of the Rhone River, which reached its peak on Saturday. Authorities there evacuated 230 residents on Saturday, with the municipality of Chippis particularly affected, as it is situated on the left bank of the Rhone River.

Authorities have warned residents to avoid lower parts of their houses, including cellars, stay away from swelling rivers and refrain from parking on bridges. People were also advised against filming or photographing the floods for safety reasons.