The University of Northwestern Ohio has bestowed an honorary doctorate of law on 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion in a special ceremony on the Lima, Ohio campus.
The 68-year-old Force saw his team John Force Racing, score its 19th and 20th championships in 2017, courtesy of Force’s daughter Brittany earning the squad’s first Top Fuel title, and son-in-law/team president Robert Hight taking his second Funny Car title.
The 148-race winner, who received an honorary Doctor of Law degree for his historic motorsports career and his dedication to racing safety, toured the UNOH campus and met with students in a variety of degree programs. He also spent time with students on the UNOH motorsports team, joined by Brittany Force, Hight and daughter Courtney Force. All of Force’s daughters, Adria, Ashley, Brittany and Courtney have college degrees.
“I never had this kind of opportunity,” Force told students. “I learned on the racetracks and in the board rooms. I got an education at truck stops across the country.
“I am honored to receive this doctorate, mainly because I saw the passion these UNOH students have for motorsports, as well as their other programs. They are really turning their passions into careers here. I could not be more impressed with what I saw around campus. I am excited to be Dr. Force.”
Force received his honorary degree from college president Dr. Jeffrey A. Jarvis, who said: “John Force is truly a wonderful role model and icon in the motorsports industry. He is not only a championship driver, he embraces a love for the future of the sport which lies within many of our students today.”
Noting that John Force Racing has employed UNOH graduates for years, he said: “It was an easy decision to honor a man that has had such a large impact in the racing industry, business community and educational environment. We are thrilled to have John Force join the UNOH family.”
The University of Northwestern Ohio is the first higher learning institution to bestow an honorary degree on Force. He became the first drag racer recognized with a doctorate and the third motorsports standout, joining Richard Petty and Richard Childress to receive honorary doctorates.