Senior Homeland Security official has phony PhD.

Well now, isn’t this reassuring:

Laura L. Callahan, now senior director in the office of department CIO Steven Cooper, states on her professional biography that she “holds a Ph.D. in Computer Information Systems from Hamilton University.” Callahan, who is also president of the Association for Federal IRM and a member of the CIO Council, is commonly called by the title “Dr.”…

Hamilton University, according to an Internet search, is located in Evanston, Wyo. It is affiliated with and supported by Faith in the Order of Nature Fellowship Church, also in Evanston. The state of Wyoming does not license Hamilton because it claims a religious exemption. Oregon has identified Hamilton University as a diploma mill unaccredited by any organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

If it weren’t for the fact that so many of these diploma mills are run by religious groups I’d be more inclined to actually get me one of them fancy PhDs just so I could pretend to have a reason for people to call me “Doctor.” I knew there was some reason I didn’t feel all that secure about the Homeland Security department.

Once again found via Boing Boing.

13 thoughts on “Senior Homeland Security official has phony PhD.

  1. There actually is a Hamilton University in Clinton, New York also.  It is a private four-year school and it is very reputable (it was actually one of the schools I was planning on attending).  I wonder if there was a screw-up in the Internet search and perhaps she really attended the one in New York. 
    If the search is correct and she actually did attend the university in Wyoming, I guess I wouldn’t be too surprised.  Politics and deception go together like cookies and milk….for some reason they just work:)

  2. Sorry about that….how about hot chicken wings and cold beer? 
    I’m from Buffalo…people love that combination around here (but not me personally, hence the cookies and milk example!)

  3. There is a Hamilton College in Clinton, New York.  It’s quite prestigious.  However, they only offer undergraduate degrees.  They have no PhD programs.

  4. The federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act and/or
    privacy policy does not permit us to comment on any matter relating to
    specific graduate.  However, we can provide the following general

    While acceptance of the concept of granting of university level credit
    and degrees based on life and work experience has grown tremendously
    over the last quarter century, not everyone embraces this idea.  Some
    detractors can be somewhat vocal in their criticism.

    Higher education today is a very competitive field with many
    institutions (traditional and nontraditional-public and private) vying
    for new students.  It is not hard to understand why some of those
    connected with higher education take aim at a speedy low cost
    alternative.  Criticism generally comes from one of two sources:

    Those directly connected with traditional higher education who are
    anxious to protect their share of students.
    Those connected with other nontraditional schools who are concerned
    a competitive standpoint.

    The Internet is a vast and wonderful tool however it also allows
    individuals to post information of a questionable nature or, in some
    cases, outright falsehoods.  On the Internet you will find sites which
    attempt to convince us that Bill Gates is the Anti-Christ, that
    “The Lion King” is pornographic and that NASA never really landed a man
    on the moon.  Obviously some of the information found on the Internet
    must be viewed with skepticism.

    To some the term “diploma mill” is used to describe ANY school who
    a nontraditional approach to higher education.  Hamilton University is
    not a “diploma mill” and we pride ourselves in applying exacting
    standards to the degree granting process.  Only those who are qualified
    by virtue of their life and work experience are invited to enroll.

    We firmly stand behind our 27+ year record and the validity and
    usefulness of our programs.  As always, it is the responsibility of the
    prospective degree candidate to determine if this type of program will
    meet their specific needs.  The university cannot make that decision
    them.  We can say, however, that, to our knowledge, there is no other
    university with the longevity of Hamilton University that is also able
    to grant degrees based on life and work experience.  The accreditation
    of Hamilton University is fully and correctly discussed in the
    Enrollment Invitation Booklet, at the university’s website and at the
    website of the American Council of Private Colleges and Universities
    (ACPCU).  In order for a school to have a higher level of accreditation
    that school must be primarily classroom or course based as opposed to
    life and work experience based.

    If you have any further questions please let us know. 

    David Anderson, Ph.D.
    Faculty Advisor
    Hamilton University

  5. The American Council of Private Colleges and Universities is a private accrediting association founded to serve small to medium size nonprofit institutions of higher learning. The mission of the association is to establish and enforce strict academic, ethical, financial and evaluative standards for member schools. Charter members provide directors, staff and other services for the association while Primary association members do not. The council does not provide resource information to the public nor does it supply lists of applicants or member schools.

  6. I find it very interesting that a faculty advisor would not only post a rebuke under a username of “Bullfrog,” but that he would proceed to post a followup response mere moments later under the username “KittyHammer” while using completely different email addresses for both comments. The IP address for both comments is the same and trace back to which has merged with Level3 and appears to be a web hosting provider of some sort.

    More interesting still is your assertion that degrees at Hamilton University are based on “life and work experiences.” While I can certainly appreciate that life and work experiences can make someone very qualified for some jobs such as PC Support Technician (seeing as I have held just such a job without a degree), I don’t think I’d want someone who was granted such a degree to be my brain surgeon.

    It’s also interesting to note that the IP address for The American Council of Private College and Universities webpage ( is in the same domain as the IP address for the Hamilton University webpage ( It must be really nice to own not only a fake university, but also a fake accreditation organization (not recognized by the U.S. Department of Education) to give it an official sounding seal of approval, eh?

    It’s great that you stand by your 27+ years of handing out bullshit credentials, but the state of Oregon doesn’t seem to think that’s good enough as they have Hamilton University on their list of “institutions whose degrees cannot legally be used in the state because they’re not accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the state.” Same goes for the state of Michigan, where I live.

    So, please, take your bullshit someplace else and stop trying to pass it off here. We’re not buying it.

  7. Damn it Les, you keep beating me to the punch on responses to this kind of stuff. :X

    Oh well, here’s mine, for what it’s worth.


    a private accrediting association founded to serve small to medium size nonprofit institutions

    Whaaaaaa?  Am I reading that correctly? :rubeyes: I mean, this means I could start printing up PhD’s from the Pullman Institute of Nowiser Science (specializing in the BS, BS and the Phd of BS), and then my wife could start up a business to ‘accredit’ me, and I could pay her by vacuuming the hallway that is currently completely covered with dog fur.

    I can’t imagine that accredited universities would be THAT concerned about losing students to my new university though, “speedy and low cost” as it may be.

    (I hope they don’t award MDs as well as PhDs.  I don’t want someone whose training consists of “life experience” removing my appendix.):roll:

  8. Me too Les, meeee too! Way to tell that poorly educated huckster, that his carefully crafted rebuttal doesn’t impress anybody with a remotely discerning nature. I wonder why he didn’t take the time to read more of your site. If he had, he would have seen that you don’t let posts like his go unchallenged, nor should you. What was that he was saying about some of the information found on the Internet needing to be viewed with skepticism?,BR>
    Also, “As always, it is the responsibility of the
    prospective degree candidate to determine if this type of program will meet their specific needs.” sounds like another way of saying “let the buyer beware” and that Hamilton University will likely not be an impressive educational reference on one’s resume, if one is looking to land any other position than Blockbuster Video Rental Manager or Senior Director of Homeland Security. Anybody can do those jobs… er, ok, the video rental manager’s position probably does require a scintilla of organizational skill.
    Uh oh, because of me, now your going to be getting angry responses from Blockbuster video rental managers.   

  9. I’ll SEE your Video Rental Assistant Manager and I’ll RAISE ya’!!!! …..BWAh ha ha…..;>]

  10. My former financial advisor, Randy Carver, in Mentor, Ohio has a Masters and Doctorate in Finance from Hamilton University. Is anyone familiar with laws dealing with mutual fund and annuity dealers using these phony credentials in Ohio?

  11. Picky picky. 30 years ago a guy named Mark Shedd ran the Philly public school system with a doctorate from some garage in Florida….why gang up on Dr. Laura? Shedd is probably still superintending somewhere and doing real damage to real children….

  12. A masters degree or a Ph.D. isn’t the only thing you can get online for a song.  You can also become an ordained minister for about $30.

    But wait!  There’s more!  For just $20 more they’ll throw in a CD Rom that contains “Sample wedding, funeral, and baptism ceremonies – Easy to customize for each ceremony” and a laminated “Official Business Clergy Parking Placard!” 

    Order now because supplies are limited!

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