America’s incoming First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, is handling her first controversy with grace. The Ph.D.-holder and professor will become the first First Lady to work a full-time job when her husband, Joe Biden, becomes president next year, but a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed sought to stomp on that achievement by saying she shouldn’t use her hard-earned “Dr.” prefix. “That was such a surprise!” she laughed on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert Thursday, adding, “It was really the tone of it … You know, he called me ‘kiddo.’ One of the things I’m most proud of is my doctorate, I mean, I worked so hard for it.” Biden received a Doctor of Education from the University of Delaware in 2007, where she published her dissertation Student Retention at the Community College: Meeting Students’ Needs. Since 2009, she has been a professor of English at Northern Virginia Community College.
In the December 11 op-ed, the author called her dissertation title “unpromising” and compared her degree to the “honorary” degrees celebrities are often given. “Madame First Lady — Mrs. Biden — Jill — kiddo: a bit of advice on what may seem like a small but I think is a not unimportant matter,” begins the op-ed, misogyny on full display. “Any chance you might drop the ‘Dr.’ before your name?” The, frankly, rude essay was met with widespread criticism online. “Look at all the people who came out in support of me,” she remained optimistic. “I mean, I am so grateful and I was just overwhelmed by how gracious people were to me.”