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HALEY NOW AN OFFICIAL ALUM

Author Alex Haley has often referred to the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., as his alma mater. Now it's official. Haley was awarded the academy's first honorary degree at its 108th commencement. President Bush, who delivered the commencement address Wednesday, conferred upon the 67-year-old Haley the degree of doctor of humane letters. Haley, author of "Roots," retired from the Coast Guard in 1959 after 20 years, leaving with the rating of chief journalist. He completed two years of college before joining the Coast Guard as a cook in 1939. While serving aboard various cutters during World War II, he worked late many nights writing stories and letters. The Coast Guard created the journalist rating for him in 1952. Haley said it's been 50 years since he enlisted, and "this is a marvelous way to end up that golden anniversary."