Note: This post is only about a specific claim Scott Wolter made prior to hosting America Unearthed. For my reviews of the show, please see my America Unearthed reviews page.
America Unearthed star Scott Wolter claims to hold a 1987 honorary master's degree in geology from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. This claim appears in his corporate biographies, and he claimed the degree in a 2009 Coast to Coast interview. He uses this as one of his credentials as a "forensic geologist," for which his primary training is a bachelor's degree in geology, awarded in 1982.
I consulted the University of Minnesota, which keeps a list of all honorary degrees awarded by the University dating back to at least 1932. These awards are bestowed upon "individuals of local, statewide, national, or international prominence who have achieved distinction and recognition in public service, enterprise, philanthropy, education, science, literature, or the arts." (They are not, of course, actual academic degrees.)
Scott Wolter is not on that list.
He's also not on the second, independent list the college keeps.
The last time the University awarded an honorary master's degree was 1956.
This is not conclusive, of course. The online lists may be in error. I also consulted news accounts from 1987 and found no report of Wolter's alleged honorary degree in the commencement activities from that year. More damning? The profile of him that ran in the University of Minnesota alumni magazine in summer 2001 makes no mention of the alleged master's degree, reporting only his 1982 bachelor's degree.
(Interestingly, the 2001 profile also contains Wolter's admission that he had no experience or training in examining ancient stone materials, and that his expertise was largely in scientific testing of concrete.)
I could find no evidence that Wolter was ever granted the honorary degree he claims. I may have missed it, I suppose. But given the lack of evidence in any of the usual sources, it is up to Wolter to prove this degree actually exists.