Diploma controversy leads Florida candidate to suspend campaign

Melissa Howard, a Florida state house candidate, told CNN on Tuesday that she has suspended her campaign....

Posted: Aug 15, 2018 10:56 AM
Updated: Aug 15, 2018 10:56 AM

Melissa Howard, a Florida state house candidate, told CNN on Tuesday that she has suspended her campaign.

Howard came under fire after posting a picture of a diploma from Miami University in Ohio, although the school said she did not receive a degree there.

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Continents and regions

Education

Education systems and institutions

Florida

Higher education

Marketing and advertising

Miami University

North America

Southeastern United States

The Americas

United States

Universities and colleges

Apologies

Companies

Facebook

Elections and campaigns

Government and public administration

Political candidates

Politics

Internet and WWW

Social media

Technology

She officially suspended her campaign on Tuesday, although the day before, she had vowed to stay in the race in a Facebook post that has since been taken down.

"I have come to the realization that the right thing to do for my community is to withdraw from the race. I will do so today," Howard said in a statement to CNN affiliate WWSB.

Howard, a Republican candidate who sought to represent District 73 in the Florida House of Representatives, vowed to continue serving her community and apologized in the statement.

"I made a terrible error in judgment. I am thankful for everyone who gave me so much toward my success, and I am deeply sorry," according to her statement to WWSB.

On Monday, a post had appeared on Facebook in which Howard apologized for what she called a "mistake saying that I completed my degree." That post was later taken down.

"I would like to apologize to my family and my supporters for this situation," said the Monday post. "It was not my intent to deceive or mislead anyone. I made a mistake in saying that I completed my degree. What I did was wrong and set a bad example for someone seeking public service. I am staying in the race and intend to win and lead by example from now on."

Last week, FLA News reported that Howard, 46, did not have a degree from Miami University as she said she did in her candidate bio. The story was later briefly rescinded after Howard's campaign responded to the story in a statement and Howard posted a partial college transcript, as well as pictures of her posing with a framed diploma on her Facebook page.

The images were no longer available.

Miami University told CNN and other news outlets it has no record of Howard earning a degree there. The school said Melissa Marie Fox (Howard's maiden name) had attended Miami University from August 1990 to May 1994, but she did not graduate.

The university pointed out a few critical flaws on the image of the diploma that Howard briefly posted on social media.

The document in the image showed she received a Bachelor of Science in Marketing, but the university said it has no such record of a degree. School officials said the university's degree for marketing majors, both then and now, is called a Bachelor of Science in Business.

Also, Howard's major while she was enrolled at Miami University was retailing, and the degree for that program would have been a Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences, according to the university.

The picture of the diploma included the signatures of James Garland, who was the president of the university in 1996, and of Robert C. Johnson, who was the dean of the graduate school, which would not have been the proper school, the university statement said.

The university counsel said in a statement to CNN that the document in the photo "does not appear to be an accurate Miami University diploma."

Howard's campaign consultant, Anthony Pedicini, had told the Washington Post over the weekend that Howard's husband had been hospitalized Friday night after suffering cardiac arrest. She is "focused on him right now," he said then, and not on "fake news."

In her website bio, Howard had said she was the first in her family to attend college and that "she waited tables at Ponderosa and saved enough from summer jobs to complete her education. Upon graduation she worked for large (Marriott and Microsoft) and small companies before launching her own marketing business that today serves clients throughout the world."

Those sentences are no longer posted on her website.

West Lafayette
Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 15°
Feels Like: 18°
Kokomo
Clear
25° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 15°
Feels Like: 16°
Rensselaer
Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 25° Lo: 12°
Feels Like: 18°
Fowler
Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 13°
Feels Like: 18°
Williamsport
Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 17°
Crawfordsville
Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 15°
Feels Like: 16°
Frankfort
Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 17°
Delphi
Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 15°
Feels Like: 17°
Monticello
Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 16°
Feels Like: 17°
Logansport
Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 15°
Feels Like: 18°
Some pockets of light snow then big warm-up...
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1130719

Reported Deaths: 17736
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1468762242
Lake732391255
Allen68004883
Hamilton51739488
St. Joseph50459650
Elkhart40619547
Vanderburgh34963497
Tippecanoe31212276
Johnson27963467
Hendricks26585385
Porter25969387
Madison21318457
Clark20392279
Vigo19244309
LaPorte17405261
Delaware17004303
Howard16942315
Monroe16794220
Kosciusko14447167
Hancock13259186
Bartholomew13180191
Warrick12320190
Wayne12200269
Grant12181247
Floyd12096226
Morgan10552192
Boone9966124
Noble9429123
Marshall9295147
Henry9268169
Dearborn9053100
Dubois8877140
Shelby8402130
Cass8241128
Lawrence8134185
DeKalb7933109
Jackson779993
Huntington7761116
Montgomery7213123
Gibson7179118
Harrison7031100
Knox6958116
Steuben676589
Miami6675114
Whitley667260
Putnam651286
Clinton633179
Wabash6323111
Jasper622192
Jefferson5946105
Ripley565994
Adams547981
Daviess5124118
Scott498980
Wells4894106
White486069
Greene4749101
Clay468662
Decatur4659110
Fayette462597
Jennings457167
LaGrange432291
Posey412944
Randolph4010107
Washington393656
Fountain382264
Fulton368374
Spencer365147
Starke361474
Owen358577
Sullivan351155
Jay336450
Orange335272
Rush314833
Carroll301639
Franklin295244
Perry292853
Vermillion285958
Tipton253367
Parke251630
Pike251244
Blackford224944
Pulaski213759
Newton185052
Brown179750
Benton171717
Crawford170729
Martin152619
Switzerland149412
Warren137816
Union125116
Ohio92913
Unassigned0599

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events