The invitation has not been without controversy, primarily from Jews upset by Herod's policy of killing the innocents in order to secure his position. Supporters point to the fact that it's customary to honor the Roman leader in Israel and that Herod has done many fine things in addition to being Israel's first ruler of Edomite ancestry.
The president of the university, Rabbi Terra, issued this letter to the graduates yesterday:
I am saddened that many friends of MU have suggested that our honoring Herod indicates ambiguity in our position on matters of Jewish teaching. The University and I are unequivocally committed to the sanctity of human life, although not necessarily if it means the death of a promising political career, such as the man we will honor at our graduation ceremony.
All ought applaud Herod the Great's views and policies on temple building, expanding health care to the farflung territories east of the Jordan, alleviating poverty, and building peace through diplomacy while at the same time not withdrawing precipitously from Egyptistan and Turkraq.