But after Trump called for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" in December 2015, the university promptly withdrew the degree.
"In the course of the current U.S. election campaign, Mr. Trump has made a number of statements that are wholly incompatible with the ethos and values of the university," Robert Gordon said in a statement. "The university has therefore decided to revoke its award of the honorary degree."
That left Trump three other honorary doctorates. Lehigh University awarded him an honorary doctorate of laws in 1988, Wagner College awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters in 2004, and Liberty awarded a doctorate of business in 2012. The degree Liberty awarded Trump on Saturday was an honorary doctorate of laws.
When Trump delivered the commencement address at Lehigh 29 years ago, the Morning Call of Allentown, Pa., reported that "the real estate magnate's remarks were surprisingly liberal." Yet Trump also sounded, at times, very much like the candidate who won the White House.
"Country-wide, we have serious problems," he told the Lehigh graduates. "So many countries are whipping America ... making billions and stripping the United States of economic dignity. I respect the Japanese, but we have to fight back."
Discussing his own college classmates, Trump claimed that "50 percent in the class are decimated by drugs or alcohol." Then he delivered a warning: "Now we have the additional obstacle of AIDS. Be very careful — it's out there." Trump graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in economics in 1968.
Trump was following on the heels of Bill Cosby, who had been Lehigh's commencement speaker the year before.
Lehigh revoked Cosby's honorary degree in October 2015 as dozens of women accused the comedian of sexual assault. A Lehigh professor urged the university to rescind Trump's degree too, but the school took no action.
By 2004, when Trump addressed the graduates of Wagner, on Staten Island, the twice-divorced billionaire had another piece of advice for new grads: "Always have a prenuptial agreement."
Trump's message on Saturday to the graduates of Liberty, the nation's largest evangelical Christian college, focused on standing strong in their beliefs. He likened what the grads will encounter in secular society to what he faces as a political outsider in Washington.
"Being an outsider is fine," Trump said. "Embrace the label, because it's the outsiders who change the world and who make a real and lasting difference."