Mark Richards and the Secret Diplomas

Mark Richards and the Secret Diplomas

A Time Turner Mystery Revealed?

Mark richards and the secret diplomas - stolen intellect Mark Richards has long claimed numerous educational degrees, including “degrees in history, political science, quantum physics, and education. He was a Rhodes Scholar and has letters from Oxford.”  (Knights of the Cold War.) Over the years that list has varied but his advanced degrees remain a core part of his legend. The secret diplomas, however, have remained mysterious.

The exact degrees are less important than Mark’s ability to claim anything other than his BA in History from Dominican College. Ultimately it is not about the paper but what has been claimed about them.

Mark is not listed in the database of Rhodes Scholars. The timeline makes clear that Mark could not have been in the military, rising to be a Navy Captain (equivalent of a colonel), lived the life that was documented at the time, and obtained several degrees. As we have suggested, such a feat would require magic on the level of Harry Potter. Mark Richards and the Secret Diplomas indeed.

Jo Ann Richards repeatedly promised proof of his educational achievements and we have requested and encouraged her to do so, both publicly and privately. We are always met with one reason or another why it can’t be done. Although we received diplomas from another source several years ago, we have waited for them to be presented as promised. Until now.

To try to help out we present some of the secret diplomas. We are satisfied about the source and that their intention was to document Mark’s education, but make no claims that these are what Jo Ann would have presented. It is possible that they were not released because she recognized that the documents were not authentic. It also may be that Mark had nothing to do with them. They may have been a practical joke or an attempt to throw a curious person off track. We cannot speculate beyond this unless Jo Ann or Mark offers an explanation or cites them them as direct support for his claims. However, they are not like our own future interviews.

In any event, it is their burden to provide proof of their claims. Nobody needs to disprove their story. With that in mind, these documents are offered for their educational or entertainment value. References to Mark are within this context. The reader can determine anything beyond that.


This diploma awards a BA in 1974. According to Mark he would have been a chopper pilot in Vietnam during the time it takes to achieve a BA. Mark’s documented history shows he was attending the College of Marin and Dominican University. But perhaps the type face is the most stunning thing, apart from the Distinction honor.

Mcgill - the mark richards diplomas


Somehow, Mark is not listed elsewhere at McGill as a graduate in English, which makes this diploma super-secret.


Mark would have had to be busy to also achieve a degree from Dominican University, particularly without a student exchange program. But the most amazing thing is the middle initial of “N.” Mark does not have a middle initial.

Exeter - the mark richards diplomas


In another apparent example of time manipulation, St. Luke’s College did not become affiliated with the University of Exeter until 1978. It’s two years early. Again, this certificate is well deserving of the “secret diploma” title and is an example of a Time Turner mystery.

California Teaching Certificate 

The type continues to fascinate but no less so than Mark’s ability to earn a credential before he graduated from high school — especially considering all the time he spent in Vietnam.


Teaching - mark richards and the secret diplomas
Teaching Certificate

By 1971, California had adopted a multi-subject credential for grades K – 8 — although the point is moot because a high school student could not have received one. Although Mark supposedly received a lifetime credential, neither his name or the document number can be found through the state. The number is removed since it did not relate to Mark. But you knew this already.

Regent School

A single class at a school could be believed. But there is that pesky middle initial and Mark was otherwise in school at Dominican, where he had started a new paper the month before. Kerry Cassidy states that Mark has a Germanic bearing — does this count?



Jo Ann states that Mark got “letters from Oxford.” A participation certificate from a single class at a language school that tried to capitalize on the Oxford address is a little disappointing even if somehow turned out to be genuine. Did Mark understand the difference between Oxford and Regent?

The Not-So-Secret Secret Diplomas Theory

So what is to be made of this? At the time it was said to have been given, Mark would have had opportunities to provide documents with a realistic time frame. Would anybody really assert that such clumsy diplomas are genuine forgeries? Is this similar to when Billy Meier was caught trying to pass off a Dean Martin dancer as a Peledian, which left Billy claiming that dark forces were trying to discredit him?

Arguing against this is the document that Jo Ann did advance to support Mark’s claim. It had an equally improbable year (at 15, Mark was simply too young), different typefaces,  cropped  paper, and purported to be a naval commendation when Mark stated he was in the Army.

Captain mark richards - stolen valor


Draw your own conclusions. For myself, I am content to let the mystery be, just in case Mark really has a Time Turner or additional secret diplomas. However, I also note that it may have been better to invest in a better quality degree.

As usual we invite clarification from Mark or Jo Ann.

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