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Policies and Procedures

2.05 Honorary Degrees

Purpose and Nature of the Honorary Degree Program
  1. The University of Northern Iowa may award honorary degrees to individuals in order to recognize outstanding achievements and attainments which exemplify the goals and the ideals of the University.
  2. The degrees awarded shall normally be Doctor of Laws (LL.D.), Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.), Doctor of Literature (Litt.D.), and Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) and shall be awarded as appropriate for the achievement or attainment being recognized. 
  3. Degrees which may be earned in regular course at the University of Northern Iowa, University of Iowa, or Iowa State University shall not be awarded as honorary degrees.
Criteria to be Considered in Selecting Recipients
  1. Achievements and attainments meriting recognition should exemplify the goals and ideals of the University.

  2. Financial and political consideration should not be involved.
  3. Holders of elective or appointive public office at the time of nomination ordinarily should not be considered.

  4. Significant connections with the University or Northern Iowa or with the State of Iowa may be important considerations, but recipients shall not be limited to such.

  5. Faculty or staff members of the University of Northern Iowa are not eligible. Former faculty or staff members would be selected only in unusual cases.
  6. Accomplishments meriting recognition should not be too far in the past.
Committee on Honorary Degrees
  1. A standing committee shall be responsible for supervising the elicitation of suggestions and nominations and for making recommendations to the President of the University.
  2. The committee shall be composed of seven members. These shall be one member of the faculty from each of the four academic colleges (to be selected as each college senate determines), Executive Vice President and Provost or his/her designee, Special Assistant to the President for Board and Governmental Relations or his/her designee, and the Dean of the Graduate College.
  3. The Dean of the Graduate College shall serve as chairman of the committee.
  4. Members from the academic colleges shall serve terms of four years beginning July 1 with at least one member being selected each year.
Procedures for Selection
  1. Chair of the selection committee shall publicize solicitation for nominations, secure nominations for recipients from University faculty, staff, and/or administration, and distribute nominations to selection committee members.
  2. Selection committee shall review nominations and forward recommendations to the President.
  3.  The President shall request University Faculty Senate review.
  4.  The President shall forward his/her final recommendation to the Board of Regents, State of Iowa.
  5.  All invitations to the Honorary Degree recipient(s) will be extended by the President.
  6.  Additional procedures and details necessary for implementation shall be determined by the committee.
Nomination Material 
  1.  Letter of Nomination, describing outstanding achievements and attainments of the nominee. This letter must include information/documentation relevant to, or in support of, recognition. Examples of documentation may include (but are not limited to) CV/resume of the nominee; website of the nominee which includes description of accomplishments; books, recordings, or other examples of the nominee’s work.
  2.  Letter(s) of support from additional sources are strongly encouraged.
  3.  Other materials as deemed appropriate to support the nomination.
  4. All materials should be sent by the published nomination deadline to the office of the Dean of the Graduate College. Letters of nomination and support (and other supporting materials already in electronic format) should be sent electronically.
  5.  All nomination materials shall be kept in complete confidence at all times. Names of only those individuals who will be awarded an Honorary Degree shall be made public upon final approval by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa.
Awarding of Degrees

  1. Honorary degrees shall be awarded at regularly scheduled University commencement ceremonies, or if necessary, during special honorary ceremonies. 
  2. The Committee on Honorary Degrees shall be responsible for the preparation of an appropriate citation.
  3. An honorary degree shall be conferred only if the recipient is present in person.
  4. It is not expected that honorary degrees will be awarded every year. However, more than one degree may be awarded in a single year, if appropriate.

University Faculty Senate, approved April 26, 2010

President’s Cabinet, approved July 30, 2012