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Honorary Degrees


Honorary degrees are granted by the faculty and trustees of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and may be granted at commencements or special events. Current honorary degrees awarded are Doctors of Humanities, of Letters, of Fine Arts, of Science, and of Laws. Other honorary degrees can be recommended by the Academic Standards Committee (ASC). An honorary degree is the highest accolade the university can bestow on an individual who is not currently employed as a member of its faculty or staff. It is given to honor an individual who possesses outstanding qualities and talents, who has made exceptional contributions to the field of his or her endeavor, and who exemplifies the highest standards of personal integrity and civic responsibility. The individual may not be an employee of the university at the time the degree is awarded. There are three basic reasons for awarding honorary degrees from the university. A person may be recommended for an honorary degree for any one of the following reasons:

  1. Academic excellence in the individual’s field of endeavor.
  2. Appreciation of time, energy, and financial resources spent on behalf of the university and for its sake.
  3. Excellence in fields other than those which would normally be called academic, i.e., the contributions which have enhanced society and its quality of life.

Nomination Procedure

Any academic unit or member of the UNCW academic community may nominate an individual for an honorary degree if the nominee satisfies the above criteria. The nomination process must be kept confidential at all steps and even the nominee should not be informed of the nomination. The first step is to fill out the Honorary Degree Nomination Form and submit this form to the Chair of the Academic Standards Committee either directly, or through the President of the Faculty Senate. Further information is found in the links below.