Honorary Degrees


*UPDATE* The next deadline has been extended to April 29, 2020. Successful candidates will be awarded an honorary degree in May 2021. 

Please refer to the document Standards and Procedures for Honorary Degrees for specific information concerning conditions of eligibility and the procedures for submitting a nomination.

Submission of a nomination does not ensure its successful outcome. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that potential candidates NOT be informed that a nomination is under consideration. Strict confidentiality of a nomination protects the nominating unit and the university from a nominee’s disappointment should a candidacy not advance.

Academic units wishing to nominate a candidate should submit a preliminary nomination dossier to the committee no later than the deadline, April 17, 2020. This preliminary dossier should consist of (1) a one- to two-page letter documenting the nominee’s extraordinary contributions to a field or profession, and to society, and (2) the nominee’s curriculum vitae, or in its absence, information about the nominee ordinarily presented in a curriculum vitae. Please submit to Jane Richard in the Office of the Secretary of the Faculty Office (jane.richard@wisc.edu) or use the nomination form.

The committee evaluates the preliminary dossiers and, where in the judgment of the committee the documentation reflects significant prospects for success, the nominating academic unit is invited to assemble full documentation. Those units invited to submit second-stage nomination packets will have a deadline in August 2020 by which to do so.

The second-stage dossier should document fully the distinguished achievements of the candidate. The committee may ask that the sponsoring unit respond to specific points or questions so the nomination can advance. Please see the standards and procedures document for an enumeration of the materials required for the second-stage dossier. The key to a successful nomination is not the size of the dossier, but convincing evidence of the candidate’s extraordinary accomplishments.

Faculty legislation (Faculty Policies and Procedures 6.41.B.) requires that nominations originating from any source other than a department, school or college must be referred by the chair of the Committee on Honorary Degrees to an appropriate department, school or college for recommendation. The same legislation also states that a Wisconsin connection, while not a prerequisite for an honorary degree, is an asset.

As a matter of policy, emeritus faculty members of our university are not eligible for our honorary degrees solely on the basis of their performance while at UW-Madison. The university cannot grant honorary degrees to those who have held elected office in the state in the past two years, nor to anyone employed by the University of Wisconsin within the past two years.



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