An honorary degree is one of the highest awards given by the university and the University of Wisconsin System. The Committee on Honorary Degrees evaluates nominees who have shown outstanding service to humanity globally, nationally, or locally. The committee looks for achievements that have enhanced lives though contributions to scholarship or through artistic talent and creativity, and, importantly, evidence of a dedication to the Wisconsin idea, broadly construed.
Nominations must be supported by an academic unit but the idea may come from anyone. The committee encourages campus colleagues to consider the luminaries in their fields as well as those whose contributions have not yet been widely recognized. Nominations do not require a tie to UW-Madison, the University of Wisconsin System, or the state of Wisconsin.
The preliminary nomination is simple: (1) a short letter less than two pages 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 (for example, the person’s Wikipedia page). Submit materials via the form below.
- The process is highly confidential; in particular, the nominee should not be told of the nomination.
- Self-nominations are not accepted.
- For details on standards and procedures, including eligibility, see: UW-Madison policy and University of Wisconsin System policy.
- Lists of notable UW alumni (Notable UW-Madison alumni) and previous honorary degree recipients (https://secfac.wisc.edu/awards-lectures/honorary-degrees/recipients/) might be good starting points for brainstorming, but – again – nominees do not have to have a prior connection to UW.
- For questions, please contact Julie Scharm in the Office of the Secretary of the Faculty.
Although nominations may be submitted any time (use the form below), for candidates to be considered for spring 2024, the deadline for a preliminary proposal is April 17, 2023.
Three global leaders with careers of extraordinary accomplishment will be awarded honorary degrees at spring commencement this May at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The recipients are Krishna Ella, a groundbreaking vaccine scientist and entrepreneur; Keith …March 28, 2022
John Gottman, Ph.D., an alumnus of UW–Madison, is world-renowned for his work on marital stability and divorce prediction. He will be awarded an honorary doctoral degree during spring commencement. As is the tradition for recipients …April 9, 2021
Update: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, spring commencement ceremonies at Camp Randall and the Kohl Center are being postponed. The honorary degrees for V. Craig Jordan and Michael G. Moore are now scheduled to be conferred …April 9, 2020
The 2019 recipients of honorary degrees from the University of Wisconsin–Madison are both rock stars — one literally, the other in microbiology. The honorees are legendary musician Steve Miller, a 2016 Rock and Roll Hall …February 20, 2019
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