Honorary Degrees

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.

The committee encourages campus colleagues to consider the luminaries in their fields as well as those whose contributions have not yet been widely recognized. While lists of notable UW–Madison alumni can be a source of possible nominees, nominations do not require a tie to UW–Madison, the University of Wisconsin System, or the state of Wisconsin.

The preliminary nomination requires:

  1. A letter (less than two pages) documenting the nominee’s extraordinary contributions to a field or profession and to society.
  2. The nominee’s curriculum vitae, or, in its absence, information about the nominee ordinarily presented in a curriculum vitae (e.g., the nominee’s Wikipedia page).
  3. The name of the sponsoring academic unit(s) or in its absence, a list of up to three UW–Madison academic units that might be able to sponsor the nomination. Nominations chosen to move the final stage of consideration will require a sponsoring academic unit(s).

Please note the following:

  • The process is highly confidential, and the nominee should not be told of the nomination.
  • Self-nominations are not accepted.
  • Those currently serving in an elected or appointed office and those currently employed by any campus within the UW System are not eligible to be nominated.
  • For details on standards and procedures, including eligibility, see: UW–Madison policy and University of Wisconsin System policy.
  • For questions, please contact Julie Scharm in the Office of the Secretary of the Faculty.

For candidates to be considered for spring 2024, the preliminary nomination must be submitted by April 15, 2023, using the honorary degree nomination form below.