Honorary Doctorate Degree

Access the Honorary Doctorate Degree nomination form

Faculty, staff, students and private citizens are welcome to nominate candidates for a University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Honorary Doctorate Degree.

Honorary Doctorate Degrees are given to individuals of exceptional accomplishment and distinction who have made significant contributions to the university, region, state or nation. The UW Oshkosh Honorary Doctorate Degree Committee recommends candidates to the Chancellor who, with the University of Wisconsin System President, recommends nominees to the Board of Regents.

Strong consideration is given to those who: (a) have a current or past connection to the University, region (Oshkosh and Greater Fox Valley) or state of Wisconsin; (b) are distinguished alumni or (c) display excellence in reflecting the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s vision of engaging people and ideas for common good.

Previous Honorees

  • Gerald Whitburn ’66, retired chair and chief executive officer of Church Mutual Insurance Co. and past leader in Wisconsin government
  • Robert Keller ’69, chair of the Board of J. J. Keller & Associates Inc.
  • Charles Fritz Hyde, chairman of the Board of Oshkosh B’Gosh
  • Sister Irene Kohne, past administrator of St. Frances Home/St. Clare Terrace Apartments for the elderly
  • F. John Barlow, president of AZCO Inc., Appleton
  • David C. Leach, former president of Leach Co.
  • Dennis J. Noone, retired president of Firstar Bank of Oshkosh
  • Jean Nelson, retired director of UW Oshkosh Alumni Association
  • Philip Nelson, former vice president of Wisconsin Public Expenditure Survey
  • John L. Vette III, president and chief executive officer of SNC Manufacturing Co. Inc., Oshkosh
  • Howard Curler, retired chairman of the Bemis Co.
  • Allen Guentzel, retired director of Employee Relations/Corporate Staff, Kimberly-Clark, Corp.
  • James Mather, district director of Department of Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Roy Vander Putten, chairman and CEO of Trade Resources International
  • Lorraine Sams, retired Green Meadow School elementary teacher
  • Verna M. Fowler, founding president of the College of Menominee Nation
  • Michael Wachtel, late executive vice president and chief operating officer of Oshkosh B’Gosh
  • John Gilbert, chairman of the board of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
  • Phyllis Leach, humanitarian and philanthropist, major supporter and ambassador for breast cancer research and awareness
  • Paul Poberezny, founder of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA)
  • Gaylord Nelson, former governor and founder of Earth Day
  • Ruth DeYoung Kohler, director of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center
  • Craig Culver, CEO of Culver’s Franchises
  • David Green, former president/CEO of Evergreen Retirement Community
  • The Mercury 13, pioneer women of the 1960s space program
  • Ted Leyhe, longtime president of Miles Kimball Co.
  • Robert Pederson, CEO of Goodwill Industries
  • Muriel Howard, president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)
  • Carol Geary Schneider, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), initiated Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP)
  • Edward Penson, former UW Oshkosh Chancellor who led the change in admission standards from open admissions to more standard criteria
  • Jim VandeHei, cofounder and executive director of Politico, a leading web-based media company focusing on national politics
  • Dr. Martin Viessmann, owner of The Viessmann Group GmbH, Germany, partnered with UWO and BioFerm Energy Systems to build an alternative power plant in Oshkosh (first of its kind in the Western Hemisphere)
  • Stew, the Tony Award-winning musician, singer-songwriter, playwright, actor, and educator who performed and taught classes at UW Oshkosh on multiple occasions from 2011 to 2013 and whose work continues to be taught here
  • Robert J. DeKoch & Kathi Seifert, accomplished leaders and co-chairs for New North, Inc. Both previously received the Chancellor’s Medallion as founders of the regional economic development organization
  • Oman’s University of Nizwa Chancellor Ahmed Khalfan Al-Rawahi and Vice Chancellor Abdullaziz Alkindi who have a strong connection and partnership with UW Oshkosh. The University of Nizwa is a high quality academic institution that provides access to higher education for women in Oman with 85% women enrollment
  • Stan F. Mack II, superintendent of the Oshkosh Area School District (OASD)
  • Daniel Burrus, owner of Burrus Research
  • Dorian Boyland, automotive sales entrepreneur
  • Sheila Knox, member of the Oshkosh 94