The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Policy # [####]
Honorary Degrees, Guidelines (GEN 1.6.(3).)

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GEN 1.6.(3). Honorary Degrees, Guidelines.

Approved by Faculty Senate: March 13, 1990

Chancellor: March 26, 1990

Board of Regents: September 7, 1990

(1) Criteria.

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh may bestow honorary doctoral degrees on individuals of exceptional accomplishment and distinction who have made significant contributions to the University, region, state or nation; or demonstrated a consistently outstanding record of accomplishment in their field of endeavor. All candidates must be endorsed by an appropriate academic program unit, and recommended by the University Honorary Degree Committee.

(2) Degree Designations.

The following Honorary degree designations may be awarded by the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh:

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.);

Doctor of Science (SC.D.);

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.); and

Doctor of Literature (D.Lit.)

(3) Limitations.

To insulate the honorary degree from partisanship, to protect the award from possible conflicts of interest and to protect nominees from possibly compromising positions, the following three categories of individuals are ineligible for an honorary degree from an institution of the University of Wisconsin System.

(a) Public Officials and Political Appointees. Included are serving members of the Wisconsin Legislature and the Wisconsin congressional delegation; elected and appointed officials; and all members of the state judiciary.

(b) Regents. Included are serving members of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents.

(c) University of Wisconsin System Employees. Included are currently employed faculty or staff at each university and in System Administration.

Persons in any of these three categories could be eligible for consideration two years or more after they have vacated office or terminated employment. However, emeritus faculty and staff are not eligible for honorary degrees unless they have achieved distinction in a second career following retirement.

In awarding honorary degrees, the University of Wisconsin System does not assume any legal obligations. The recipients receive no honoraria but the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh shall assume all expenses incurred by the recipients which are associated with their participation in the commencement.

(4) Honorary Degree Committee.

See Gov 6.2.

(5) Procedures.

Candidates for honorary degrees may be nominated by faculty, staff, students and private citizens. These candidates will be evaluated solely on the merit of their credentials, and the criteria established by the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. In awarding degrees, the University will encourage diversity in ethnicity, gender and areas of study.

The nominator will assume full responsibility for gathering all information required for the assessment of the nominee, recording this information on the appropriate form, providing the needed supporting documentation and selecting the appropriate academic discipline. All nominees must be endorsed by the appropriate academic program units. All activities related to the nomination of candidates, the review of documentation supporting each nominee, and recommendation to the Board of Regents must be conducted with a confidentiality appropriate to personnel matters. A maximum of two candidates may be recommended to the Chancellor.

The campus recommendations for honorary degrees are presented to the President of the UW System and are then forwarded to the Board of Regents for review and formal approval.

(6) Approval Process.

Board of Regent approval must be obtained at least two months prior to the commencement at which the degree is to be conferred. For a Spring commencement the nominations must be received for first reading by the Board in February and for a Winter commencement no later than the October Board meeting.

As a matter of policy, the Board will generally limit to one the number of honorary degrees any individual may receive from the UW System. Therefore, the UW System Office of Academic Affairs shall serve as a formal information exchange office to avoid duplication of nominees being advanced to the Board. The Chairperson of the Honorary Degree Committee must clear nominees with the UW System Office of Academic Affairs before final institutional selections are determined. Nominees selected must have approval of a majority of the four faculty on the Honorary Degree Committee as well as approval of a majority of the Committee as a whole.

Upon Board of Regents approval of the institutional nominees for honorary doctorates, the Chancellor will invite the candidate(s) to attend the commencement convocation at which the award is to be conferred. Honorary degrees are not awarded in absentia, but they may be awarded posthumously.