Honorary Degrees

Statement of Purpose

The awarding of honorary degrees should be regarded as a method by which the university expresses its ideals and recognizes outstanding achievements. It provides appropriate recognition by the university for attainment of extraordinary distinction, and serves to exemplify the highest purposes and ideals of the university in its recipients. The honorary degree, therefore, represents the highest award given by the university.

Call for Nominations

The Honors Committee is pleased to accept nominations at any time. The nomination process involves a two-step process that includes a Preliminary Nomination followed by a Formal Nomination.

Criteria for the Honorary Degree

  1. The honorary degree is awarded to recognize an individual for extraordinary accomplishments and achievements that have ongoing and significant importance. 

  2. A candidate’s special contributions to the purposes and ideals of the University of Cincinnati specifically may be considered. Candidates may be considered who personify the highest ideals of the university and have notably demonstrated these qualities in their actions and accomplishments. 

  3. For a member of the academic world, the contributions should have clearly exceeded the expected high standards of the profession. 

  4. For a member of the non-academic world, the contributions should add significantly to the well-being of society or to the welfare of the University of Cincinnati. 

  5. Honorary degrees should maintain a reasonable balance between local and non-local, academic and non-academic recipients, and various fields of endeavor. 

  6. Honorary degrees are not awarded posthumously or in absentia unless so voted upon by the Board of Trustees to grant a specific exception. 

  7. Current members of the university’s Board of Trustees, faculty or staff are not eligible for nomination.

Submission of Nominations for the Honorary Degree

Nomination procedures are described below. A preliminary proposal option has been adopted to encourage the submission of nominations and is intended to provide the opportunity of application without extensive documentation to initiate the review process. It is mandatory to submit a preliminary proposal.

The committee will accept a letter of approximately 500 words detailing the individual’s achievements and the reasons why these achievements should be honored. A narrative biographical statement or CV must accompany the letter. The committee will review the information and respond. Based on this preliminary assessment, if the committee judges the candidate to be worthy of further consideration, the nominator will be requested to provide the documentation required for the Formal Nomination.

Required documentation:

  1. A narrative letter must be submitted, indicating in non-technical language, the importance of the achievements and the reasons why these achievements should be honored. 

  2. A full curriculum vitae must be submitted giving the training, experience, activities (professional and general), appointments, offices, distinctions, and awards.  The current address and phone number of the nominee should be included. 

  3. A brief narrative biographical statement must be submitted. 

  4. Four letters supporting the proposal should be written only by persons who have been associated with the proposed candidates or who are particularly competent to evaluate their achievements.  No more than two of these letters may be submitted by University of Cincinnati personnel. 

  5. Other documents and evidence such as reprints should, where appropriate, be submitted.  It is desirable to have highly technical materials abstracted into non-technical language.

As you prepare your nomination(s), please be aware of the following:

  1. The Committee will issue a formal call for submission of nominations twice per year (May and September). The formal call will state deadlines as a guideline, but nominations are welcome at any time.

  2. Honorary Degrees are presented at the Spring and Winter commencement exercises. Approved awards will be scheduled for the appropriate Commencement ceremony in consultation with the honoree’s availability.

  3. A Preliminary Proposal must be submitted to the Chairperson of the Honors Committee (see submission options below).

  4. Once the Preliminary Proposal has been received and considered by the Honors Committee, if a Formal Nomination is required, the nominator will be contacted and given a deadline for the completed Formal Nomination to be submitted.

  5. Nominations should be directed to:
    Chairperson, Honors Committee

Mailing Address:
Office of the Board of Trustees
University of Cincinnati
University Pavilion, Room 614
P. O. Box 210062
Cincinnati, OH  45221-0062

Office Location:
Office of the Board of Trustees
University of Cincinnati
University Pavilion, Room 614
2618 University Circle
Cincinnati, OH  45221-0062

The Honors Committee makes recommendations on Honorary Degrees to the President. Final approval by the Board of Trustees is required.