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Selection Process

To guide its work, the Committee on Honorary Degrees has adopted the following criteria for reviewing nominations. Honorary degrees at Northwestern are awarded to those who:

Those individuals who are not eligible to receive an honorary degree include:

Submitting Nominations

Each spring the faculty Committee on Honorary Degrees seeks nominations for the following year. Any person may make a nomination. Nominations should include:

Broad support from a department or group of faculty will strengthen the nomination. The quality of the supporting materials is very important, since the members of the Committee cannot be assumed to have independent knowledge of each candidate's achievements. The materials submitted serve as a basis for evaluating the qualifications of a nomination.

The Commencement 2022 nominations cycle is closed; the deadline was February 1, 2021.

If you have any questions about this process, contact

Review and Approval of Nominations

Recommendations of the Committee on Honorary Degrees are reviewed and voted on by the Faculty Senate in late spring. The Senate then transmits its recommendations to the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees for final approval. Once the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees approves the recommendations from the Faculty Senate, formal invitations are issued to the individuals. The final decision of the Honorary Degrees recipients to invite for the Commencement ceremony will be made by the President. Any other approved names who are not invited during the year they were nominated will carry forward to the following year for full consideration. 

Honorary Degrees are conferred at Commencement ceremonies. Recipients must be present in order to receive the award.