Recommending Candidates for Honorary Degrees


The Honorary Degrees Committee shall be responsible for recommending to Senate the criteria and procedures for the awarding of honorary degrees at Nipissing University. The Committee shall forward such recommendations to an “in-camera” session of Nipissing University Senate and to the closed session of a Board of Governors meeting.

  • One honorary degree shall be conferred at each of the annual spring Convocation sessions.  If there are two recipients at any one of the Spring Convocations, only one recipient will speak.
  • No more than five to eight, preferably five, honorary degrees shall be awarded in any one academic year.
  • Canadians and non-Canadians may be considered for honorary degrees.
  • The University normally shall not offer an honorary degree to anyone who is not in a position to accept the degree in person.  An honorary degree may be conferred in absentia for cause.
  • Posthumous honorary degrees will not be recommended.  In awarding the Honorary Degree, the University honours the person and not his or her memory.  If the candidate dies after accepting the nomination but before the convocation, the Honorary Degree will be awarded. 
  • The University normally shall not offer an honorary degree to any individual currently holding elected office at any level of Canadian government. 
  • Members of the Board of Governors, the Senate, or other members of the staff of Nipissing University are not eligible to receive an honorary degree. 
  • Members of the Board of Governors, Senate and the University Community are solicited at least once a year for nominations.  In addition, the Committee may consider nominations received from members of constituencies outside the University.

Types of Degree

The University may confer the following degrees upon persons whose qualifications and record are approved for that purpose:

  • Doctor of Education (honoris causa) DEd
  • Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) DLitt
  • Other as per the recommendation of the Honorary Degrees Committee


Honorary degrees are awarded on the basis of the following criteria:

  • national stature 
  • relevance/contribution to Nipissing University 
  • academic background 
  • contributions to society (regionally, provincially, nationally, internationally)
  • sustained contribution to scholarship

*** If an individual excels in any ONE of the five criteria listed, this will be considered sufficient to nominate the person for an honorary degree

Guidelines for Nominations

All information pertaining to nominees shall be considered in strictest confidence by the Honorary Degrees Committee and the Senate.  The following information should be provided when recommending candidates for an honorary degree:

  • Name of candidate
  • Address and telephone
  • Degree(s) held, if any, and the University awarding the degree(s) 
  • Curriculum vitae containing such details as:
  • Place of birth
  • Education
  • Field of endeavour 
  • A short description of publications, if any 
  • Special awards 
  • Distinguished service 
  • Contribution of special accomplishments on which the recommendation is made 
  • Other information which the nominator feels may be pertinent.
  • No more than three letters in support of the nomination may be submitted 
  • Degree recommended (DLitt, DEd)

Short Listing of the Candidates

  • The Honorary Degrees Committee shall meet in September of each year for the purpose of updating and reviewing its existing file of potential candidates.  After considering a nomination or re-nomination, the committee may reject it, in which case the file is destroyed, agree to forward the nomination for approval by Senate and the Board, or place the nomination on a Standing List for consideration at a later date.
  • Names placed on the Standing List shall remain there for a period of three years, after which time, if the nominee has not been selected or re-nominated, the name shall be deleted.
  • The Honorary Degrees Committee submits to the Senate, from among the potential candidates, a short list of candidates, upon whom it recommends that the Senate confer an honorary degree and the category of the degree to be conferred. 
  • That the Senate has the right to call special Convocations and to confer honorary degrees at such Convocations.
  • That the Senate will consider only those nominations that have been proposed by its Honorary Degrees Committee.

Procedures for Recommending Candidates for Honorary Degrees

  • Recommendations shall be made at a regular or special meeting of Senate. 
  • The report of the Honorary Degrees Committee shall be given “in camera”. 
  • The report shall be distributed at the beginning of the “in camera” session. 
  • Results of the “in camera” session are confidential. Minutes of the session are not included in the circulated minutes. These minutes are kept in the Honorary Degrees Committee files. 

Notification of Candidates

The candidate or candidates to be honored shall be contacted by the President, as Chair of Senate, [Chair of the Honorary Degrees Committee] as soon as possible following the approval of the Senate and the Board of Governors.

November 20, 2002