University Policies

Approval Date: 1/31/06
By: President

Policy for Award of Honorary Degree

1. Purpose and Criteria

1.1 Western Illinois University (hereinafter "University") will award an honorary doctorate of letters to recognize individuals who have attained achievements of extraordinary and lasting distinction. Awards shall be based on an individual's record of scholarship, creativity, leadership, humanitarian service, or public service. Individuals may have an existing association with the state and/or the University. Individuals also may have no existing association with the University and may establish that connection with acceptance of the honorary degree.

1.2 Honorary Doctoral Degrees shall not be awarded to members of the University faculty, staff, or members of the Board of Trustees, the Governor or any other elected officials or state employees concerned with the function or control of the University, so long as the relationship exists.

2. Committee on Honorary Degrees

2.1 The President will make his/her selection for an honorary degree from the list recommended by the Committee on Honorary Degrees.

2.2 The Committee on Honorary Degrees (hereinafter the "Committee") will be chaired by the Provost and Academic Vice President and will be composed of the following members: (1) four faculty recommended by the Faculty Senate; (2) an academic dean selected by the Dean's Council; (3) the Student Member of the Board of Trustees; (4) one faculty member appointed at the discretion of the University President; and (5) the Vice President for Advancement and Public Services. The chair shall participate in all discussions and will vote only in the event of a tie.

2.3 The Committee shall solicit, receive, screen, and evaluate nominations of individuals to be considered for honorary degrees. The Provost and Academic Vice President shall present the nominees considered worthy of being awarded an honorary degree to the President. The President will make the recommendation to the Board of Trustees for its approval. Board of Trustees approval must be obtained at least two months prior to the award of the degree and not more than two honorary degrees may be awarded by the University each year. It is the expectation that an honorary degree will be awarded at the spring commencement ceremonies, while an honorary degree may be awarded at fall commencement.

3. Procedure

3.1 The staff in the Office of the Provost and Academic Vice President shall provide administrative staff support to the Committee, including the assembly of honorary degree nomination files.

3.2 The President is authorized to develop regulations, in consultation with the Provost and Academic Vice President, for soliciting nominations for the honorary degree.