Honorary Degrees, Granting of

Last Updated: 
Effective Date: 

Responsible University Office And Contact Person

Reason for Policy: 

To memorialize faculty legislation of May 22, 1991, rescinding faculty legislation of April 12, 1939, and endorsing the reinstitution of the award of honorary degrees.

Policy Statement: 

The University of Oregon shall offer honorary degrees under the following criteria:

A. To an individual or individuals who has/have shown outstanding scholarship or artistic achievement in their lifetime;

B. To an individual or individuals who has/have performed extraordinary public service or distinguished service in their lifetime.

No honorary degree shall be granted by the University of Oregon to any person(s) who is/are currently employed by the Oregon University System, or to any person(s) currently holding elective office within the United States.


1. The Distinguished Service Award Committee shall include the following:

The President of the University of Oregon or his/her designee
Chairperson of the Faculty Advisory Council
President of the University Senate
Chairperson of the Graduate Council
Chairperson of the Undergraduate Council
Representative of the Vice President for Advancement
Director of the University of Oregon Alumni Association
Five (5) members of the teaching faculty
President of the Student Senate
President of the Associated Students of the University of Oregon

2. This Committee shall in early October commence the eliciting of applications from the University community as well as from the broader community of the State of Oregon the names of individuals who have met the criteria given in a. & b. above.

a. The Committee shall screen applications, ask for more information about the nominees, and investigate, to their satisfaction that the nominee(s) meet the criteria given above.

b. It is the responsibility of the Committee to judge each nominee and to determine whether it is appropriate to send the name to the University Senate

c. The Committee shall do all of its work on honorary degrees in the strictest of confidence.

d. The University Senate, in Executive Session, shall discuss the candidates presented by the Committee. Members of the Committee shall make the presentations in support of the nominee(s) separately.

e. The University Senators shall discuss, ask questions of the presenters from the Committee if necessary, and shall vote separately on each nominee. A vote of two-thirds is necessary for the nomination to be approved. Approval of a nomination will place a name into a pool of approved nominees.

f. The President of the University Senate shall formally inform the President of the University of Oregon of positive votes of the Senate only. Nominees failing to get the two-thirds vote shall not be forwarded to the University President. All documentation on successful nominees shall be turned over to the University President by the President of the University Senate.

g. The Distinguished Service Award Committee will review, on at least an annual basis, the pool of approved nominees to ensure that it remains appropriate.

h. From among the group of candidates approved by the University Senate for an Honorary Degree, the President will forward up to two nominees to the Oregon State Board of Higher Education. When the State Board of Higher Education has approved of name(s) submitted by the University of Oregon for this honor the President of the University shall formally notify the candidate(s) and invite them to take part in the honoring ceremony. Names of successful candidates must be forwarded to the State Board of Higher Education at least 90 days prior to the awarding of the degree(s).

Reviewed and Approved By: 
President Myles Brand
Issued by: 
Vice President for Administration
Revision History: 
05/22/1991 Legislated by the University Senate
02/08/2010 Policy number revised from 1.000 to 01.00.05
10/15/2010 Updated changes from 1/10/2007 Senate approved motion. 
REVIEWED:  10/15/2010
Original Source: 
UO Policy Statement