Honorary Degree Policy

Purpose Statement - Eastern Mennonite University may, from time to time, opt to award an honorary degree to a deserving individual. Such awards should be designed to support the following purposes:

  • Recognize extraordinary achievements that reflect the university’s mission
  • Highlight and celebrate university mission and identity
  • Build/strengthen relationship with persons of influence
  • Strengthen university’s reputation

General Criteria - The following general criteria should inform the nomination and selection of honorary degree recipients:

  • Demonstrated pattern of extraordinary achievement in endeavors that reflect the mission and character of EMU
  • Person of character that will reflect well on EMU

Degrees with Specific Criteria - In addition to the general criteria above, the following considerations should also inform the selection, dependent upon the type of degree to be conferred:

  • Doctor of Humane Letters
    • Extraordinary achievement in a field of endeavor connected to a traditional liberal arts discipline
  • Doctor of Science
    • Extraordinary achievement in scientific endeavor
  • Doctor of Justice
    • Extraordinary achievement in peacebuilding or social justice work
  • Doctor of Laws
    • Extraordinary achievement and/or service in law, politics, social policy, etc.
  • Doctor of Fine Arts
    • Extraordinary achievement in an artistic or performative field
  • Doctor of Divinity
    • Extraordinary achievement and/or distinguished service in religion

Nomination/Selection Process

  1. Any faculty or staff member of EMU may make a nomination for an honorary degree. Nominations are to be submitted in writing to the president’s office.
  2. The president or cabinet reviews nominees and forwards nominees meeting the criteria to the Faculty Status Committee.
  3. Upon approval by the Faculty Status Committee, the conferral is forwarded to the Board of Trustees for review no later than the March meeting prior to commencement.
  4. The Board of Trustees gives final authorization for conferral.

The nomination and review process is confidential. No disclosure is to be made until after Board of Trustees review and the institution’s subsequent invitation to the nominee.

Protocol Matters

  • Eastern Mennonite University retains right to rescind an honorary degree at any time after conferral for any reason.
  • No honorary degree shall be conferred unless the recipient is present.

Approved by Board of Trustees March, 2018