Academic Policy  1505.30

Honorary Degrees: Policy, Procedures, and Implementation

Consistent with Board of Trustees policy 505.3, recommendations for honorary degrees to be conferred by the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, will be submitted by the chancellor to the president for recommendation to the Board of Trustees, following campus approval each fall and in time for approval and scheduling of commencement events.

Policy, Procedures, and Implementation for Awarding Honorary Degrees

Campus policy provides that the faculty committee on honorary degrees recommend nominees for honorary degrees to the faculty, with the concurrence of the chancellor. This committee generally sets its own policy and practice for identifying individuals to recommend as recipients of typical honorary degrees. Committee membership consists of a chairperson elected from the faculty members, the chancellor, the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, one faculty representative from each of the colleges and schools (except the Graduate School), and one student member.

Once the president has approved the campus recommendation, the chancellor will conduct the negotiations relative to the award(s) with the recipient(s) and/or the family. The office of special events will assist with arrangements for the individual’s visit to the campus for receipt of the award or the family’s attendance at commencement. The registrar will determine the degree to be awarded, consistent with the basis for the award, except in the case of posthumous degrees.

The nomination of typical honorary degrees is described in greater detail in the nomination form, Academic Policy Series 1505.30A. Typical honorary degrees are awarded to a living individual who has achieved extraordinary distinction in a career that has affected the lives of others, particularly though scholarly achievement, through public service, or through philanthropy. The only other honorary degrees conferred by the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, are honorary posthumous degrees, in accord with the policy and procedures below.

Policy, Procedures, and Implementation for Awarding Honorary Posthumous Degrees

Policy regarding the Award of Honorary Posthumous Degrees

An honorary posthumous degree may be awarded to a student who dies while enrolled in a degree program of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, subject to the following conditions:

  • To be eligible, the student must have been enrolled in a degree program offered by the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville and attending classes and actively pursuing and making progress towards a degree at the time of death, or between terms in such enrollment.
  • The student must not have been dismissed or suspended at the time of death.
  • The student must not have died while committing a felony (crime).
  • The awarding of an honorary posthumous degree will not affect a decision to award the student’s intended degree, should the faculty of the student’s degree program determine that it is warranted by the work completed.

Procedures for Awarding Honorary Posthumous Degrees

  • Any interested person may nominate a deceased former degree-seeking student who qualifies for a posthumous degree under these policies, by sending a letter with sufficient, pertinent details to the University Registrar. The Office of the Registrar will provide the faculty committee on honorary degrees a list of enrolled students whose deaths occurred during the year, as well as a list of any qualified former students who have been nominated for consideration and whose eligibility is verified by that office.
  • The committee will review the list along with any necessary additional information and identify those students who are eligible to be awarded an honorary posthumous degree.
  • The committee will recommend the eligible students to the faculty during a spring semester meeting that will allow time for approval by the Board of Trustees and recognition at commencement.
  • The faculty will make recommendations for the awarding of these degrees to the chancellor for submission to the president for the Board of Trustees.
  • In regard to student deaths not covered by this policy, members of the university community or family members may submit requests for consideration for honorary posthumous degrees to the faculty committee on honorary degrees.

Implementation of Awards of Honorary Posthumous Degrees

  • An undergraduate student pursuing a bachelor’s degree at the time of death will be awarded the Bachelor of Science and Arts degree in University Studies – Posthumous honoris causa, when given an honorary posthumous degree.
  • A graduate student pursuing either a master’s or a doctoral degree at the time of death will be awarded the Master of Science and Arts degree in University Studies – Posthumous honoris causa, when given an honorary posthumous degree.
  • A student pursuing a law degree at the time of death will be awarded the Juris Doctor degree Posthumous honoris causa, when given an honorary posthumous degree (text taken from Faculty Senate meeting resolution 4/20/05).
  • Recipients of honorary posthumous degrees will be recognized at the appropriate commencement as part of the graduating class.
  • The diploma for the honorary posthumous degree will be sent or presented to the recipient’s immediate family.
  • The honorary posthumous degree will be entered on the student’s permanent academic record.
  • Names of honorary posthumous degree recipients will be included on Senior Walk, consistent with the policy and format for other students’ names.

Reformatted for Web October 2, 2014
11/13/13