The granting of honorary degrees is a long standing tradition of universities. Other than the earned doctorate, the honorary degree is the highest recognition that the University of Georgia can bestow and is therefore not lightly given. It is intended to honor a person who has a sustained record of achievements of lasting significance.
Persons nominated for consideration for honorary degrees should have made distinguished and broad contributions to society. These may be in the traditional areas of scholarship and creative arts, research and development, the learned professions, public service, or business and industry. The prime and controlling consideration should be excellence.
It is desirable, but by no means required, that the person selected have had some affiliation with the State of Georgia or the University of Georgia. It is also desirable, but by no means required, that at least one recipient of an honorary degree be widely known by the general public.
The following persons ordinarily would not be eligible:
- Persons currently serving on the faculty or staff of the University
- Elected officials of the State of Georgia during their terms of office
- Georgia citizens who are elected holders of national offices
An Honorary Degrees Committee appointed by the President is charged with the responsibility of soliciting and screening nominees for an honorary degree. The Committee is composed of seven members holding three year terms. Appointments to the Committee are from among the faculty and are made following the campus-wide solicitation of recommendations.
Early in the academic year the Committee will solicit through the offices of the vice presidents, deans, and University Council Executive Committee nominations for an honorary degree. Nominations must be supported by individuals who are knowledgeable in the nominee's field of accomplishment and who therefore are in a position to make an evaluation. Each nomination must be accompanied by three or more letters of nomination and a biographical sketch of the individual. The Committee may seek additional information.
The Honorary Degrees Committee will screen nominees and recommend, with supporting rationale, up to five finalists to the President. The President, based on the supporting rationale and any additional consultation, will select the one or two persons to receive an honorary degree and make his recommendation to the Chancellor for consideration by the Board of Regents. Ordinarily the degree will be awarded at the spring commencement.