Criteria for Selecting Honorary Degree Recipients

On recommendation of the Honors and Awards Committee and the President, the Board of Trustees may vote to confer honorary degrees on distinguished individuals. The Board should award an honorary degree only in recognition of extraordinary and lasting distinction. The award should represent the highest intellectual and moral values; it should reflect the very character and quality of the University itself.

  1. The awarding of an honorary degree is recognition of a person whose life and achievements serve as examples of the University’s aspirations for its students. It should be offered well before the end of a career, while the accomplishments are recent and the activities worthy of highest commendations.
  2. An honorary degree may be offered to a person who has contributed significantly to the cultural, scientific, and/or social development of the State, nation, or world. The contribution should be sustained over a period of years and should be lasting in nature. One should be able to document the national or international impact of the contributions. The mere holding of an executive position, public office, or professorship for many years is not sufficient. The creativity of the individual and the extraordinary character of the contributions must be evident.
  3. The individual receiving an honorary degree should have a sustained reputation over a period of years. The reputation should extend beyond the boundaries of the University and the state and preferably should extend nationally or internationally. Letters of recommendation should manifest the broadness of that reputation. Affiliation or relationship to the State of Connecticut should be regarded as an especially favorable factor, but should not be a sufficient condition for the awarding of an honorary degree.
  4. The activities of the individual should contain outstanding contributions in scholarly research, teaching and learning, the arts, public service, or business. The person might be a distinguished scholar in the natural, physical or social sciences, the arts or humanities, or a distinguished person in public life, business, the professions, or the performing arts. Evaluation will be based on the level of intellectual and professional attainment and the significance of the contributions to the enrichment and/or welfare of the state, nation, or world.
  5. The Committee will seek to maintain a balance among various fields of activity, both in a given calendar year and in a cycle of years. A program in the awarding of honorary degrees should maintain a reasonable balance between academic and non-academic recipients, and various fields of endeavor.
  6. The Committee will make an effort to recognize the achievements of women and minorities, consonant with the equal opportunity goals of the institution.
  7. An honorary degree cannot be awarded to an active member of the University faculty, administration, staff, nor to an appointed or elected official of Connecticut state government. Persons in these categories are eligible for nomination three years after retirement or resignation from their positions at the University or in state government.
  8. A member of the Board of Trustees can be awarded an honorary degree from the University of Connecticut providing said Trustee has served as a member of the Board of Trustees for a period of at least 15 years. Said honorary degree to be awarded to the recipient by the Board of Trustees upon retirement from the Board of Trustee.