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200.11 - Honorary Degrees

University Group Policy #200.11

I.  Policy Statement

Winston-Salem State University (hereinafter "University") will award Honorary Doctoral Degrees to recognize individuals who have attained achievements of extraordinary and lasting distinction. Awards shall be based on an individual's record of scholarship, creativity, leadership, humanitarian service or public service. Individuals may have an existing association with the state and/or the University, such as collaboration on research projects or previous service as a University faculty member or administrator. Individuals also may have no existing association with the University, and may establish that connection with acceptance of the honorary degree.

II.    Guidelines


The Chancellor is authorized to promulgate regulations, in consultation with the Provost for soliciting nominations from the campus community for review by the Committee and to apprise the campus community for review by the Committee and to apprise the campus of the review process followed by the Committee.

The Committee will convene early in the academic year and shall solicit nominations from the campus community, screen the nominations, and forward to the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees those nominees whom the Committee deems appropriate for further action. Nominations must include a letter of nomination and biographical sketch of the nominee. The Committee shall submit recommended candidates to the Chancellor. The staff in the Office of the Provost shall provide administrative staff support to the Committee, including the assembly of honorary degree nomination files.

The Chancellor will present to the Board of Trustees. The Chancellor, or his designee, shall present the nominees to the Academic Affairs Committee. The Academic Affairs Committee members may nominate individuals for the honorary degree during the Closed Session consideration of honorary degree nominations. All considerations of Honorary Degrees by the Committee, the Faculty Senate, and/or the Board of Trustees and its Committee(s) will be held in the strictest confidence and considered only in Closed Session.

The Academic Affairs Committee shall report its recommendation(s) for the honorary degree to the full Board of Trustees for final action. Upon final action of the Board of Trustees, the Chancellor shall notify all recipient(s) and arrange for awarding the Honorary Degree(s).

Types and Conferral of Degrees

Upon recommendation of the Chancellor, the Board of Trustees will confer Honorary Doctoral Degrees from the following categories:

  • Honorary Doctor of Sciences
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws
  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts
  • Honorary Doctor of Music

The University may confer Honorary Doctoral Degree(s) at the Fall or Spring Commencement, and/or in unusual circumstances at other appropriate academic functions, such as the Honors Convocation at the discretion of the Chancellor. Individuals must accept the degree in person within three (3) years of approval by the Board of Trustees, unless otherwise approved by the Board of Trustees. Honorary Degrees will not be awarded in absentia or posthumously. Honorary Degree recipients must commit to a date to come to Winston-Salem State University to receive the Honorary Degree before the award will be made public by the Chancellor's office, unless otherwise approved by the Board of Trustees.

III.    Roles and Responsibilities

University Committee on Honorary Degrees

The Board of Trustees is responsible for approving all Honorary Degrees to be conferred by the University, subject to such policies as may be established by the Board of Governors. The Board will make its selections of honorary degree recipients from nominations submitted to and recommended by the University Committee on Honorary Degrees.

The University Committee on Honorary Degrees (hereinafter, the "Committee") will be appointed by the Chancellor and composed of seven (7) members, excluding the Provost, selected from Faculty and Administrators. Members shall serve three (3) year terms of appointment, beginning July 1 and may serve no more than two consecutive terms on the Committee. The Provost, or his or her designee, will chair the Committee and shall participate in all discussions, voting only in the event of a tie. The Committee shall solicit, receive, screen, and evaluate nominations of individuals to be considered for honorary degrees.

IV.     Applicability

This policy applies to the University Committee on Honorary Degrees.

Responsible Division: Chancellor

Authority: Board of Trustees


  • Adopted: December 11, 2009