POL 01.30.02 – Honorary Degrees

Authority: Board of Trustees

History: First Issued: April 23, 1993. Last Revised: April 24, 2013.

Related Policies:
UNC Code: Appendix, Section IV – Honorary Degrees, Awards and Distinctions

Additional References:
Honorary Degree (Nomination Procedures)

Contact Info: Senior Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs (919-513-7741)


1.1  North Carolina State University (hereinafter “University”) will award Honorary Doctoral Degrees to recognize individuals who have attained achievements of extraordinary and lasting distinction.  Awards represent the University’s highest recognition of outstanding and distinguished contributions of scholarship, creativity, leadership, and humanitarian or public service, that represent a state-level, national or international model to others and reflect the broad mission of the University.  Honorary Degrees are not awarded to encourage or reward financial contributions to the University.  Individuals may or may not 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).

1.2  Honorary Doctoral Degrees shall not be awarded to members of the University faculty, staff, Trustees or members of the Board of Governors, the Governor, or any other elected officials or state employees concerned with the function or control of the University, so long as the relationship exists.


2.1  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 Faculty Committee on Honorary Degrees and from nominations submitted directly to the University Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees, in care of the Assistant Secretary to the Board.  The Assistant Secretary will coordinate submissions of nominations with the Chancellor and the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost.

2.2  The Faculty Committee on Honorary Degrees (hereinafter, the “Committee”) will be chaired by the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, and will be composed of 12 members: (1) five faculty recommended by the Faculty Senate, with the total of five including the Chair of the Faculty; (2) two Distinguished University Professors appointed by the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost; (3) an academic Dean and (4) three at-large faculty, appointed by the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, who are representative of the University’s academic, research, extension, engagement and economic development mission.  The Chair shall participate in all discussions, and will vote only in the event of a tie.

2.3  Each year, the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost shall solicit recommendations for appointment to the Committee through communication with the Faculty Senate, the deans, and the campus community.  Faculty members shall serve two-year staggered terms, with the term of appointment beginning July 1.  Members may serve no more than two consecutive terms on the Committee.


3.1  The Chancellor has delegated responsibility to the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost for solicitation and review of honorary degree nominations.

3.2 The staff in the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost shall provide administrative staff support to the Committee, including the assembly of honorary degree nominations.  The Committee shall solicit nominations from the campus community, screen the nominations, and forward to the University Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees those nominees whom the Committee deems appropriate for further action.  The Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost shall present the nominees to the University Affairs Committee.

3.3  University Affairs Committee members may nominate individuals for the honorary degree during the Closed Session consideration of honorary degree nominations.

3.4  The University Affairs Committee shall report its recommendation(s) for the honorary degree to the full Board of Trustees for final action.

3.5  Upon final action of the Board of Trustees, the Chancellor shall notify all recipient(s) and arrange for awarding the Honorary Degree(s).

3.6  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.  Individuals nominated but not recommended by the Committee will have their nominations carried forward for one additional year.


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

4.1.1  Honorary Doctor of Sciences

4.1.2  Honorary Doctor of Laws

4.1.3  Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters

4.1.4  Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts

4.2  The University may confer Honorary Doctoral Degree(s) at the Fall or Spring Commencement, and/or in unusual circumstances at other appropriate academic functions at the discretion of the Chancellor.  Nominators and seconders of successful candidates may be invited by the Chancellor to participate in activities honoring the candidate.  Individuals must accept the degree in person within three years of approval by the Board of Trustees, unless otherwise approved by the Board of Trustees.  Honorary Degree recipients must commit to a date to come to NC State 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.