University of Michigan leaders are encouraging the campus community to nominate individuals who have contributed to their field or society to be considered for honorary degrees by the Honorary Degree Committee.

The university is re-engaging the honorary degree process after a brief hiatus during U-M’s bicentennial year.

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staff contacts
  • Britney Rashleigh, project manager
    Office of the President
    bkionne@umich.edu
    734-936-8870
  • John Godfrey, assistant dean
    ackham Graduate School
    godfrey@umich.edu
    34-764-8221

In honor of the university’s 200th anniversary, the university instead bestowed Bicentennial Alumni Awards, which were designed, in part, to highlight the excellence of recent graduates. The final 10 Bicentennial Alumni Awards will be given at the Winter Commencement ceremony in December.

The university will again grant honorary degrees at commencement ceremonies beginning in 2018.

“U-M honorary degrees recognize those whose contributions have changed our university — and the world,” President Mark Schlissel said. “We are seeking nominations from the U-M community of deserving individuals from all backgrounds.”

The Honorary Degree Committee, chaired by Rackham Graduate School Interim Dean Michael Solomon, receives nominations and recommends recipients for honorary degrees.

The committee consists of faculty members from the Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn campuses, students and alumni — all of whom are appointed by the Board of Regents on the recommendation of the president. The committee then forwards its recommendations to the president and regents.

Approved nominees for honorary degrees are placed in a pool the university then pulls from in any given year.

Solomon, chair of the honorary degree committee, said U-M has awarded honorary degrees to “leaders remarkable in advancing knowledge and scholarship, to pre-eminent artists and writers, and to persons who have made extraordinary and inspirational contributions to public service, government, business and civic life.”

“Individuals receiving honorary degrees from the U-M inspire our students through their values and achievements,” Solomon said. “We seek nominations of exceptional individuals who embody the values and mission of the university, the diversity of its community, and its commitment of service to the people of Michigan and the world.”

Although nominations can be submitted at any time, the committee typically meets once in the fall and once in the spring to consider nominations.

The deadline to submit nominations to be considered by the committee at its upcoming fall meeting is 5 p.m. Oct. 12.

Nominees may be individuals from outside the U-M community who have advanced their field of endeavor in significant ways, or have made significant contributions to society. U-M faculty, active or emeritus, and other active university employees are ineligible to receive degrees.

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