St. Cloud State University Policies & Procedures

Honorary Doctorate Link☍

Create PDF: Honorary Doctorate

Current Status: Approved

Policy Type: All University

Effective Date: 12/09/2013

Last Updated: 09/28/2021

Applies To: Students, Faculty, Staff

Responsible University Officer: Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs

Policy Owner: Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs

Policy Contact: Associate Provost for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies


An honorary doctorate degree is awarded to honor an individual who has made an outstanding contribution in some field and has achieved distinction through professional contributions and/or volunteer services rather than matriculating and earning a degree based on studies at the university.  Specifically, the honorary doctorate degree is to:

  1. Recognize and honor persons who have made exceptional contributions to a specific field or society in general.
  2. Establish a public association between St. Cloud State University and such exceptional persons, thereby providing testimony to the value and quality of the university.
  3. Assist St. Cloud State University in achieving the goals and objectives of its educational programming, service and outreach missions, and institutional advancement.


The honorary doctorate award is made to an individual who has achieved regional, national or international distinction, not based on service or benefit to the university alone.  It may be conferred on any individual except the following:

  1. Currently employed faculty or staff within Minnesota State.
  2. Current members of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees.
  3. Current holders of elected political offices.
  4. Persons who have previously been awarded an honorary degree from St. Cloud State University. 


Composition of Honorary Doctorate Committee

The Honorary Doctorate Committee will be composed of ten members, All members will vote:

  • Four full professors, who will serve four year staggered terms
  • One college dean
  • Two staff members, serving two-year staggered terms:
    • One appointed by the Vice President for Finance and Administration;
    • One appointed Student Life and Development
  • President of the SCSU Foundation or member designee
  • President of the Alumni Association or member designee
  • Dean of School of Graduate Studies

Nomination and Selection Process

The Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs will appoint a Chair and will contact members or the persons or groups who appoint them and convene the Honorary Doctorate Committee by the end of September. 

The Chair will solicit nominations for honorary doctorate from all members of the St. Cloud State University community by October 1st.

Nominations may be made by an individual or group.  Nomination must be submitted in writing and must include a statement summarizing the contributions that qualify the person for the award. Nomination forms are available in the Supporting Documents section of this policy or from the Office of Academic Affairs.

Nominations must be received by the Provost by November 15th

The Honorary Doctorate Committee will review the nominations. All nominations will be kept strictly confidential. Support of at least five (5) voting members is required to advance a nomination. The Committee will endeavor to provide the names of two or three candidates to the Provost or President by January 15th.

The President shall review the recommendations of the committee and determine the individual(s) to whom the award shall be given. The award will be conferred at the spring commencement of the next calendar year or other event as appropriate.


Guidelines for Presentation

Following selection by the President, honorary doctorate degrees will normally be conferred during the university’s commencement exercises.  The conferring of an honorary doctorate should be a special and extraordinary tribute and should not be expected to occur routinely at every commencement.  However, on occasion, honorary doctorates may be awarded at convocations or presidential inaugurations.  An honorary doctorate should not be awarded in absentia and an invitation to the candidate should be conditional until the candidate’s acceptance of the invitation to attend the event at which the doctorate will be awarded.  No more than two honorary doctorates should be conferred in any academic year and no more than one per commencement ceremony.


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Supporting Documents (Forms, Instructions)

Sep 28 2021 12:18PM

Supporting URLs

Websites, Related External Documents, Statutes


Responsible University Officer
   Zink, Abbey L.
   Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs
   Zink, Abbey L.
   Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs
   Tomany, Maria-Claudia C.
   Associate Provost for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies

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