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Honorary Degrees



The honorary doctorate degree is the highest form of recognition offered by the University of Missouri to persons of exceptional distinction. Review the Collected Rules and Regulations 220.030 (last updated 02/2019) for more information. 

Criteria for Selection of Degree Recipients (View full list of recipients)

The basis for the selection of a degree recipient shall be consistent with the Purposes of Honorary Degrees stated in Collected Rules and Regulations 220.030 (last updated 02/2019)

  1. The nominee must be distinguished, and the person’s achievements must be both relevant and appropriate to the nominating university.  Eligibility for nomination is restricted to persons of exceptional state, national or international stature.
  2. The nominee should have a connection with the university or the University of Missouri System.  Nominees may be alumni.  The nominee could have participated in university-based programs, partnered in scholarly or creative activity with its faculty or students, or assisted the university with programmatic development.  Furthermore, the connection could be national or international prominence in a particular discipline in which the university has a program.  Alternatively, the nominee may have achieved recognized national or international prominence in their field.
  3. Substantive service to the University of Missouri System or the particular university is not sufficient justification for an honorary degree if the individual does not meet the other criteria for honorary degrees; in these instances, a university award is recommended.
  4. Honorary degrees shall not be awarded to active members of the University governing board, administration, faculty or staff for career distinction achieved at the University, nor to political officials unless retired from political life.
  5. An individual already holding an honorary degree from the University shall not be eligible to receive a second honorary degree.

Submitting a Nomination

Any member of the University community, including faculty, administrative staff, students, alumni and alumnae, members of advisory councils, Curators and friends of the University, may nominate a qualified individual for an honorary degree. Nominations should be completed using the nomination form (download here).

All nominations should be submitted to the university’s Faculty Council/Senate. The Faculty Council/Senate will refer the nomination(s) to the university’s committee that reviews honorary degrees, which is designated to review the nomination(s) and make recommendations to the Chancellor. 

Nominations originating from other sources within the wider University community should be referred to the appropriate university. If it is unclear which university the nomination should go to, the President will determine the appropriate location.  

All nominations must include the Chancellor’s signature after they have been approved at the campus level. Each campus may submit a maximum of 5 nominations annually. 

  1. Nomination Form (download here)
  2. Justification (maximum of 10 additional pages, minus curriculum vitae)
    1. Summary about the nominee’s most important achievements/relevance to the nominating campus
    2. Why the particular type of degree is being recommended
    3. Confidential statement of support from a faculty member in the relevant discipline when the nominee is an academic
    4. Additional supporting documentation (curriculum vitae, reviews or articles of nominee’s work, etc).


Date Action
3rd Friday in October Chancellors submit nomination packets to UM Academic Affairs
3rd Monday in December UM System Honors Committee forwards recommendations to President
3rd Tuesday in January President forwards recommendations to Board of Curators
3rd Monday in February With Board approval, President notifies Chancellors and sends formal letter to candidates


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Last updated: 01/2024

Reviewed 2024-01-10