An honorary degree is only awarded in exceptional circumstances. No more than two awards per year should be given by the University of Memphis. No individual will be allowed to receive more than one honorary degree from the University of Memphis.
In recognition of the University of Memphis’ commitment to gender equality and social, economic, national, racial, and cultural diversity, the Selection Committee is committed to the awarding of honorary degrees to recipients who reflect the diversity of interests, backgrounds, and concerns reflected in the University community and the society and world served by the University.
Current faculty, staff, and regents of the Tennessee Board of Regents are not eligible for honorary degrees. Faculty, staff, and regents who have been separated from the Tennessee Board of Regents at least five years are eligible. Currently elected or appointed public officials are not eligible. Current candidates or nominees for public elective or appointed offices are not eligible. Current or prospective benefactors of the University of Memphis are not eligible, unless they meet criteria outlined in the Purpose for Awarding Honorary Degrees of this policy.
Recognized earned doctoral degrees shall not be awarded as honorary degrees. In general, the recognized honorary degrees are Doctor of Law (LL.D.), Doctor of Letters (Litt. D.), Doctor of Science (Sc.D.), and Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.) should be used, although appropriately titled degrees could be used to recognize achievement in specific professions.
Nominations must include:
- A letter of nomination from the primary nominator, including:
- A summary of the distinguished contributions made by the nominee as defined in the Purpose for Awarding Honorary Degrees of this policy.
- The nominator’s relationship with the candidate, and any perceived potential conflicts of interest.
- An indication of the extent to which the nominee has been associated with the University of Memphis
During the Selection Committee's deliberations of the nominees, additional documents may be requested:
1. The nominee’s vita.
2. Three letters of recommendation from within or outside of the university explaining why the candidate is worthy of an honorary degree from the University of Memphis.
3. Any additional information.
The first meeting of the Selection Committee in any academic year shall be held as soon as possible following the nomination deadline. Material on nominees will be distributed to all members of the Committee in advance of that meeting. The Committee shall meet as often as appropriate in order to complete its work.
All deliberations by the Selection Committee will be confidential. The Selection Committee should use intense scrutiny of a nominee to insure continued integrity of the award process. A minimum of 4 members of the Selection Committee must vote to approve each recommendation for that nominee to be selected for submission to the president. By the middle of January, the Selection Committee will then submit the list of candidates to the President for consideration.