Protocol for the Nomination and Selection of Honorary Degree Recipients


Upon the recommendation of the president, the board of trustees may confer honorary degrees in recognition of distinguished achievement, leadership or service that exemplifies the university’s mission and core values. An honorary degree may be awarded to a person for extraordinary achievement in literature, arts, science, religion, law, business or public service; or for enduring contributions to improving social justice, the public interest or the human condition. An individual’s exceptional generosity contributing to the success of the university in carrying out its mission may also be worthy of recognition. In keeping with the university’s commitment to equality and diversity, the president and the board intend for recipients to reflect the diversity of our world.

Types of honorary degrees

  • Doctor of Fine Arts (D.F.A.) – design, visual and performing arts
  • Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D) – humanitarianism, social justice, scholarship in communication, history, philosophy, language, literature, social sciences
  • Doctor of Laws (LL.D) – law, public policy, public service
  • Doctor of Science (Sc.D) – science, medicine, engineering, related fields.
  • Doctor of Religious Studies (D. Rel.)


Honorary Degrees are awarded by the Board of Trustees upon the recommendation of the President. The president appoints an Honorary Degree Committee of administrators, faculty and staff, and a committee chair person. All members of the Bellarmine University community are invited to nominate potential honorary degree recipients by submitting an on-line nomination form to the committee. The committee will screen these suggestions and will recommend nominees and potential commencement speakers to the president, maintaining an appropriate futures list with the Office of the President. The president will select which nominations to present to the board of trustees for approval. Only the board may authorize the awarding of an honorary degree. With board approval, the president may then invite the proposed recipient to accept an honorary degree. This process shall remain confidential until the invitation is made and accepted.

Honorary degrees typically are not awarded in absentia or posthumously. Honoraria are not paid to recipients.