3 - 01.104

Operational policy regarding honorary degrees

  1. Purpose. Honorary degrees have been awarded by American colleges and universities since early colonial times as a way of recognizing persons of achievement. They have customarily been awarded to prominent alumni/alumnae of the granting institution and to professional and civic leaders, national and state leaders in public affairs, prominent educators, and distinguished contributors to the arts, sciences and humanities.
  2. Eligibility. At Kent state university honorary degrees may be awarded to persons who have clearly and unmistakably demonstrated achievement in a recognized field of endeavor, and who have in some measure contributed to the advancement of the university, or whose contributions are so significant that the benefits are recognized and acknowledged on a state, national, or international level.
  3. Procedure.
    1. For the award of an honorary degree, the statutes of Ohio require the approval of the faculty and of the board. By action of the faculty senate on February 25, 1980, the senate committee on citation and recognition represents the faculty in recommending and screening nominees for honorary degrees, making its recommendation through the president to the board.
    2. The board will consider only those nominations which have been screened by the senate committee on citation and recognition and brought forward by the president with his or her recommendation; however, the board may also propose nominations to this committee for faculty consideration.
    3. To avoid potential embarrassment, deliberations on the merits of nominations for honorary degrees will be conducted in closed sessions.
    4. Nominations of persons to be considered for honorary degrees must be in writing and may be made at any time to the chairperson of the senate committee on citation and recognition. Nominations should be fully documented and carry the names and addresses of at least five persons from outside the campus who might be asked to endorse the nomination.
    5. An earned degree is not to be considered a prerequisite for an honorary degree.
  4. Exceptions.
    1. A person actively campaigning for public office in the state of Ohio may not be considered for an honorary degree from this university during the period of the campaign.
    2. An honorary degree may not be granted "in absentia."
  5. The following honorary degrees are those usually awarded at Kent State University:
    1. LL.D (doctor of laws), customarily awarded to a person distinguished in general service to the state, to learning and to mankind.
    2. LH.D. (doctor of humane letters), customarily awarded to a person distinguished in the humanities.
    3. Sc.D. (doctor of science), customarily awarded to a person distinguished in the sciences.
    4. Lett.D. (doctor of letters), customarily awarded to an acknowledged scholar in a particular discipline.
    5. Mus.D. (doctor of music), customarily awarded to a distinguished performer or composer.
Policy Effective Date:
Mar 01, 2015
Policy Prior Effective Dates: 
11/4/1977, 11/22/1982, 9/19/2005, 6/1/2007