BT0005 – Policy on Awarding Honorary Degrees

Effective: October 25, 2002
Revision No: 1

The Board of Trustees authorizes the awarding of honorary degrees(i) to recognize individuals who have benefited the institution or society through outstanding achievements or leadership.

The following criteria shall guide the campuses in nominating and considering candidates for honorary degrees:

  1. Each campus of The University of Tennessee may award up to three honorary degrees each year.
  2. University employees shall not be eligible for nomination during their employment. In addition, elected officials and University of Tennessee Trustees shall not be eligible for nomination prior to completion of their terms of service.
  3. Each campus shall develop specific procedures for nominating and considering honorary degree recipients. As a minimum, campus procedures shall include the following provisions:

    1. A nominating committee shall be comprised of faculty (selected by the faculty governing body), the Chancellor, and the Chair of the “Academic” committee of the Board of Trustees.
    2. The nominating committee will receive and screen nominations and recommend candidates to a special committee of the faculty governing body.
    3. Upon concurring with a recommendation by the nominating committee, the special committee will submit the candidate to the Chancellor for consideration.
    4. Upon approval, the Chancellor will submit the candidate to the President for consideration.
    5. Upon approval, the President will submit the candidate to the Board of Trustees for consideration.
  4. The Board of Trustees will make the final decision to award an honorary degree.2
  5. The University expects honorary degree recipients to participate fully in commencement exercises, but exceptions may be made for extenuating circumstances.UT Board of Trustees Policy re. Honorary Degrees 9 January 2007 Page 2 of 2

Notes (added January 2007 by Vice President for Academic Affairs & Student Success):

  1. The specific title of an honorary degree should be appropriate to the campus and to the recipient. The title should be included in the materials approved by the Board. Honorary degree titles must not duplicate the title of any existing for-credit academic degree.
  2. All degrees, honorary and for-credit, are awarded by the UT Board of Trustees, based on recommendations by the faculty of a specific campus. Thus, it is possible for an individual to receive more than one honorary degree from UT. Normally, any additional honorary degree will be from a campus other than the first honorary degree. No recipient should receive more than one honorary degree with the same specific title.
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