Office of the President
Utica College honorary degrees will be conferred upon only those individuals who meet the following criteria:
- The candidate has made an outstanding contribution or contributions to an academic discipline, the humanities, the professions, society, and/or Utica College
- The candidate’s ideals and values reflect those of Utica College
- The candidate is not a current student, employee, or trustee of the College
- Except in extraordinary circumstances, the candidate is not currently serving as an elected or appointed official in any governmental system
- The candidate must be able to accept his or her degree in person (see Exceptions, below)
Faculty, staff, and trustees of the College may nominate candidates for honorary degrees.
The nominating process must be strictly confidential and on a “need to know” basis; only the nominator and those individuals charged with reviewing nominations are to know that an individual has been nominated for an honorary degree. If necessary, a candidate’s name may be disclosed to individuals whose opinion is formally sought regarding the candidate’s qualifications and accomplishments.
The process of calling for and reviewing nominations, and forwarding recommendations as appropriate, will be coordinated by the Utica College Honorary Degree Committee.
Conferring of Honorary Degrees upon Commencement Speakers
Utica College may or may not award an honorary degree to its Commencement speaker in any particular year. The decision as to whether to nominate a Commencement speaker for an honorary degree falls within the purview of the College’s Commencement Speaker Committee. If that committee chooses to nominate a Commencement speaker for an honorary degree, the procedures outlined below will be followed. However, given the need to negotiate with Commencement speaker candidates regarding availability and fees, the selection of the Commencement speaker and, therefore, the decision as to whether to nominate the speaker for an honorary degree, may not take place until the spring semester. If needed, the procedures outlined below also provide for alternative approval processes.
Honorary degrees will be granted only to living individuals. However, if a candidate dies during the nomination process or after having been approved for an honorary degree, the degree will be conferred posthumously. In such cases, a person who was personally or professionally close to the candidate may be invited to receive the degree on the candidate’s behalf.
This policy applies to all members of the Utica College community.
REASON FOR POLICY:
This policy is intended to ensure that members of the College community have opportunities to nominate candidates for honorary degrees and that honorary degree candidates are held to the highest academic, ethical, and professional standards.
Honorary Degree: An academic degree that does not require the completion of coursework but that is granted in recognition of the recipient’s scholarly, literary, scientific, artistic, public service, or professional achievements, achievements in other areas, or in recognition of the recipient’s outstanding contributions to the College in support of its mission.
Utica College Honorary Degree Committee: A College committee charged with reviewing nominations for honorary degrees and recommending candidates to the Faculty Senate, President of the College, and Board of Trustees. Members are:
- Chair of the Board of Trustees or a trustee selected by the Chair of the Board of Trustees
- The President of the College or his/her designee (who will serve as recording secretary)
- The Provost of the College or his/her designee
- The three elected members of the Faculty Senate Honorary Degree Committee
- The Chief Advancement Officer or his/her designee
Faculty Senate Honorary Degree Committee: A Faculty Senate Committee established within that body’s Bylaws and charged with calling for and vetting honorary degree nominations from the faculty; representing the faculty on the Utica College Honorary Degree Committee; and presenting honorary degree candidates to the Faculty Senate for consideration.
Calls for Nominations
The Faculty Senate Honorary Degree Committee will issue a call for nominations to members of the faculty on or about September 10 of each academic year. The Committee may additionally issue a preliminary call for nominations during the preceding spring semester. Nominations are due by October 1. The Utica College Honorary Degree Committee reserves the right to extend the deadline or to consider exceptional candidates who emerge after the deadline.
The Chair of the Honorary Degree Committee will issue a call for nominations to staff, administration, and trustees on or about September 10 of each academic year. The Chair of the Honorary Degree Committee may additionally issue a preliminary call for nominations during the preceding spring semester. Nominations are due by October 1. The Utica College Honorary Degree Committee reserves the right to extend the deadline or to consider exceptional candidates who emerge after the deadline.
All nominations must be submitted in writing, and must include a justification that clearly demonstrates that the nominee meets the criteria set forth above. The Faculty Senate and Utica College Honorary Degree Committees may request additional supporting materials as necessary.
Review of Nominations
The Chair of the Utica College Honorary Degree Committee will convene the committee on or about November 1. During the period between October 1 and November 1:
- The Faculty Senate Honorary Degree Committee will vet nominations from members of the faculty and forward approved nominations to the Chair of the Utica College Honorary Degree Committee, and
- The administrative members of the Utica College Honorary Degree Committee will vet all other nominations and forward approved nominations to the Chair of the Utica College Honorary Degree Committee.
The Faculty Senate will vote at its December meeting whether to recommend nominees to the President of the College, who will in turn recommend nominees to the Trusteeship Subcommittee for consideration at its winter meeting. In accordance with the Bylaws of the College, the Trusteeship Subcommittee will vote whether to recommend nominees to the Committee on Advancement, which in turn will vote whether to recommend nominees to the full Board of Trustees at its winter meeting.
Ordinarily, no more than two candidates for honorary degrees will be considered in any academic year. A third candidate may be considered if that person is the Commencement Speaker.
The President of the College will notify nominees that they have been selected to receive an honorary degree.
Because decisions regarding honorary degrees may not be made until the spring semester, an alternative timeline may be followed. Similarly, extraordinary circumstances such as the conferring of an honorary degree during the fall semester may necessitate alternative procedures. In such cases, the following processes may be followed, as necessary:
- The Chair of the Utica College Honorary Degree Committee may convene a subcommittee consisting of, at a minimum, the chair of the Board of Trustees, at least two faculty members of the Committee, and the Chief Advancement Officer or his/her designee.
- Voting by the Faculty Senate may take place via Survey Monkey or other electronic means.
- The Faculty Senate’s Executive Council is authorized to act on behalf of the full Faculty Senate, in accordance with that body’s Bylaws.
- The Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees is authorized to act on the behalf of the full Board, in accordance with that body’s Bylaws.
When applicable, the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees will consider nominees at its February or March meeting, but no later than April 15. The actions of the Executive Committee will be presented to the full Board for affirmation at its final meeting of the year.
All members of the Utica College Honorary Degree Committee will have voting privileges. Members must attend meetings in person, or participate via telephone or other electronic means, in order to vote. A simple majority of the committee’s membership, providing that there at least two faculty members, will constitute a quorum, and a simple majority of those voting, with at least two faculty members voting in the affirmative, will be required to approve motions.
Conferring of Honorary Degrees
Honorary degrees will normally be conferred during the College’s Commencement ceremony in May. However, the College may, at its discretion, confer a degree during a special event other than Commencement.
With the exception of degrees that are awarded posthumously, no honorary degrees will be conferred in absentia.
Honorary degree recipients will be recognized with an official diploma and a citation that will be read aloud. Recipients will also be honored by mention in printed programs, news releases, features on the College’s website, etc. Honorary degree recipients are also listed in the College’s undergraduate catalog.
It is the responsibility of the Faculty Senate Honorary Degree Committee to issue annual calls for nominations to the faculty of the College, to review those nominations, to make recommendations to the Utica College Honorary Degree Committee, and to present candidates for honorary degrees to the Faculty Senate.
It is the responsibility of the Utica College Honorary Degree Committee to issue annual calls for nominations to staff, administration, and trustees, to review nominations, and to make recommendations to the Faculty Senate and Trusteeship Subcommittee regarding the conferring of honorary degrees.
It is the responsibility of the Faculty Senate to consider and vote upon such nominations at a fall semester regular meeting, normally the last regular meeting of the fall semester.
It is the responsibility of the Trusteeship Subcommittee to consider and vote upon such nominations at its first meeting of the spring semester.
It is the responsibility of the Office of the President to coordinate nominating and voting processes with the Executive Committee and/or full Board of Trustees and to notify candidates who are to be awarded honorary degrees.
It is the responsibility of the Office of the Registrar to determine which degree will be conferred upon honorary degree candidates.
It is the responsibility of the Provost of the College, in consultation with the three School Deans, to select an individual to read the citation.
It is the responsibility of the Office of Marketing and Communications to coordinate production of a framed diploma for the honorary degree recipient and to provide publicity as appropriate.
It is the responsibility of the Office of Advancement to make all travel arrangements for honorary degree recipients.
Enforcement of Utica College policies is the responsibility of the office or offices listed in the “Resources/Questions” section of each policy. The responsible office will contact the appropriate authority regarding faculty or staff members, students, vendors, or visitors who violate policies.
Utica College acknowledges that College policies may not anticipate every possible issue that may arise. The College therefore reserves the right to make reasonable and relevant decisions regarding the enforcement of this policy. All such decisions must be approved by an officer of the College (i.e. President, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Executive Vice President and Chief Advancement Officer, Vice President for Financial Affairs, or Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel).
For questions or additional information, please contact the Office of the President at (315) 792-3222.
Please note that other Utica College policies may apply or be related to this policy. To search for related policies, use the Keyword Search function of the online policy manual.