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Policy for Awarding Honorary Doctoral Degrees


  1. Honorary doctoral degrees may be granted in recognition of extraordinary service rendered to McMurry University, to the United Methodist Church, and/or to the common good of humanity through professional accomplishment or voluntary service. There should exist a reasonable relationship with the University or a nexus between the individual’s achievements and the mission of the University. 

  2. Nominations may originate with the McMurry University faculty, staff, administration, Board of Trustees, alumni, Methodist leadership, and friends of the University.

  3. The Trusteeship Committee of the Board of Trustees shall receive nominations, generate nominations within its membership, and recommend prospective degree recipients to the Board of Trustees.

  4. The number of honorary doctorates to be awarded in an academic year is limited to three (3).The focus of commencement ceremonies should remain on those receiving earned degrees, so it may be prudent to award no more than two honorary degrees at a single commencement, and no annual awards are mandatory.

  5. The proper order for consideration of a nomination is as follows:

    • a) Nominations shall be sent to the President’s Office no later than January 15 for May and summer commencement candidates and August 15 for winter commencement candidates.b) The President shall arrange for review by an appropriate faculty group, then forward the commented nominations  to the Trusteeship Committee of the Board of Trustees  on or before  February 10 or September 10.c) The Trusteeship Committee will consider and determine the level of support for the nominations and make its recommendations to the full Board of Trustees.d) The Board of Trustees will consider the nominations and award up to three honorary degrees. Each nomination requires a two-thirds favorable vote of trustees in attendance.

  6. The Trusteeship Committee shall also recommend a specific honorary degree based on the following guidelines:

    • For distinction in politics, public service, or law, the degree Doctor of Laws is recommended.

    • For distinction in science and engineering, the degree of Doctor of Science is recommended.

    • For distinction in religion, the degree of Doctor of Divinity is recommended.

    • For distinction in the Arts, certain areas of humanities, and philanthropy, the Doctor of Humane Letters is recommended, especially for candidates without an earned degree.

    • For musicians, actors, architects, and artists, the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts is common.

    • For distinction in literature and drama, the degree of Doctor of Literature is recommended.

    • For distinction in education, the degree of Doctor of Education is recommended. Ideally the proposed degree will be included in the original nomination document(s) to be considered throughout  the review process

  7. The President shall contact the approved candidates and arrange for presentation to those who accept.  To the degree feasible and practical, the degrees should be conferred in the same academic year in which they were approved. In general, the degree will not be awarded in absentia, but may be awarded posthumously. It is the discretion of the President or her/his appointees as to whether any honorary degree recipient should also be a commencement speaker.