Honorary Degree Nominations

The Faculty Life Committee invites nominations of candidates for honorary degrees.  Submissions must be accompanied by a dossier that includes:

  • a letter of nomination;
  • the candidate’s curriculum vitae;
  • one or more confidential letters of recommendation;
  • other relevant supporting materials, such as press clippings, etc.

All nomination dossier materials, including supporting letters, must be received by the Provost and Dean of the College by noon on the date indicated on the current year Application Deadlines page.

Honorary degrees are awarded to non-alumni of St. Olaf College whose academic, literary, artistic or humanitarian work embodies the mission of St. Olaf College

  • Awards are based on individual merit and accomplishment of an academic, literary, artistic, or humanitarian nature.
  • Exceptional candidates are those whose contributions have specifically enriched life at St. Olaf.

 Procedure (effective April 2018):

  • Nominator(s) submit the Honorary Degree nomination by noon on the date of the deadline;
  • The Faculty Life Committee reviews the nomination, a member of the FLC presents a motion to recommend/not recommend the Honorary Degree, and the FLC votes on this motion. Alternatively, a subcommittee of the FLC presents such a motion to the full committee, which then votes on it.
  • The chair of the FLC presents its recommendation to the President.
  • If the President approves the recommendation of the candidate, the proposer introduces the candidate’s qualifications at a Faculty Meeting. The information provided remains strictly confidential.
  • At the next Faculty Meeting after the presentation, the faculty votes on the nomination.

Rationale for the two-step procedure:

  • Honorary Degree nominations have, in the past, been presented and voted on at the same Faculty Meeting with the intent of ensuring that the identity of the candidate remain confidential.
  • However, this practice is inconsistent with every other vote of the faculty, for which information is provided in advance.
  • The two-step procedure is designed to maintain confidentiality (by not publishing the name of the candidate in the agenda) while allowing faculty time between meetings to explore the candidate’s background if they desire, in order more completely to inform their vote.

For more information on past recipients of honorary degrees, click here.