Honorary Doctoral Degrees Committee


The Honorary Doctoral Degree Committee is responsible for processing and reviewing nominations for honorary degrees. The committee is composed of 12 members, 6 (including the chair) appointed by the president of the University, and 6 by the Faculty Senate Steering Committee. Committee members serve 3-year staggered terms. The provost, vice president for research, and chair of Faculty Senate serve as ex officio members of the committee.


The committee will establish a deadline and solicit nominations early in the fall semester each year. Any member of the University community may nominate an individual(s) using the honorary degree nomination form. A detailed letter of nomination, complete biographical material, and the names and addresses of 3 individuals who have direct knowledge of the nominee and his or her accomplishments should accompany the nomination form. No disclosure is to be made to the nominee while his or her name is under consideration. Upon receipt of a nomination the committee will review the material and, if necessary, request additional information from the nominator or other appropriate individuals or academic units.

  • If the committee fails to recommend the nominee, no further consideration is given to the nomination.
  • If the committee recommends a nominee(s), all materials are submitted simultaneously to the president of the University and to the Faculty Senate Steering Committee.
  • If either the president or the Faculty Senate Steering Committee fails to recommend the nominee, no further consideration is given to the individual.
  • If both the president and the Faculty Steering Committee recommend the nominee, all materials are submitted to the Board of Regents and the board makes a final decision as to the awarding of the degree. Given the special nature of the honorary degrees, they should be awarded after careful and thorough deliberation. The regents may elect not to award any honorary degrees in a given year or they may decide that up to 3 individuals are worthy of this special recognition.

Honorary degrees are conferred at official University-wide ceremonies, e.g. commencement and convocation.


  • Administers the process by which nominations for honorary degrees are made and reviewed.
  • Receives nominations for honorary degrees from any member of the University community.
  • Reviews and investigates nominations.
  • Recommends approved candidates to the Faculty Senate Steering Committee and to the president.
  • With approval from president and Faculty Senate Steering Committee, recommends nominees to Board of Regents.

Composition and tenure

  • 9 faculty (4 to 5 men, 4 to 5 women), with 3-year terms. (F)
  • 1 graduate student and 3 undergraduate students, including 2 women, with 1-year terms.
  • 4 alumni (2 men, 2 women), with 3-year terms. (alumna/alumnus)
  • Faculty Athletics Department representative; executive director, Alumni Relations; associate dean, University College; director, Intercollegiate Athletics; senior associate athletics director; vice president for finance and administration, and the president; or his or her designees.

The chair is the faculty Athletics Department representative.

Responsible to the president.

Committee membership

Horne, Christine

Faculty Senate chair-elect
Committee term end: 2022

Austin, Erica

Murrow College of Communication
Committee term end: 2023

Cook, Diane

Voiland College of Engineering & Arcitecture
Committee term end: 2023

Gloss, Lisa

Graduate School
Ex officio

Higheagle Strong, Zoe

College of Education
Committee term end: 2021

Jansen, Heiko

College of Veterinary Medicine
Committee term end: 2023


Carson College of Business
Committee term end:

Keane, Christopher

Vice President for Research
Ex officio

McCracken, Vicki

Committee term end: 2024

McPherson, Sterling

Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
Committee term end: 2024

Meier, Kathryn

College of Pharmacy
Committee term end: 2024

Chilton, Elizabeth

Chancellor, Pullman

Potter, Nancy

Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
Committee term end: 2023

Craft, Rebecca

College of Arts & Sciences
Committee term end: 2022

Van Son, Catherine

College of Nursing
Committee term end: 2024

Call, Douglas

Faculty Senate, Chair

Honorary Doctoral Degrees Granted

2019: Mark Pigott, Executive Chair, Board of Directors, PACCAR, Inc., and notable philanthropist, humanitarian, and arts aficionado

2018: R. James Cook, former Chief Scientist, United States Department of Agriculture and WSU Professor Emeritus, Plant Pathology and Crop and Soil Sciences

2016: Elson S. Floyd, former President of Washington State University

2014: Jordan D. Schnitzer, President, Harsch Investment Properties and President, Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation

2007: Johnnetta Cole, former WSU faculty member and administrator, President Emerita, Spelman College (Atlanta) and Bennett College (North Carolina)

2005: Clarence A. Ryan Jr., emeritus professor and plant biochemistry researcher, WSU Institute of Biological Chemistry; first WSU professor in National Academy of Sciences

1995: Norman Borlaug, Nobel Peace Prize recipient, “Green Revolution”

1991: Carolyn Kizer, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet

1990: Howard Nemerov, U.S. Poet Laureate

1966: C. Clement French, WSU president

1951: Edwin H. Burgess, Class of 1910, former vice president and general counsel, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad

1950: Joel E. Ferris, Spokane civic leader; Charles Glen King, Class of 1918, world nutrition authority who isolated and identified Vitamin C

1949: George Fredrick Jewett, timber industrialist and Potlatch Corp. founder

1947: William Edward Boeing, Boeing Co. founder and retired chairman of the Boeing Co. board; Eric Allen Johnston, Motion Picture Association of America president and former Spokane business leader and former U.S. Chamber of Commerce president

1946: Edward R. Murrow, Class of 1930, broadcast journalist; Al G. Sparling, Spokane KGA Radio chief engineer (honorary degree of communication engineer)

1945: Lewis B. Schwellenbach, U.S. senator from Washington serving as U.S. District Court judge for the Eastern District of Washington

1944: Frank A. Banks, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation engineer, headed Grand Coulee Dam project; William J. Coulter, Climax Molybdenum Co. president; Arthur E. Drucker, dean, WSC School of Mines and Geology; Richard E. Fuller, Seattle Art Museum founder; Ceylon S. Kingston, retired Eastern Washington University vice president; William C. Kruegel, WSC comptroller; James C. Thomson, University of Saskatchewan president

1943: Henry J. Kaiser, American industrialist, worked in Spokane, helped build Bonneville and Grand Coulee Dams, during World War II built “Liberty Ships” on West Coast, including in Vancouver, Wash., and Portland, Ore.

1929: Enoch A. Bryan, WSC president; O.L. Waller, WSC vice president