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Office of the President Presidential Committees

Honorary Doctoral Degrees Committee


The highest award that Washington State University can confer upon an individual is an honorary degree. The Board of Regents of Washington State University has statutory authority to award honorary degrees to individuals in recognition of “learning or devotion to literature, art, or science.” Recipients of a WSU honorary degree should be individuals who have achieved eminence in their fields and whose literacy, artistic, or scientific contribution enhance the intellectual climate at the University. Honorary degrees may not be awarded to graduates of Washington State University or in consideration of donations.


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

  • 12 faculty members, including at least 1 member from each degree-granting college, and at least 1 from a regional campus, with 3-year terms. 6 members, including chair, appointed by the president (F-P); 6 members appointed by the Faculty Senate Steering Committee (F-FS).
  • Provost; chair, Faculty Senate; vice president for research. (X)

Chair is appointed by and responsible to the president.

Honorary degree nomination form (PDF)


Rud, AG
Faculty Senate chair
Committee term end: 2017

Adesope, Olusola
College of Education
Committee term end: 2018


Andrefsky Jr., William
Graduate School
Ex officio

Austin, Erica
Murrow College of Communication
Committee term end: 2017

Benson, Margaret
College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences
Committee term end: 2017

Bernardo, Daniel
Ex officio

Besser, Thomas
College of Veterinary Medicine
Committee term end: 2017

Bose, Anjan
Voiland College of Engineering & Architecture
Committee term end: 2017

Corbett, Cynthia
College of Nursing
Committee term end: 2018

Johnson, Monica
College of Arts and Sciences
Committee term end: 2018

Keane, Christopher
Vice President for Research
Ex officio

Kruger, James
Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
Committee term end: 2018

McNamara, Michael
Carson College of Business
Committee term end: 2017

Meier, Kathryn
College of Pharmacy
Committee term end: 2018

Mosher, Clayton
WSU Vancouver
Committee term end: 2017

Rosenman, Robert
College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences
Committee term end: 2018

Washington State University