Honorary Degree Nominations

Honorary Degrees

The Office of the President seeks the input of the College of Charleston community in selecting appropriate honorary degree recipients for commencement ceremonies.  The Joint Committee on Commencement Speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients is charged with accepting nominations for honorary degrees and commencement speakers from various college constituencies, including the Faculty Advisory Committee to the President, faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors, parents, volunteer board members, and the local community.  Each nomination should be submitted via the form below.  Please do not inform your nominee of this nomination.

The committee is required to review the nominations received and recommend to the President those honorary degree candidates the committee believes meet the criteria of an exceptional record of distinction and achievement in at least one of the following areas: scholarship, research, teaching, creative arts, and public service, or manifests outstanding acclaim to the College.  In addition, the College confers honorary degrees in recognition of outstanding intellectual or creative achievements in scholarship, high distinction in service to humanity, including meritorious contributions to the College or for exemplary leadership in education, business, public service, or other appropriate sector of society. The President will review the nominations and forward them to the College of Charleston Board of Trustees for final consideration.

Criteria for honorary degree recipients include:

  • A College of Charleston honorary degree should represent lasting recognition of eminence, distinction and/or exemplary service of an outstanding individual. Recipients should bring acclaim to the College of Charleston and serve as proud representatives of the institution. The awarding of honorary degrees is to be regarded as a method by which the College expresses its mission, goals, values, and ideals and recognizes exceptional achievement.
  • Nominations of candidates with a College of Charleston connection, including those as an alum, faculty or staff member, or an individual who has provided exemplary service to the institution through public or philanthropic support, may be given special priority.
  • To the extent possible, the chair of the Joint Committee on Commencement Speakers and Honorary Degree Recipients will coordinate with other local higher education institutions regarding their honorary degree recipients for the ceremony being considered to ensure we avoid presenting honorary degrees to the same individual the same year.
  • Nominees not selected within three years from the date of the original nomination will be disregarded and a new nomination must be submitted if the candidate is to receive further consideration.
  • An Honorary Degree Recipients list will be maintained in the office of the Secretary to the Board and Institutional Advancement area to ensure contact is maintained with these new alumni of the College. Contact will include regular mailings of the College of Charleston Magazine, annual Christmas cards, and invitations back to campus as appropriate.
  • Nominations are accepted year-round and only need to be submitted once. Nominations for May Commencement must be received by September 30 of the prior year. Nominations for December Commencement must be received by March 31 of the same year. Nominations received after these deadlines will be considered for future commencements. All deliberations of the honorary degree nominations by the Joint Committee will be confidential.

Interested in submitting a nomination? Please complete the Honorary Degree online form.