Honorary degree

An honorary degree[1] is an academic degree for which a university (or other degree-awarding institution) has waived the usual requirements, such as matriculation, residence, a dissertation, and the passing of comprehensive examinations. It is also known by the Latin phrases honoris causa ("for the sake of the honour") or ad honorem ("to the honour"). The degree is typically a doctorate or, less commonly, a master's degree, and may be awarded to someone who has no prior connection with the academic institution[2] or no previous postsecondary education. An example of identifying a recipient of this award is as follows: Doctorate in Business Administration (Hon. Causa).

The degree is often conferred as a way of honouring a distinguished visitor's contributions to a specific field or to society in general.[3]

It is sometimes recommended that such degrees be listed in one's curriculum vitae (CV) as an award, and not in the education section.[4] With regard to the use of this honorific, the policies of institutions of higher education generally ask that recipients "refrain from adopting the misleading title"[5] and that a recipient of an honorary doctorate should restrict the use of the title "Dr" before their name to any engagement with the institution of higher education in question and not within the broader community.[6] Rev. Theodore Hesburgh held the record for most honorary degrees, having been awarded 150 during his lifetime.[7]

Jimmy Wales receives honorary doctorate from Maastricht University (5)
The honoris causa doctorate received by Jimmy Wales from the University of Maastricht (2015)

Historical origins

The practice dates back to the Middle Ages, when for various reasons a university might be persuaded, or otherwise see fit, to grant exemption from some or all of the usual statutory requirements for the awarding of a degree. The earliest honorary degree on record was awarded to Lionel Woodville in the late 1470s by the University of Oxford.[8] He later became Bishop of Salisbury.[9]

In the latter part of the 16th century, the granting of honorary degrees became quite common, especially on the occasion of royal visits to Oxford or Cambridge.[8] On the visit of James I to Oxford in 1605, for example, forty-three members of his retinue (fifteen of whom were earls or barons) received the degree of Master of Arts, and the Register of Convocation explicitly states that these were full degrees, carrying the usual privileges (such as voting rights in Convocation and Congregation).[8]

Modern practice

Honorary degrees are usually awarded at regular graduation ceremonies, at which the recipients are often invited to make a speech of acceptance before the assembled faculty and graduates – an event which often forms the highlight of the ceremony. Generally, universities nominate several persons each year for honorary degrees; these nominees usually go through several committees before receiving approval. Those who are nominated are generally not told until a formal approval and invitation are made; often it is perceived that the system is shrouded in secrecy, and occasionally seen as political and controversial.[10]

The term honorary degree is a slight misnomer: honoris causa degrees are not considered of the same standing as substantive degrees earned by the standard academic processes of courses and original research, except perhaps where the recipient has demonstrated an appropriate level of academic scholarship that would ordinarily qualify him or her for the award of a substantive degree.[11] Recipients of honorary degrees typically wear the same academic dress as recipients of substantive degrees, although there are a few exceptions: honorary graduands at the University of Cambridge wear the appropriate full-dress gown but not the hood, and those at the University of St Andrews wear a black cassock instead of the usual full-dress gown.

An ad eundem or jure officii degree is sometimes considered honorary, although they are only conferred on an individual who has already achieved a comparable qualification at another university or by attaining an office requiring the appropriate level of scholarship. Under certain circumstances, a degree may be conferred on an individual for both the nature of the office they hold and the completion of a dissertation. The "dissertation et jure dignitatis" is considered to be a full academic degree. See below.

Although higher doctorates such as DSc, DLitt, etc., are often awarded honoris causa, in many countries (notably England and Scotland, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand) it is possible formally to earn such a degree.[12] This typically involves the submission of a portfolio of peer-refereed research, usually undertaken over a number of years, which has made a substantial contribution to the academic field in question. The university will appoint a panel of examiners who will consider the case and prepare a report recommending whether or not the degree be awarded. Usually, the applicant must have some strong formal connection with the university in question, for example full-time academic staff, or graduates of several years' standing.

Some universities, seeking to differentiate between substantive and honorary doctorates, have a degree (often DUniv, or Doctor of the University) which is used for these purposes, with the other higher doctorates reserved for formally examined academic scholarship.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has the authority to award degrees. These "Lambeth degrees" are sometimes, erroneously, thought to be honorary; however the archbishops have for many centuries had the legal authority (originally as the representatives of the Pope, later confirmed by a 1533 Act of Henry VIII), to award degrees and regularly do so to people who have either passed an examination or are deemed to have satisfied the appropriate requirements.[13]

Between the two extremes of honoring celebrities and formally assessing a portfolio of research, some universities use honorary degrees to recognize achievements of intellectual rigor. Some institutes of higher education do not confer honorary degrees as a matter of policy — see below. Some learned societies award honorary fellowships in the same way as honorary degrees are awarded by universities, for similar reasons.

Practical use

Ezra Stiles George Washington Honorary Degree
Letter from Ezra Stiles to George Washington announcing the awarding of an honorary degree to Washington by the president and fellows of Yale College (1781).

A typical example of university regulations is, "Honorary graduates may use the approved post-nominal letters. It is not customary, however, for recipients of an honorary doctorate to adopt the prefix 'Dr.'"[14] In some universities, it is however a matter of personal preference for an honorary doctor to use the formal title of "Doctor", regardless of the background circumstances for the award. Written communications where an honorary doctorate has been awarded may include the letters "h.c." after the award to indicate that status.

The recipient of an honorary degree may add the degree title postnominally, but it should always be made clear that the degree is honorary by adding "honorary" or "honoris causa" or "h.c." in parentheses after the degree title. In some countries, a person who holds an honorary doctorate may use the title "Doctor" prenominally, abbreviated "Dr.h.c." or "Dr.(h.c.)". Sometimes, they use "Hon" before the degree letters, for example, "Hon DMus".

In recent years, some universities have adopted entirely separate postnominal titles for honorary degrees. This is in part due to the confusion that honorary degrees have caused. For example, an honorary doctorate from the Auckland University of Technology takes the special title HonD since it is now common in certain countries to use certain degrees, such as LLD or HonD, as purely honorary. Some universities, including the Open University grant Doctor of the University (DUniv) degrees to selected nominees, while awarding PhD or EdD degrees to those who have fulfilled the academic requirements.

Most American universities award the degrees of LLD (Doctor of Laws), LittD (Doctor of Letters), LHD (Doctor of Humane Letters), ScD (Doctor of Science), PedD (Doctor of Pedagogy) and DD (Doctor of Divinity) only as honorary degrees. American universities do not have the system of "higher doctorates" used in the UK and some other universities around the world.

Customary degrees (ad eundem or jure officii degrees)

Some universities and colleges have the custom of awarding a master's degree to every scholar appointed as a full professor, who had never earned a degree there. At the universities of Oxford, Dublin and Cambridge, many senior staff are granted the degree of Master of Arts after three years of service,[15][16] and at Amherst College all tenured professors are awarded a Master of Arts degree at an academic convocation in the autumn, even though the school only offers an earned Bachelor of Arts degree (Amherst awards honorary doctorates at commencement in the spring to notable scholars and other special invitees). Schools such as Brown University, the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University also award tenured faculty, who do not have a degree from their respective schools, the AM ad eundem.

These ad eundem or jure officii degrees are earned degrees, not honorary, because they recognize formal learning.

Similarly, a jure dignitatis degree is awarded to someone who has demonstrated eminence and scholarship by being appointed to a particular office. Thus, for example, a DD (Doctor of Divinity) might be conferred upon a bishop on the occasion of his consecration, or a judge created LLD (Legum Doctor) or DCL (Doctor of Civil Law) upon his or her appointment to the judicial bench. These, also, are properly considered substantive rather than honorary degrees.

Institutions not awarding honorary degrees

Some US universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT),[17] Cornell University,[18] Stanford University,[19][20] and Rice University,[21] do not award honorary degrees as a matter of policy. The University of Virginia (founded in 1819) was probably the first US university to explicitly have a policy of not awarding honorary degrees at the behest of its founder, Thomas Jefferson.[17][22] In 1845, William Barton Rogers, then chairman of the faculty, vigorously defended this policy; in 1861, he founded MIT in Boston and continued this practice.[17][23] The University of Virginia does annually award Thomas Jefferson Medals in Architecture and in Law, as the highest honors accorded by that institution.[22][24]

MIT has on rare occasions awarded honorary professorships; Winston Churchill was so honored in 1949, as was Salman Rushdie in 1993. Similarly, the Stanford Alumni Association occasionally awards the Degree of Uncommon Man/Woman to individuals who have given "rare and exceptional service" to the university.[25] Though UCLA has imposed a moratorium on awarding honorary degrees, it honors notable people with the UCLA Medal instead.[26] St. John's College has not granted honorary degrees since 1936, but its alumni association occasionally offers honorary membership to retiring faculty, staff, and other close associates of the college.[27]


1975 Elena Ceausescu Honoris Causa Manilla
Elena Ceauşescu becoming Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Manila, Philippines, in 1975

Some universities and colleges have been accused of granting honorary degrees in exchange for large donations. Honorary degree recipients, particularly those who have no prior academic qualifications, have sometimes been criticized if they insist on being called "Doctor" as a result of their award, as the honorific may mislead the general public about their qualifications. It can be similarly misleading when respected individuals are referred to as "Professor", especially in a university or government context.[28]

The awarding of an honorary degree to political figures can prompt protests from faculty or students. In 2001, George W. Bush received an honorary degree from Yale University, where he had earned his bachelor's degree in history in 1968. Some students and faculty chose to boycott the university's 300th commencement.[29] Andrew Card, who served as Bush's Chief of Staff from 2001–2006, ultimately chose not to speak when the University of Massachusetts-Amherst awarded him an honorary degree in 2007, in response to protests from students and faculty at the commencement ceremonies.[30]

In 1985, as a deliberate snub, the University of Oxford voted to refuse Margaret Thatcher an honorary degree in protest against her cuts in funding for higher education.[31] This award had previously been given to all prime ministers who had been educated at Oxford.

In 2005 at the University of Western Ontario, Dr. Henry Morgentaler, a gynecologist involved in a legal case decriminalizing abortion in Canada (R. v. Morgentaler), was made an honorary Doctor of Laws. Over 12,000 signatures were acquired asking the UWO to reverse its decision to honor Dr. Morgentaler.[32] Several protest rallies were held, including one on the day the honorary degree was bestowed (a counter petition to support Morgentaler's degree gained 10,000 signatures).[33]

Few people object when an honorary degree is awarded in a field that the awardee is noted for. McGill University's decision to grant musician Joni Mitchell an honorary Doctor of Music in 2004 was unopposed, although it was timed to coincide with a symposium about Mitchell's career.[34]

In 1996, Southampton College at Long Island University (now a campus of SUNY Stony Brook) awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Amphibious Letters to Muppet Kermit the Frog. Although some students objected to awarding a degree to a Muppet, Kermit delivered an enjoyable commencement address and the small college received considerable press coverage.[35] The degree was conferred in recognition of efforts in the area of environmentalism. Said the university: "His theme song, 'It's Not Easy Bein' Green,' has become a rallying cry of the environmental movement. Kermit has used his celebrity to spread positive messages in public service announcements for the National Wildlife Federation, National Park Service, the Better World Society, and others."[36]

The Philosophy Faculty at Cambridge courted controversy among the academic community in March 1992, when three of its members posed a temporary veto against the awarding of an honorary doctorate to Jacques Derrida;[37] they and other non-Cambridge proponents of analytic philosophy protested against the granting on the grounds that Derrida's work "did not conform with accepted measures of academic rigor." Although the University eventually passed the motion, the episode did more to draw attention to the continuing antipathy between the analytic (of which Cambridge's faculty is a leading exponent) and the post-Hegelian continental philosophical traditions (with which Derrida's work is more closely associated).

In 2007, protesters demanded that the University of Edinburgh revoke an honorary degree awarded to Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe in 1984. The University subsequently revealed plans to review its honorary degree policy and strip certain figures of their honorary degrees who did not deserve them. When considering revoking the honorary degree of a political figure, such reasons as human rights abuse or political corruption would be considered. As a result, it was announced that Mugabe had been stripped of his honorary degree. The University also planned to have a more rigorous selection procedure regarding potential recipients of honorary degrees, in an attempt to rectify the trend of awarding degrees to celebrities.[38] Students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst also asked the university to revoke the honorary degree that was awarded to Mugabe over twenty years ago, and on June 12, 2008 the trustees unanimously rescinded Robert Mugabe's honorary degree.[39][40] Michigan State University has also rescinded its honorary degree.[41]

In April 2009, Arizona State University's President Michael M. Crow refused to give an honorary degree to US President Barack Obama for his lack of adequate qualifying achievements thus far.[42] Also, controversy[43] was ignited about Notre Dame awarding Obama an honorary degree, as the institution is Roman Catholic and Obama holds pro-choice views on abortion and supports embryonic stem cell research.[44]

In February 2012, Rosmah Mansor, the wife of the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak was controversially awarded an honorary doctorate by the Curtin University for "services to childhood education".[45] The university honored Rosmah for founding and driving the Permata early childhood centres in Malaysia although some alumni and students contended that the government-funded centres are "an abuse of taxpayers' money."[46]

Over 50 Honorary degrees awarded to Bill Cosby have been rescinded due to allegations and convictions of sexual assault.

Use of title associated with honorary doctorates

By convention, recipients of honorary doctorates do not use the title "Dr" in general correspondence, although in formal correspondence from the university issuing the honorary degree it is normal to address the recipient by the title.[47][48] However, this social convention is not always scrupulously observed.[28] Notable people who have used the honorary prefix include:

See also


  1. ^ Although the spelling honorary is correct in all instances, the term for such an award is spelled honor in American English and honour in British English; see spelling differences.
  2. ^ "The Honorary Degree". honorarydegrees.wvu.edu. Archived from the original on 30 March 2015.
  3. ^ "Honorary Degrees: A Short History". Brandeis University.
  4. ^ "Honorary Degrees".
  5. ^ McNeilage, Amy (4–5 October 2014). "Ian Thorpe now Dr Thorpedo, man of letters". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 31. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  6. ^ "Honorary Doctorate Guidelines". University of Southern Queensland. 2012. Archived from the original on 25 July 2017.
  7. ^ TMP/ENR // Marketing Communications: Web // University of Notre Dame. "Honorary Degrees". Father Hesburgh.
  8. ^ a b c Buxton, L. H. Dudley and Gibson, Strickland, Oxford University Ceremonies, Oxford University Press (1935)
  9. ^ "Woodville, Lionel, bishop of Salisbury". oxforddnb.com.
  10. ^ "What are Honorary Doctorate Degrees?". education-portal.com.
  11. ^ "Doctorates a dime a dozen?". archives.dailynews.lk. 11 November 2008.
  12. ^ "Doctorates of the University". universidadazteca.net.
  13. ^ "Archbishop of Canterbury awards Lambeth Degrees". rowanwilliams.archbishopofcanterbury.org. 16 October 2012.
  14. ^ "Oxford Brooks University Regulations" (PDF). Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  15. ^ University of Cambridge. "Statutes and Ordinances II.6: Status of Master of Arts". Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  16. ^ "Master in Arts (jure officii) form" (PDF). University of Dublin. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  17. ^ a b c "No honorary degrees is an MIT tradition going back to ... Thomas Jefferson". MIT News Office. 8 June 2001. Retrieved 7 May 2006.:"MIT's founder, William Barton Rogers, regarded the practice of giving honorary degrees as 'literary almsgiving ... of spurious merit and noisy popularity...' Rogers was a geologist from the University of Virginia who believed in Thomas Jefferson's policy barring honorary degrees at the university, which was founded in 1819."
  18. ^ Dear Uncle Ezra, Cornell University. "Dear Uncle Ezra – Questions for Thursday, May 15, 2003 – Cornell University". Ezra.cornell.edu. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  19. ^ "Stanford Bulletin: Conferral of Degrees". Registrar.stanford.edu. Archived from the original on 28 December 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  20. ^ "Stanford Bulletin 2008/2009: Conferral of Degrees". Stanford.edu. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  21. ^ "The Rice Thresher Online | NEWS | Cosby to speak at '02 graduation". Rice.edu. 11 May 2002. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  22. ^ a b Rector and Visitors of The University of Virginia (1995). "Chapter 4: University Regulations: Honorary Degrees". Rector and Visitors of The University of Virginia. Archived from the original on 31 August 2006. Retrieved 7 May 2006. "The University of Virginia does not award honorary degrees. In conjunction with the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, the University presents the Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture and the Thomas Jefferson Award in Law each spring. The awards, recognizing excellence in two fields of interest to Jefferson, constitute the University's highest recognition of scholars outside the University."
  23. ^ Andrews, Elizabeth; Murphy, Nora; Rosko, Tom. "William Barton Rogers: MIT's Visionary Founder". Exhibits: Institute Archives & Special Collections: MIT Libraries. Retrieved 16 May 2008.
  24. ^ "U.Va. To Bestow Annual Thomas Jefferson Medals For Architecture And Law". University of Virginia News. Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. 3 April 2001. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  25. ^ "Stanford University — Degree of Uncommon Man and Uncommon Woman Award". Stanfordalumni.org. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  26. ^ "UCLA Policy 140: Awarding of the UCLA Medal". Adminpolicies.ucla.edu. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  27. ^ "Honorees of the Alumni Association". St. John's College. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  28. ^ a b Mannheim, Markus (19 November 2014). "Universities tell Finance Department head Jane Halton to stop calling herself 'professor'". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  29. ^ "Yale Boycott". Washingtonpost.com. 22 May 2001. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  30. ^ "UMass faculty, students boo Card". The Boston Globe. 26 May 2007. Archived from the original on 28 May 2007. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  31. ^ BBC News "On this day archive" 29 January 1985 Thatcher snubbed by Oxford dons, BBC News. Retrieved April 9, 2007.
  32. ^ Martin, Sandra (29 May 2013). "Abortion rights crusader Henry Morgentaler, revered and hated, dead at 90". The Globe and Mail (obituary). Toronto. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  33. ^ "Abortion access has helped make society safer: Morgentaler". CBC. 16 June 2005. Archived from the original on 1 February 2008. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  34. ^ Perusse, Bernard (28 October 2004). "A Doctor's Advice". Montreal Gazette. JoniMitchell.com. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  35. ^ "Southampton College News: Kermit's Commencement Address at Southampton College". Southampton.liu.edu. Archived from the original on 30 January 2008. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  36. ^ "Kermit the Frog named 1996 Commencement Speaker at Southampton College". southampton.liunet.edu. Retrieved 10 June 2008.
  37. ^ Wheen, Francis (2006). How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World. HarperCollins. p. 77. ISBN 0-00-714097-5.
  38. ^ MacLeod, Murdo (14 January 2007). "Degree of anger at roll of dishonour". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  39. ^ Vaznis, James (6 April 2007). "UMass students aim to revoke honorary degree for Mugabe". The Boston Globe.
  40. ^ Contact:Robert P. Connolly617-287-7073 (12 June 2008). "UMass Mugabe". Umass.edu. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  41. ^ "Things you may not know about Robert Mugabe". Sowetan Live. 2 April 2014. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  42. ^ "Obama turns controversy into jokes, lesson at commencement". CNN. 14 May 2009. Retrieved 16 May 2009.
  43. ^ controversy, How the Gold Dome Tarnished, TFP Student Action, 05-21-09.
  44. ^ Storin, Matthew V. (17 May 2009). "Church and state; Obama and Notre Dame". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 17 May 2009.
  45. ^ "Honorary doctorate to Najib Razak's wife creates controversy". The Australian. 22 February 2012.
  46. ^ "Students protest over Malaysia doctorate".
  47. ^ "The Honorary Degree". West Virginia University. Archived from the original on 30 March 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2015. [H]onorary degree recipients should not refer to themselves as "Doctor", nor should they use the title on business cards or in correspondence. However, the recipient is entitled to use the appropriate honorary abbreviation behind his or her name
  48. ^ "How to Address Those With Honorary Degrees". Protocol School of Washington. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  49. ^ Gillespie, Marcia Ann, Rosa Johnson Butler, and Richard A. Long. (2008). Maya Angelou: A Glorious Celebration. New York: Random House. ISBN 978-0-385-51108-7
  50. ^ https://www.facebook.com/emily.yahr. "Farewell to 'Cheating Death with Dr. Stephen Colbert,' one of late-night's funniest bits". Washington Post.
  51. ^ Honorary degree recipients Archived 5 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine on the Special Collections Research Center Wiki
  52. ^ "Abogado de García: Ex presidente obtuvo doctorado de forma "no convencional"". América Noticias.
  53. ^ "Dr. Billy Graham trying to avoid offending Soviets", UPI story in Minden Press-Herald, May 10, 1982, p. 1
  54. ^ Gibbs, Nancy; Richard N. Ostling (15 November 1993). "God's Billy Pulpit". Time. Archived from the original on 7 December 2007. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  55. ^ "About Samuel Johnson". thesamueljohnsonprize.co.uk.
  56. ^ "Dr. Johnson". britannica.com.
  57. ^ "Brute Johnson: A Critical Look at the Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson, L.L.D." hamiltoninstitute.com. 12 August 2008.
  58. ^ Bonanos, Christopher (2012). Instant: The Story of Polaroid, Princeton Architectural Press, p.13. ISBN 978-1616890858
  59. ^ "Richard Stallman given first honorary doctorate by a North American university". Youtube.com. 30 May 2009. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
  60. ^ "Richard Stallman responding to an email list using "Dr. Richard Stallman"". Lists.gnu.org. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
  61. ^ "At 1:22 introduced as "Dr. Stallman"". Youtube.com. 13 September 2011. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
Anne Cox Chambers

Anne Beau Cox Chambers (born December 1, 1919) is an American media proprietor, who had a stake of interest in Cox Enterprises, a privately held media empire that includes newspapers, television, radio, cable television, and other businesses.She is the daughter of James M. Cox, a newspaper publisher and 1920 Democratic Presidential nominee, and his second wife, Margaretta Parker Blair. She owns and controls her father's business interests, through Cox Enterprises. For 33 years she co-owned the family company with her sister, Barbara Cox Anthony, who died on May 28, 2007. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Her net worth was estimated by Forbes at $16.1 billion in September 2014, based principally on her equity interest in Cox Enterprises. She is the wealthiest person in Georgia, the 28th-richest person in the United States and 53rd-richest person in the world.

Baruj Benacerraf

Baruj Benacerraf (; October 29, 1920 – August 2, 2011) was a Venezuelan-American immunologist, who shared the 1980 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the "discovery of the major histocompatibility complex genes which encode cell surface protein molecules important for the immune system's distinction between self and non-self." His colleagues and shared recipients were Jean Dausset and George Davis Snell.

Beverley McLachlin

Beverley Marian McLachlin, CStJ (born September 7, 1943) is a Canadian jurist and author who served as the 17th Chief Justice of Canada from 2000 to 2017, the first woman to hold that position and the longest serving Chief Justice in Canadian history. In her role as Chief Justice, she also simultaneously served as a Deputy of the Governor General of Canada.

McLachlin retired December 15, 2017, nine months before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75. Her successor as Chief Justice of Canada is Richard Wagner, who was nominated by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2017. Her successor as a Justice of the Court is Sheilah Martin, who was nominated by the Prime Minister through a new process for judicial appointments to the Supreme Court of Canada that permitted "any Canadian lawyer or judge who fits a specified criteria" to apply.In March 2018, McLachlin was nominated to become a non-permanent judge on the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal, the first Canadian jurist nominated to the post. The appointment was gazetted and came into effect July 30, 2018, for a three-year term.

Bill Cosby

William Henry Cosby Jr. (; born July 12, 1937) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, musician, and author who held an active career for over six decades before being convicted of sex offenses in 2018.

Cosby began his career as a stand-up comic at the hungry i in San Francisco during the 1960s. He then landed a starring role in the television show I Spy, followed by his own sitcom The Bill Cosby Show, which ran for two seasons from 1969 to 1971. In 1972, using the Fat Albert character developed during his stand-up routines, Cosby created, produced, and hosted the animated comedy television series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids which ran until 1985, centering on a group of young friends growing up in an urban area. Throughout the 1970s, Cosby starred in about a half-dozen films, and occasionally returned to film later in his career. In 1976, he earned his Doctor of Education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His dissertation discussed the use of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids as a teaching tool in elementary schools.

Beginning in the 1980s, Cosby produced and starred in the television sitcom The Cosby Show, which aired from 1984 to 1992 and was rated as the number one show in America for 1985 through 1989. The sitcom highlighted the experiences and growth of an affluent African-American family. Cosby produced the spin-off sitcom A Different World, which aired from 1987 to 1993. He also starred in The Cosby Mysteries from 1994 to 1995 and in the sitcom Cosby from 1996 to 2000, and hosted Kids Say the Darndest Things from 1998 to 2000.

Cosby's reputation was damaged in the mid-2010s by numerous sexual assault accusations, the earliest of which date back decades. More than 60 women have accused him of either attempted assault, rape, drug-facilitated sexual assault, sexual battery, child sexual abuse, and sexual misconduct, allegations he denies, for which the statute of limitations had by then expired in nearly all cases. After a year-long trial, Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault and sentenced to three to ten years in prison in September 2018.

Charlie Rose

Charles Peete Rose Jr. (born January 5, 1942) is an American television journalist and former talk show host. From 1991 to 2017, he was the host and executive producer of the talk show Charlie Rose on PBS and Bloomberg LP.

Rose also co-anchored CBS This Morning from 2012 to 2017. Rose formerly substituted for the anchor of the CBS Evening News. Rose, along with Lara Logan, hosted the revived CBS classic Person to Person, a news program during which celebrities are interviewed in their homes, originally hosted from 1953 to 1961 by Edward R. Murrow.In November 2017, Rose's employment at CBS was terminated, and his eponymous show Charlie Rose on PBS was cancelled the day after The Washington Post published in-house allegations of sexual harassment.

Doctor of Fine Arts

Doctor of Fine Arts (D.F.A.) is doctoral degree in fine arts, may be given as an honorary degree (a degree honoris causa) or an earned professional degree (in the UK).

Doctor of Humane Letters

The degree of Doctor of Humane Letters (Latin: Litterarum humanarum doctor; D.H.L.; or L.H.D.) is almost always conferred as an honorary degree, usually to those students who have distinguished themselves in areas other than science, government, literature or religion, which are awarded degrees of Doctor of Science, Doctor of Law, Doctor of Letters, or Doctor of Divinity, respectively.

Doctor of Humane Letters degrees should not be confused with earned academic degrees awarded on the basis of research, such as Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Science or Doctor of Theology, nor earned professional doctorates such as Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, Juris Doctor, Doctor of Optometry etc.

Doctor of Letters

Doctor of Letters (D.Litt., Litt.D., D. Lit., or Lit. D.; Latin Litterarum Doctor or Doctor Litterarum) is an academic degree, a higher doctorate which, in some countries, may be considered to be equal to the Ph.D. and equal to the Doctor of Science (Sc.D. or D.Sc.). It is awarded in many countries by universities and learned bodies in recognition of achievement in the humanities, original contribution to the creative arts or scholarship and other merits. In some countries it also regarded as the highest degree of education. When awarded without an application by the conferee, it is awarded as an honorary degree.

Fumihito, Prince Akishino

Fumihito, Prince Akishino (秋篠宮文仁親王, Akishino-no-miya Fumihito Shinnō, born 30 November 1965) is a member of the Japanese imperial family. He is the younger son of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko and currently second in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne after his elder brother Crown Prince Naruhito.

Since his marriage in June 1990, he has held the title of Akishino-no-miya (generally translated into English as Prince Akishino) and headed his own branch of the imperial family.

Hasselmann Painter

The Hasselmann Painter was an ancient Greek, red-figure, vase painter. He worked in the mid-5th century BC.

The Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology holds an important vase by the Hasselmann Painter showing a nude youth on horseback, purchased to mark the award of an honorary degree of D.Litt. to Sir John Beazley.The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum has a pelike showing two figures in conversation, the gift of Robert Brookings and Charles Parsons, 1904.

List of Hofstra University honorary degree recipients

This is a list of honorary degree recipients from Hofstra University in New York.

Rand Araskog (honorary doctorate, 1990), CEO of ITT Corporation, 1990

Jan Peter Balkenende ( 2011), former Prime Minister of the Netherlands

Joseph Bologna (2002), actor.

Tom Brokaw (1985), anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw

Barbara Bush (1997), former First Lady of the United States

George H. W. Bush (1997), 41st President of the United States

Clifford Chapin (2010), voice actor affiliated with Funimation

Kenneth I. Chenault (2007), chairman and CEO, American Express Company

Bill Clinton (2005), 42nd President of the United States

Elizabeth Coleman, ninth president of Bennington College

Nelson DeMille (was also awarded Doctor of Humane Letters), Hofstra alumni 1970

Brian Dennehy (2003)

E.L. Doctorow (2004), prominent author, Ragtime

Dwight D. Eisenhower (honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, 1950), former five-star general; 34th President of the United States (1953–1961); Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe during the Second World War

Gerald R. Ford (1981), 38th President of the United States

Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board

Helen Hayes (1990), nicknamed "First Lady of the American Theater" because she was one of nine people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award

Alfred Heineken (1996), former president of the brewing company Heineken International

Billy Joel (1997), musician, rock star

Robert Wood Johnson IV, Chairman and CEO of the Johnson Company; owner of the New York Jets

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1965), civil rights leader

Cy Leslie (1974), record industry executive

Jeffrey Lyons (2000), NBC film and theater critic

Harold W. McGraw Jr., Chairman Emeritus, McGraw Hill Companies, Inc.

John Money(honorary doctorate of Humane Letters, 1992), sexologist

Robert Moses (1948), "master builder" of the 20th century

David Neeleman (2007), founder of JetBlue Airways

LeRoy Neiman (honorary Doctor of Arts degree, 1998), artist

Bernadette Peters (2002), actress, singer

Cokie Roberts (2003), journalist

Jihan Sadat (1987, from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences), wife of Anwar el-Sadat, the assassinated President of Egypt

Neil Simon (1981), playwright/screenwriter

William L. Swing, Director General of the International Organization for Migration; former diplomat and United States Ambassador; United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Under Secretary General

Margaret Thatcher (2000), former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Paul A. Volcker (1987, from the School of Business), chairman of the Federal Reserve Board

Barbara Walters (1986), journalist, writer and media personality

James D. Watson (1976), molecular biologist; co-discoverer of the structure of the DNA molecule; winner of Nobel prize

Frank Zarb (honorary Doctor of Law degree), Hofstra alumni, BBA 1957, MBA 1962

List of New York University honorary degree recipients

Honorary degree recipients of NYU are typically persons of great distinction or achievement who are nationally or internationally prominent in their subject areas or disciplines and who reflect the values of New York University. As a whole, the group of honorees vary in their fields of endeavor, and are diverse in ethnicity, race, background, and gender.

Among some of the distinguished recipients honored in recent years at Commencement are the following:

Aretha Franklin (Hall of Fame artist)

Robert Rubin, 70th United States Secretary of the Treasury

Claire Marie Fraser (Genomicist)

Dylan Tilley (Exogeologist, Mineralogist)

Lang Lang, internationally renowned pianist

Omara Khan Massoudi, Afghan Museum Director and Preserver of Cultural Patrimony

Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court

Oliver Stone, Film Director and NYU Tisch Alum

David Brooks, columnist for The New York Times

Patrick Desbois, President, Yahad-In Unum

Charles Weissmann, Professor and Chairman, Department of Infectology, The Scripps Research Institute

Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve System Chair

Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation.

Emmanuelle Charpentier, scientist whose research led to some of the most important tools for genome “editing”, and Scientific Member and Director of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, and Visiting Professor at Umeå University.

Billy Crystal, comedian, actor, producer, writer, director, and 1970 alumnus of the Tisch School of the Arts.

John Lewis, courageous leader of the U.S. civil rights movement and a Member of Congress since 1986.

Margaret Marshall, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts and the first woman to hold that position, wrote the first high court opinion in the U.S. permitting same-sex marriage.

Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States.

Justin Trudeau, 23rd Prime Minister of Canada

List of University of Florida honorary degree recipients

This list of University of Florida honorary degree recipients includes those persons who have been recognized by the University of Florida for outstanding achievements in their fields that reflect the ideals and uphold the purposes of the university, and to whom the university faculty has voted to award honorary degrees in recognition of such attainments. Often, but not always, the honorary degree recipients have been alumni of the university, or have had ties to either the university or the state of Florida.

The modern University of Florida was established in 1905, when the Florida Legislature passed the Buckman Act which consolidated four pre-existing state-sponsored institutions of higher learning into a single state university for men. After operating on the former campus of the Florida Agricultural College in Lake City during the 1905–06 academic year, the university moved to its present campus in Gainesville when the first academic and dormitory buildings were completed in September 1906. The university traces its historical roots to the 1853 founding of the East Florida Seminary in Ocala, the oldest of its four predecessor institutions.

The University of Florida awarded its first honorary degree in 1909 to Andrew Sledd, in recognition of his four years of service as the founding president of the modern University of Florida. The first woman to whom the university awarded an honorary degree was prominent Florida author and novelist Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings in 1941.

Robert Fisk

Robert Fisk (born 12 July 1946) is an English writer and journalist. He has been Middle East correspondent intermittently since 1976 for various media; since 1989 he has been correspondent for The Independent, primarily based in Beirut. Fisk holds numerous British and international journalism awards, including the Press Awards Foreign Reporter of the Year seven times. He has published a number of books and reported on several wars and armed conflicts.

An Arabic speaker, he was among the few Western journalists to interview Osama bin Laden, which he did on three occasions between 1993 and 1997.

Timothy Shriver

Timothy Perry Shriver (born August 29, 1959) is Chairman of Special Olympics.

Title of honor

A title of honor or honorary title is a title bestowed upon individuals or organizations as an award in recognition of their merits.

Sometimes the title bears the same or nearly the same name as a title of authority, but the person bestowed does not have to carry out any duties, possibly except for ceremonial ones. In some cases, the title is bestowed posthumously.

Some examples of honorary titles from various areas are:

Academician – Honorary title (academic)

Colonel (title)

Fellow of an academic, artistic, or professional society

Freeman of the City of London

Hero of the Russian Federation

Honorary degree or position, such as honorary Professor

Knight, Dame, or Companion of an honorific order

New Knowledge Worker of Korea

People's Artist

Honorary counselors (neuvos) in Finland, such as valtioneuvos (Counselor of State) and vuorineuvos (Counselor of Mining)Some historical honorary titles may be bought, just like certain nobility titles. This has long been a matter of fraud, both outright and indirect.

Some honorary titles serve as positions of sinecure and honorary retirement.

Twyla Tharp

Twyla Tharp (; born July 1, 1941) is an American dancer, choreographer, and author who lives and works in New York City. In 1966, she formed her own company Twyla Tharp Dance. Her work often uses classical music, jazz, and contemporary pop music.

From 1971 to 1988, Twyla Tharp Dance toured extensively around the world, performing original works. In 1973, Tharp choreographed Deuce Coupe to the music of The Beach Boys for the Joffrey Ballet. Deuce Coupe is considered to be the first crossover ballet. Later she choreographed Push Comes to Shove (1976), which featured Mikhail Baryshnikov and is now thought to be the best example of the crossover ballet.

In 1988, Twyla Tharp Dance merged with American Ballet Theatre, since which time ABT has held the world premieres of 16 of Tharp's works.

On May 24, 2018, she was awarded the Doctor of Arts degree by Harvard University.

William B. Hartsfield

William Berry Hartsfield, Sr. (March 1, 1890 – February 92, 1971), was an American politician who served as the 49th and 51st Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia. His tenure extended from 1937 to 1941 and again from 1942 to 1962, making him the longest-serving mayor of his native Atlanta, Georgia.

Hartsfield is credited with developing Atlanta's airport into a national aviation center and ensuring a good water supply with the completion of the Buford Dam. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is named in Hartsfield's honor as well as a later mayor, Maynard Jackson, who led the modernization of the airport in the 1970s.

Hartsfield was responsible for fostering Atlanta's image as "the city too busy to hate" during the civil rights struggles of the 1950s. In 1957, he won election to his last term as mayor by defeating the staunch segregationist and future Governor Lester Maddox.

Willie B., a gorilla that became a popular attraction at Zoo Atlanta for decades, was named for Hartsfield.

Hartsfield received an honorary degree in Doctor of Laws from Oglethorpe University in 1961.

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People, titles, and styles
Ceremonies, and events
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