Honorary degree

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Not to be confused with honours degree or honorary title (academic). Honorary degree_sentence_0

An honorary degree is an academic degree for which a university (or other degree-awarding institution) has waived all of the usual requirements, such as matriculation, attendance, course credits, a dissertation, and the passing of comprehensive examinations. Honorary degree_sentence_1

It is also known by the Latin phrases honoris causa ("for the sake of the honour") or ad honorem ("to the honour"). Honorary degree_sentence_2

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 or no previous postsecondary education. Honorary degree_sentence_3

An example of identifying a recipient of this award is as follows: Doctorate in Business Administration (Hon. Causa). Honorary degree_sentence_4

The degree is often conferred as a way of honouring a distinguished visitor's contributions to a specific field or to society in general. Honorary degree_sentence_5

It is sometimes recommended that such degrees be listed in one's curriculum vitae (CV) as an award, and not in the education section. Honorary degree_sentence_6

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" 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. Honorary degree_sentence_7

Rev. Honorary degree_sentence_8

Theodore Hesburgh held the record for most honorary degrees, having been awarded 150 during his lifetime. Honorary degree_sentence_9

Historical origins Honorary degree_section_0

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. Honorary degree_sentence_10

The earliest honorary degree on record was awarded to Lionel Woodville in the late 1470s by the University of Oxford. Honorary degree_sentence_11

He later became Bishop of Salisbury. Honorary degree_sentence_12

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. Honorary degree_sentence_13

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). Honorary degree_sentence_14

Modern practice Honorary degree_section_1

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. Honorary degree_sentence_15

Generally, universities nominate several persons each year for honorary degrees; these nominees usually go through several committees before receiving approval. Honorary degree_sentence_16

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. Honorary degree_sentence_17

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. Honorary degree_sentence_18

Recipients of honorary degrees typically wear the same academic dress as recipients of substantive degrees, although there are a few exceptions: honorary graduates 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. Honorary degree_sentence_19

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. Honorary degree_sentence_20

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. Honorary degree_sentence_21

The "dissertation et jure dignitatis" is considered to be a full academic degree. Honorary degree_sentence_22

See below. Honorary degree_sentence_23

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. Honorary degree_sentence_24

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. Honorary degree_sentence_25

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. Honorary degree_sentence_26

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. Honorary degree_sentence_27

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. Honorary degree_sentence_28

The Archbishop of Canterbury has the authority to award degrees. Honorary degree_sentence_29

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. Honorary degree_sentence_30

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. Honorary degree_sentence_31

Some institutes of higher education do not confer honorary degrees as a matter of policy—see below. Honorary degree_sentence_32

Some learned societies award honorary fellowships in the same way as honorary degrees are awarded by universities, for similar reasons. Honorary degree_sentence_33

Practical use Honorary degree_section_2

A typical example of university regulations is, "Honorary graduates may use the approved post-nominal letters. Honorary degree_sentence_34

It is not customary, however, for recipients of an honorary doctorate to adopt the prefix 'Dr.'" Honorary degree_sentence_35

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. Honorary degree_sentence_36

Written communications where an honorary doctorate has been awarded may include the letters "h.c." after the award to indicate that status. Honorary degree_sentence_37

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. Honorary degree_sentence_38

In some countries, a person who holds an honorary doctorate may use the title "Doctor" prenominally, abbreviated "Dr.h.c." Honorary degree_sentence_39

or "Dr.(h.c.)". Honorary degree_sentence_40

Sometimes, they use "Hon" before the degree letters, for example, "Hon DMus". Honorary degree_sentence_41

In recent years, some universities have adopted entirely separate postnominal titles for honorary degrees. Honorary degree_sentence_42

This is in part due to the confusion that honorary degrees have caused. Honorary degree_sentence_43

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. Honorary degree_sentence_44

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. Honorary degree_sentence_45

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. Honorary degree_sentence_46

American universities do not have the system of "higher doctorates" used in the UK and some other universities around the world. Honorary degree_sentence_47

Customary degrees (ad eundem or jure officii degrees) Honorary degree_section_3

See also: List of honorary degrees Honorary degree_sentence_48

Institutions not awarding honorary degrees Honorary degree_section_4

Some US universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cornell University, Stanford University, and Rice University, do not award honorary degrees as a matter of policy. Honorary degree_sentence_49

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. Honorary degree_sentence_50

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. Honorary degree_sentence_51

The University of Virginia does annually award Thomas Jefferson Medals in Architecture and in Law, as the highest honors accorded by that institution. Honorary degree_sentence_52

The Stanford Alumni Association occasionally awards the Degree of Uncommon Man/Woman to individuals who have given "rare and exceptional service" to the university. Honorary degree_sentence_53

Though UCLA has imposed a moratorium on awarding honorary degrees, it honors notable people with the UCLA Medal instead. Honorary degree_sentence_54

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. Honorary degree_sentence_55

Controversy Honorary degree_section_5

Some universities and colleges have been accused of granting honorary degrees in exchange for large donations. Honorary degree_sentence_56

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. Honorary degree_sentence_57

It can be similarly misleading when respected individuals are referred to as "Professor", especially in a university or government context. Honorary degree_sentence_58

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. Honorary degree_sentence_59

This award had previously been given to all prime ministers who had been educated at Oxford. Honorary degree_sentence_60

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; 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." Honorary degree_sentence_61

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). Honorary degree_sentence_62

In 1996, Southampton College at Long Island University (now a campus of Stony Brook University) awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Amphibious Letters to Muppet Kermit the Frog. Honorary degree_sentence_63

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. Honorary degree_sentence_64

The degree was conferred in recognition of efforts in the area of environmentalism. Honorary degree_sentence_65

Said the university: "His theme song, 'It's Not Easy Bein' Green,' has become a rallying cry of the environmental movement. Honorary degree_sentence_66

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." Honorary degree_sentence_67

The awarding of an honorary degree to political figures can prompt protests from faculty or students. Honorary degree_sentence_68

In 2001, George W. Bush received an honorary degree from Yale University, where he had earned his bachelor's degree in history in 1968. Honorary degree_sentence_69

Some students and faculty chose to boycott the university's 300th commencement. Honorary degree_sentence_70

Andrew Card, who served as Bush's Chief of Staff from 2001 to 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. Honorary degree_sentence_71

Few people object when an honorary degree is awarded in a field that the awardee is noted for. Honorary degree_sentence_72

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. Honorary degree_sentence_73

In 2005 at the University of Western Ontario, Dr. Henry Morgentaler, a gynecologist involved in a legal case decriminalizing abortion in Canada (R. Honorary degree_sentence_74 v. Morgentaler), was made an honorary Doctor of Laws. Honorary degree_sentence_75

Over 12,000 signatures were acquired asking the UWO to reverse its decision to honor Dr. Morgentaler. Honorary degree_sentence_76

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). Honorary degree_sentence_77

In 2007, protesters demanded that the University of Edinburgh revoke an honorary degree awarded to Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe in 1984. Honorary degree_sentence_78

The University subsequently revealed plans to review its honorary degree policy and strip certain figures of their honorary degrees who did not deserve them. Honorary degree_sentence_79

When considering revoking the honorary degree of a political figure, such reasons as human rights abuse or political corruption would be considered. Honorary degree_sentence_80

As a result, it was announced that Mugabe had been stripped of his honorary degree. Honorary degree_sentence_81

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. Honorary degree_sentence_82

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 12 June 2008 the trustees unanimously rescinded Robert Mugabe's honorary degree. Honorary degree_sentence_83

Michigan State University has also rescinded its honorary degree. Honorary degree_sentence_84

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. Honorary degree_sentence_85

Also, controversy 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. Honorary degree_sentence_86

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". Honorary degree_sentence_87

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." Honorary degree_sentence_88

Over 50 Honorary degrees awarded to Bill Cosby have been rescinded due to allegations and convictions of sexual assault. Honorary degree_sentence_89

Use of title associated with honorary doctorates Honorary degree_section_6

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. Honorary degree_sentence_90

However, this social convention is not always scrupulously observed. Honorary degree_sentence_91

Notable people who have used the honorary prefix include: Honorary degree_sentence_92

Honorary degree_unordered_list_0

See also Honorary degree_section_7

Honorary degree_unordered_list_1

Explanatory notes Honorary degree_section_8

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honorary degree.