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Policy Manual – Honorary Degrees
GOVERNANCE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS
Section 213 Honorary Degrees
Last Revised: 06/06/05
Responsible Office: Clerk of the Board
Honorary degrees are subject to approval by the Board of Trustees. Honorary degrees may be conferred by any university of the University of Maine System to persons of notable achievement in an academic field, the arts and letters, the professions, or public service. All nominees will be expected to have some connection with the State of Maine, except in the case of certain internationally and nationally known persons.
Candidates for honorary degrees may be nominated by Trustees, Chancellor, Presidents, or private citizens. Approved nominations from an institution shall be awarded as a degree from that institution. There shall also be a University of Maine System degree. Nominations for the system degree may come from Trustees, Chancellor or Presidents with the Trustees designating the institution for conferring the degree.
In developing nominations it is understood that honorary degrees shall not be conferred on faculty or staff within the University of Maine System until their employment with the institution has ended or on Trustees until five years after their retirement from the Board; nor awarded to local or state government officials during their terms of office, nor awarded posthumously or in absentia. Normally, an individual shall not receive more than one honorary degree from the University of Maine System or its Universities in a five year period. And, lastly, commencement speakers shall not be automatically nominated to receive an honorary degree, nor should nominees be contacted prior to the Board’s consideration.
Action on honorary degree nominations shall be taken at the January Board meeting.
Administrative Procedures for Honorary Degree Policy
UNIVERSITY OF MAINE SYSTEM
Administrative Procedures for Awarding Honorary Degrees
1. In August, the Clerk of the Board shall make available to each President a master list of all previous recipients of honorary degrees from the University of Maine System.
2. Each President shall initiate the process for developing nominations for honorary degrees and should establish campus-based procedures to develop a list of prospective nominees.
3. Supporting material for each nomination shall include:
a. letter of nomination;
b. all relevant biographical data;
c. description of the nominee’s connection with the State of Maine or international or national prominence.
d. rationale for the nomination.
4. The Chancellor shall submit to the Trustees, for consideration at the January meeting (one year prior to commencement), all names and supporting documentation. In extenuating circumstances, an exception to this time frame may be requested.
5. At the November Board meeting the Chancellor may submit to the Trustees names and supporting documentation to be awarded in the current year.
6. Nominees shall not be contacted prior to Board of Trustees’ endorsement.
7. Once the final list of nominees has been accepted by the Trustees, the President will make inquiries as to the interest and availability of those selected for awards. The President shall extend the invitation to the nominee for institutional awards and the Chancellor for System awards.