Honorary Degrees

Honorary Degree Nomination Procedures (revised August 2019)

Grand Valley State University, as a leading public university in the State of Michigan, recognizes a particular responsibility to acknowledge and honor persons of outstanding and distinguished achievement and/or public service. The honorary doctorate is the highest academic recognition Grand Valley State University can bestow. Thus, all nominees for the honorary degree must have demonstrated the highest levels of excellence as scholars, artists, or professionals. Equally high expectation is placed on their concern and impact for the sake of the public good. In recognizing such persons, the university identifies those who can serve as role models for students, faculty, staff and alumni of Grand Valley State University. The number and frequency of such awards should reflect their distinctive character.

Grand Valley State University has developed a tradition of conferring such degrees during regular commencement exercises and at special convocations called by the President. The degree, however, cannot be conferred in absentia, unless there are unforeseen circumstances.

Process for nomination

The Provost convenes the Honorary Degree Committee to create a process for gathering nominations of potential candidates and narrowing down these nominations for recommendation to the President. After consideration of the pool of candidates, the President will present candidates to the Board of Trustees.

The Honorary Degree Committee seeks your input for nominees. The committee will consider leaders and innovators in their field. An honorary degree confers distinguished individuals with recognition for their outstanding contributions to academics and community that furthers the university's mission, vision, values, and goals. Commencement speakers are chosen for these contributions and their ability to inspire, motivate and enlighten our graduates. The achieved education level of an honorary degree recipient need not correspond to the honorary degree. Nominations will be kept on file for future consideration. Please note that current GVSU employees will not be considered.

The Honorary Degree Committee consist of the following:

Permanent Members
Associate/Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, Chair
Vice President for University Development or designee
Secretary to the Board of Trustees

Members with three-year staggered terms
(appointed by the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs)
One Academic Dean
Three faculty members (no two members from the same College)
     - 1 faculty from ECS/UAS
     - 2 faculty at-large

It is imperative that all nominations be kept confidential. Please do not inform the nominee of your nomination as a nomination will not guarantee that the nominee will receive the honor. Keeping the nominee confidential by all parties will avoid any misunderstanding. All nomination information submitted will be kept confidential.

Nomination Form

Nominations will be accepted only via online submissions or through a paper submission. To participate in the online nomination process, please click on the link below:

Honorary Degree and Commencement Speaker Nomination Form

If you prefer to mail your nomination, please send the information requested to:

Office of the Provost
c/o Chair of Honorary Degree Committee, Grand Valley State University, 1 Campus Drive, 3090 JHZ, Allendale, MI 49401

Honorary Degree Recipients