Missouri State University is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in all facets of research, teaching and service. As such, the University seeks to recognize distinguished citizens by awarding Honorary Degrees. Two distinct Honorary Degrees are given; the Honorary Doctorate Degree and the Honorary Undergraduate Degree.
The Honorary Doctorate Degree recognizes the extraordinary achievements of distinguished citizens (Faculty Senate Action 36-00/01; Bylaws of the Faculty, Sec 8 (10), lines 901 – 951). These citizens should also have a strong tie to this community, state and region. The Honorary Doctorate Degree is a prestigious and distinctive honor, and is the highest honorary award given by Missouri State University.
The Honorary Undergraduate Degree is only awarded in rare and exceptional circumstances, when it is determined by the Committee on Undergraduate Degrees that this honor is more appropriate than an Honorary Doctorate Degree. The purpose of this honor is to recognize individuals who may or may not have been admitted to, or graduated from, Missouri State University under exceptional or extraordinary conditions. For example, the first recipient of the Honorary Undergraduate Degree was denied admission to the University due to her race, not on the basis of her academic qualifications. It is anticipated that the awardees will have distinguished themselves within their community, state or region.
An individual may or may not have been admitted to, or graduated from, Missouri State University due to exceptional or extraordinary conditions. The honoree must be living at the time of selection. Current members of the MSU staff, faculty, administration, and Board of Governors, as well as elected officials while holding elected office, are not eligible. Financial considerations should not be involved in the selection process.
Nominators should carefully consider whether an individual would be better served by being considered for an Honorary Doctorate Degree; a much more prestigious and distinctive honor. The nomination cycle for Honorary Doctorate Degrees commences in August of each calendar year.
Since Honorary Undergraduate Degrees are to be awarded in only rare and exceptional circumstances, the Chair of the Faculty Senate will, upon receipt of a nomination, form a committee on Honorary Undergraduate Degrees. The composition of the committee will mirror that of the Committee on Honorary Graduate Degrees; the committee shall consist of six (6) faculty members, one from each academic college appointed by the chair of the Faculty Senate; the Provost or an appointed representative; and one student selected from either the Honors College or the Student Government Association. The Chair of the Faculty Senate may also ask the Committee on Honorary Graduate Degrees to fill this role.
Nominations may be made to the Chair of the Faculty Senate by any member of the campus community at any time during the academic year. The Committee on Honorary Undergraduate Degrees is to review nominations and select recipients for University Honorary Undergraduate Degrees according to the procedures and eligibility criteria outlined below.