Honorary Doctoral Degrees

G3.05 Honorary Doctoral Degrees


Missouri State University is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in all facets of research, teaching, and public service. As the university rewards faculty, staff and students for their accomplishments, so too does it seek to recognize extraordinary achievements of distinguished citizens. It is the university’s hope that such recognition will encourage others to strive for exceptional accomplishments.


The honoree must be living at the time of selection and be present at the award ceremony. Current members of the Missouri State University staff, faculty, administration, and the Board of Governors are not eligible. Financial considerations should not be involved in the selection process. Elected officials, while holding elected office, are not eligible. Although individuals with nationwide and worldwide recognition should not be excluded, preference should be given to distinguished candidates who have not been widely recognized and honored. Even more ideally, the individual honored should have some tie to this community, state or region. Consistent with our Public Affairs mission, accomplishments of the nominee which are not associated with a paid or elected position are viewed most favorably. No more than two honorary degrees will be conferred annually. The ceremony will take place at the Spring commencement.

Committee on Honorary Doctoral Degrees

The Committee on Honorary Doctoral Degrees is to be comprised of ten members, including one faculty member from each of the six colleges that have academic departments. The Faculty Senate Chair will appoint them along with the one student member (either from the Honors College or the Graduate College). The final two members are the Dean of the Graduate College (or designee from this office), and the Provost (or designee from this office). The Faculty Senate Chair will designate the Committee Chair. All ten members can vote, and it takes at least seven votes to recommend an honoree.


The Committee on Honorary Doctoral Degrees will begin its work in September. Nomination packets must be submitted electronically as a single PDF file to the Faculty Senate office. Nominations will be accepted September 1 – November 1. Any member of the university community (past or present) can nominate: other individuals are encouraged to work with a member of the university if they would like to see a worthy candidate nominated. All nominations are to be kept confidential and are to include a summary of significant achievements of the individual being nominated. The Committee will complete its deliberations by November 30 and present its recommendation (if any) to the Faculty Senate for its December or January meeting. All communication should be held in strict confidence by all parties involved, which communication shall include the president of the university. Confidentiality will be maintained throughout the selection process up to the point at which the Committee recommendation is placed on the agenda for consideration by the Faculty Senate. Upon the approval of the Senate, the recommendation is forwarded to the president and the Board of Governors.

Types of Honorary Doctorates

  • Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.) Given to persons who have distinguished themselves in the humanities.
  • Doctor of Letters (Litt.D.) Given to scholars in particular disciplines.
  • Doctor of Public Affairs (A.P.D.) Given to persons distinguished in general service to the state, to learning and to humankind.
  • Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) Given to persons who have made distinguished contributions to the sciences.


Missouri State University may revoke the grant of an honorary degree if it determines, in its sole discretion, that the conduct of the recipient constitutes a significant departure from the university’s high standards, as exemplified by the three (3) pillars of its public affairs mission: ethical leadership, cultural competence and community engagement, and thus undermines the credibility, integrity and/or purpose of the award. The decision to revoke an honorary degree shall be made by the Board of Governors after consultation with the Faculty Senate Committee on Honorary Degrees and the president of the university.