Honorary Degree & Commencement Speaker Nomination Process and Selection Criteria


An honorary degree is among The University of Scranton’s highest honors. For this reason, the Board of Trustees seeks assistance in identifying only the most qualified and worthy candidates, persons of distinction who will reflect credit upon the University family and serve as role models for students and alumni.

Faculty, staff, students, alumni and parents are invited to submit nominations for consideration to the Commencement Speaker & Honorary Degree Committee. The committee is a broadly representative group charged by the President with reviewing and identifying candidates for honorary degrees and commencement speakers. The Committee is advisory to the President who submits final recommendations to the Board of Trustees for consideration.

Honorary degrees are awarded at University commencement ceremonies and conferred by the President. The President, however, can approve awarding a degree outside commencement ceremonies under special circumstances.

Confidentiality is essential to the nomination process. The nominee should not be informed of his or her nomination because not all excellent candidates can be recognized, and knowledge of a failed nomination can be embarrassing and hurtful.

NOTE: Currently enrolled students and currently employed faculty and staff are not eligible to be nominated for speakers or honorary degrees.

Nominating Criteria for Honarary Degrees and Speakers

  • Individuals whose achievements and actions are consonant with the mission of The University of Scranton.
    • Mission of The University of Scranton
      The University of Scranton is a Catholic and Jesuit university animated by the spiritual vision and the tradition of excellence characteristic of the Society of Jesus and those who share its way of proceeding.  The University is a community dedicated to the freedom of inquiry and personal development fundamental to the growth in wisdom and integrity of all who share its life.
  • Individuals who are distinguished by their professional, scholarly, intellectual or creative achievement in such fields as religion, scholarship, science, medicine, the law, the arts, business and public service.
  • Individuals who promote the ideals of faith and justice in the spirit of the Gospels through service or philanthropy that manifests a commitment to the common good.
  • Speakers for undergraduate and graduate commencement ceremonies ordinarily receive an honorary degree.
  • Trustees in the active service of The University of Scranton shall ordinarily not be nominated for honorary degrees during the term of their active relationship with the University.

Nominating Timeline for Commencement 2019

  • The Commencement Speaker & Honorary Degree Committee would like to invite members of the University community to submit nominations through an online nomination form for Commencement ceremonies in 2019. In order to be considered, nominations must be submitted in full by October 19, 2018.
  • The Commencement Speaker & Honorary Degree Committee will meet as needed to review all valid nominations. The Committee will then submit nominations to the President for consideration and to make final recommendations to the Board of Trustees, who approve candidates for the degrees.

Please feel free to contact if you have any questions about this process.

2019 Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient Nomination Form