Nominations for Honorary Degrees

The Senate Committee on University Honours (SCUH) invites members of the community to nominate persons meriting the award of an honorary degree. Honorary degrees are awarded at the June and October convocations.

An honorary degree is the highest honour conferred by the university. Honorary degrees are awarded to distinguished individuals, in recognition of their scholarly, scientific, or artistic achievement, or in recognition of exceptional contribution to the public good, through professional or philanthropic activity. Honorary degree recipients' achievements celebrate what the university values, and serve as an inspiration and role model to our students, graduates and our community.

Simon Fraser University confers the following honorary degrees, honoris causa:

  • D.Litt. (Letters) for outstanding achievement in literature
  • D.Sc. (Science) for outstanding achievement in science, engineering, computing, medicine
  • D.F.A. (Fine Arts) for outstanding achievement in the fine and performing arts
  • LL.D. (Laws) for outstanding achievement in other areas

    The Senate Committee on University Honours will make recommendations to Senate regarding both the names of individuals to be honoured and the degree to be awarded in each instance.

Nomination Packages

All nominations must be submitted in writing and normally include the following:

  1.  A nomination form completed by the nominator;
  2. A letter of nomination (maximum 2 pages) addressing the following:
    1. How the nominee personfies the University's core values (please see: SFU Vallues and Commitments);
    2. What the nominee's connection to SFU is;
    3. Why the nominee's achievements are truly outstanding;
    4. In what way society has benefitted by this nominee's contribution;
    5. What, if any, is your connection to the nominee;
  3. A current curriculum vitae or equivalent, including the nominee's current contact information and email address;
  4. Links to online information, or other attachments such as, news articles, publications, etc., that would help the committee's evaluation.

Selection Guidelines

  • Nominations will be reviewed in terms of whether the nominee personifies the core values of the university and exemplifies the personal and professional characteristics to which we wish our students to aspire.
  • Nominations reflect the social and cultural diversity of Canada as well as the academic diversity of the university itself.
  • The range of achievement considered in this selection process is broad and includes such fields as research, scholarship, the arts, business and professional and voluntary service, including exceptional service or significant contribution to the university, the community, nation or the world.
  • Particular attention will be given to those who have a connection with SFU. Where this is not the case, there should be a compelling reason why SFU should bestow its highest honour on the nominee.
  • Serving Canadian politicians will not normally be considered.
  • Honorary degrees are not normally awarded posthumously or in absentia.
  • Awarding of honorary degrees will normally be limited to no more than one per convocation ceremony.

It is the task of the committee to investigate and judge nominees' relative merits and make recommendations to Senate. The following questions can guide SCUH's deliberations on assessing candidates for honorary degrees:

  • Does this nominee represent the values SFU celebrates?
  • Will this person's achievements be seen to be an inspiration to students who will graduate at convocation?
  • In what ways are this nominee's achievements or service truly outstanding?
  • In what ways has scholarship, a profession, or some significant segment of society benefited by the nominee's contributions?
  • Has this person been recognized by the field or profession in which he/she is said to excel?
  • Is it appropriate for SFU to honour this person at this time?


Nominations are reviewed by the Senate committee on University Honours in accordance with the Terms of Reference and the selection guidelines.The selection of honorary degree recipients considered by Senate requires the utmost care and confidentiality. Nominators should not discuss nominations with the nominee.

All recommendations for honorary degrees received by SCUH are held in strict confidence from the time they are received and are kept confidential in order to protect the privacy of nominees.When a recipient has been approved by Senate and has accepted the honour, the SFU community and the nominator will be informed.

Due to the need for strict confidentiality, nominators should not seek letters of support or reference. The Registrar, on behalf of the committee, will contact the nominator should it require further information. Unfortunately, not all nominations are successful in any given year. The Committee does keep nominations active for a period of three years and additional material may be added to the nomination.

Please address your nomination to:
Tom Nault
Registrar and Executive Director, Student Enrollment, and Secretary to Senate
Simon Fraser University
MBC 3106 - 8888 University Drive
Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6

Nomination packages may be submitted electronically to The deadline for submissions for Convocation 2023 has passed. The call for nominations for 2024 Honorary Degrees will go out in May 2023.

For further information, contact Tina Edmundson, Student Services 778-782-5867 or refer to the SCUH website.

For a complete list of past honorary degree recipients, please see: Past Honorary Degree Recipients.