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.
All nominations must be submitted in writing and normally include the following:
- A nomination form completed by the nominator
- A letter of nomination (maximum 2 pages) addressing the following
a. the name of the nominator (s) and their relationship, if any, to the nominee;
b. description of the nominee’s achievements within their field of work, (either academic or non-academic), nationally or internationally;
c. how the nominee’s achievements celebrate SFU’s values SFU Values and Commitments and are inspirational to our community or society at large;
d. other supporting documentation such as news articles, publications and links to online information (not to exceed 10 pages);
3. A current curriculum vitae or equivalent, including the nominee's current contact information and email address;
- Nominations will be reviewed in terms of whether the nominee’s achievements, contribution, service, or leadership to the community are extraordinary and inspirational and have had a transformative impact; and
- why SFU, in particular, should confer an honorary degree on that nominee, including whether the nominee has a past, current, or potential connection to the values, teaching, research, or community service priorities of the University.
- Nominations that 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.
- those holding public office or serving in senior public service roles 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.
Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6
Nomination packages may be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org. Nominations are currently being accepted for 2024 Honorary Degrees. The deadline to submit a nomination to be considered for 2024 is Monday, September 25, 2023.
For a complete list of past honorary degree recipients, please see: Past Honorary Degree Recipients.
Policy Approved by Senate February 6, 2023
Granting Honourary Degrees Approved by Senate February 6, 2023