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Policies and Procedures for Awarding PSU Honorary Degrees

Portland State University awards honorary degrees to acknowledge individuals who have achieved outstanding scholarship or artistic accomplishments or performed distinguished public service during their lifetime.

Nominees should be distinguished educators, scholars, scientists, business and community leaders, creative artists, reformers, humanitarians, public servants, or philanthropists whose accomplishments are recognized as "making a difference" to society, regionally, nationally or internationally. Their recognition is intended to honor them as individuals and also to contribute to the stature and visibility of Portland State University. Current employees and students of Portland State are not generally considered for the award of an honorary degree. (Questions about other forms of recognition for these individuals may be directed to the President's Office.)

See a listing of honorary degree recipients


Any member of the PSU community may nominate a person for an honorary degree.

The President appoints an Honorary Degree Committee to solicit and review nominations. This committee shall include the following members: Provost, PSU Foundation President/CEO, Presiding Officer of the Faculty Senate, two additional faculty members from academic units, an alumnus, the President of the Associated Students of Portland State University, a member of the Academic Leadership Team, and a member of the Faculty Senate Graduation Board.

The Committee shall screen all nominations, ask for more information, if needed, about the nominee, and investigate to their satisfaction that the nominee meets the criteria given above. The committee shall make a documented recommendation to the President. 

Positive recommendations forwarded by the Committee shall be forwarded to the PSU President for final selection. The President of the University shall formally notify the candidates and invite them to take part in the award ceremony.


  • The President will appoint the Honorary Degree Committee who will then initiate solicitation of nominations.
  • Campus nominations should be received in the Office of Academic Affairs by the deadline of October 31, 2017. Packets should include a nomination form (see below), letter of nomination, three letters of support, and a current curriculum vitae.
  • Committee-approved nominations should be forwarded to the President by the end of December.
  • The honorary degree is generally awarded at Spring Commencement.

The campus timing procedures listed above may be waived by the President in exceptional circumstances in which the University may decide to honor an individual on short notice or outside the normal time cycle of review.

Honorary Degree Nomination Form