University Honorary Degrees Committee

(Approved by: SJ Senate, 16 January 1992; F Senate, 11 February 1992; Board of Governors, January 30, 1992; Board of Governors 3 February 2005; F. Senate 29 March 2005, SJ Senate 30 March 2005;SJ Senate 23 March 2011, F Senate 29 March 2011; Board of Governors 14 April 2011)

The membership of the University Honorary Degrees Committee (a joint Board-Senate Committee) be:

  • President (e-o) - Chair
  • 3 Senate appointees, who normally shall be Senators, one from each Senate to be recommended by the respective Senate Nominating Committee, and one Alumni representative to be proposed by the Associated Alumni and recommended by either Senate Nominating Committee
  • 3 Board member appointees including 1 Alumni representative proposed by the Associated Alumni who shall be recommended by the Board Nominating and Review Committee
  • University Secretary (non-voting) - Secretary
  • Campus orators, Fredericton and Saint John (non-voting observers)       

Quorum: The President and at least 4 other voting members

That the terms of reference for the University Honorary Degrees Committee be:

a) to initiate, receive, review, and evaluate Honorary Degree nominations;

b) to recommend to the Board of Governors candidates for Honorary Degrees;

c) to review periodically the criteria for the awarding of Honorary Degrees, and to make recommendations to the Board and the Senates as necessary;

d) to report to both the Board and the Senates on the Committee's procedures and activities from time to time.

1. That nominations for the following year continue to be solicited in September with a customary deadline between 15 and 30 November.

2. That the communications and advertisements inviting nominations continue to include the guidelines and criteria and the information required by the Committee.

3. That any letter acknowledging nominations express the regret that because of the confidential nature of deliberations, enquiries concerning the disposition of recommendations cannot be answered, and the public announcement of awards is the only statement made.

4. That the number of awards normally be as follows: 1, or, in special circumstances 2, at each Encaenia ceremony, Fredericton;  1 or 2 at Spring Convocation, Saint John;  1 or 2 at Fall Convocation, Fredericton;  1 or 2 at Fall Convocation, Saint John.

5. That no categories of recipients be defined, but the guidelines be:

a) that, normally, recommendations should include at least one distinguished scholar for each ceremony;

b) that the nomination and recognition of people not already honoured by other institutions, or in a public manner, be encouraged;

c) that the University  normally not bestow honorary degrees on currently serving members of the Board or of the University faculty or staff, or individuals currently holding elected political office in Canada;

d) that the University normally not award honorary degrees in absentia or posthumously, although the Committee may recommend or the University may grant such an award in exceptional circumstances;

e) that those awarded the Emeritus rank from UNB not be considered since the University regards that rank as the equivalent of an honorary degree;

f) that nominations remain before the Committee for three years.

6. That the criteria continue to be as flexible as possible, and be phrased as two questions:

a) what distinction has the person achieved as an academic, scientist, artist, educator, administrator, or public servant, or in any other recognized way?

b) what significant contribution has the person made, directly or indirectly, to the betterment of the life of the University, the local community, the Province, the region, Canada, or the world?

7. That the Committee continue to be provided with a "package" of nominations and a summary sheet at least one week before meeting.

8. That the Committee determine its own procedures which at minimum will be as follows:

a) a name-by-name review of nominations ;

b) a preliminary vote (simple majority) on each name and whether or not to give that name further consideration;

c) further discussion of the "short list" in an attempt to reach consensus;

d) if consensus cannot be reached, a minimum of five voting members must support a recommendation;

9. That the list of Committee recommendations and a brief summary of the achievements of each candidate be sent to Board members, who will have the opportunity to express in writing any reservations with the list to the University Secretary.

10. That the list of recommendations and summary of achievements be presented to the Board for ratification.

11. That the Board vote to accept or reject the entire list of recommendations.

12. That the President determine the degree to be awarded and the ceremony at which it will be awarded,  and approach each nominee approved by the Board to determine acceptance.

13. In the event that an individual declines acceptance of an honorary degree that has been approved by the Board, or where the conferring of an approved degree has not been scheduled within three years of approval by the Board, the Honorary Degree will be deemed to be cancelled unless in the latter case, the time for conferral has been extended by the Board on the recommendation of the Committee.

14. That whenever possible, names of Honorary Degree recipients should be reported to the Senates before being announced to the media.