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The Senate Awards and Ceremonials Committee invites nominations for honorary doctorates to be awarded at the spring and fall convocations held each year.

The nomination and approval process for honorary doctorates is confidential, and all those involved in the process are expected to maintain that confidentiality.

Nominations will be accepted from anyone in the university community. Individuals may not nominate themselves or members of their family.

Honorary Doctorates are the highest honour conferred by the university and are awarded to those who have made extraordinary contributions to:

  • Academia and/or society in Canada or internationally, particularly in fields of interest to the university;
  • The development of the university;
  • The betterment of culture, society or the local community.

To be considered, a nominee must have sufficient stature and recognition to ensure that the awarding of an honorary doctorate enhances the reputation of the university.


  • Administration, faculty and staff at the university are normally not eligible for nomination until at least three years after leaving the university.
  • Politicians currently in office will not normally be considered.
  • The nominee must be living. If the candidate dies after accepting the nomination, but prior to its award, the degree will be awarded posthumously.
  • Other than in exceptional circumstances, honourees must be present at the convocation ceremony to receive a degree; degrees will not be offered in absentia.

Since almost all candidates for Honorary Doctorates will be distinguished people in one way or another, the Committee will consider the following:

  • In what ways is the candidate’s achievement truly outstanding?
  • In what ways has the nominee made an extraordinary contribution to scholarship, society and culture?
  • Will this person’s achievement be perceived as important and exemplary to the students who will graduate at that convocation?
  • Has this person already been sufficiently recognized by other honours and awards?
  • Has this person been appropriately recognized by the field or profession in which they are said to excel?
  • Is it appropriate and/or strategic for the university to honour this person at this time?
  • Is the nominee already aware of the university and would they appreciate the significance of the award?
  • Does this candidate reflect the diversity of Canadian society or the academic diversity of the University in the honours it bestows?
  • The official nomination form (opens in new window)  must be submitted, including the nominee’s verifiable mailing address, email address and phone number.
  • Nomination material should include sufficient documentation to clearly support the nomination and assist the Committee with the review, including a concise statement of the nominee’s extraordinary contributions to academia and/or to the university and/or to society and how these contributions distinguish the nominee.
  • Nominators should not seek outside letters of support. If they are solicited, a nominator must inform the reference of the strict confidentiality of the process.
  • Nominations may be submitted at any time, however for submissions to be considered for a particular year the deadline is typically the end of September.
  • The nomination and selection process is confidential. All materials submitted are held in confidence and nominators should not inform the nominee of the nomination. The outcome of any individual nomination shall not be released out of respect for the nominee and to ensure the integrity of the process.
  • Nominators will receive a confirmation of the receipt of the nomination but, due to the confidential nature of the process, will not be informed about the status of that nomination.
  • Approved candidates will remain active for three years.
  • The Senate Awards & Ceremonials Committee approves Honorary Doctorates and forwards its approved list to the President for selection.
  • An Honorary Doctorate might not be conferred in the year in which it is approved.
  • The University is under no obligation to award an Honorary Doctorate in any year.
  • Normally not more than one Honorary Doctorate will be awarded at each convocation ceremony.

  • LL.D - Doctor of Laws: awarded to particularly recognize contributions in public service. This is a fairly generic honorary degree.
  • D.Litt - Doctor of Letters: awarded to particularly recognize contributions in literature.
  • D.Sc. - Doctor of Science: awarded to particularly recognize contributions in science or engineering
Other degrees may be conferred as appropriate.