Honorary degrees are conferred by the faculty of The University of Iowa. They are awarded to individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary achievements in such areas as research, scholarship, education, artistic creation, social activism, human rights, humanitarian outreach, etc., or as recognized by the faculty as being consistent with the values of higher education. The following general principles shall apply to the selection process:

  1. The degree should be awarded in honor of extraordinary achievement over an entire career and not merely to honor a single achievement.
  2. Recipients of the degree shall be selected by a faculty committee and approved by the Provost, President, and Board of Regents, as required.
  3. The degrees awarded shall be called: Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Honorary Doctor of Science, Honorary Doctor of Laws, or as appropriate to the individual being honored.  The relevant college should be consulted about the title of the degree. 
  4. Current employees of the university are not eligible, but honorary degrees may be awarded to previous employees who meet the criteria.

Honorary Degree Selection Committee


  1. Nominations should be sent to the Honorary Degree Committee. Nominations may come from colleges or from individual faculty members, but when a nomination comes from an individual, the committee must consult with the faculty of the appropriate college before proceeding.
  2. The Honorary Degree Committee consists of the following voting members:
    • Five associate/full professors selected by the Faculty Senate to insure ethnic and gender balance.
    • Two associate/full professors selected by the Provost.
    • An ex-officio designee from the Provost’s Office.
  3. The Faculty Senate Committee on Committees shall appoint the chair of the Honorary Degree Selection Committee from the list of seven faculty appointees.
  4. Committee members serve for three-years, but initial appointments should be staggered to insure continuity and overlap of terms.