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A61.12: Honorary Degree Committee

Policy

The Honorary Degree Committee, a subcommittee of the Senate Graduate Committee shall be composed as follows: 

(Two members appointed by the President of the Board of Regents; two members of the General Faculty (appointed for two-year terms by the Faculty Senate:) two members of the General Faculty (appointed for two-year terms by the Senate Graduate Committee;) the President of the University and the President of the Graduate and Professional Student Association. Additionally, the President of the Board of Regents and the Secretary of the University shall be ex-officio members, the Secretary to serve as Secretary of the Committee. The Committee shall elect its own chairman from among the faculty members appointed by the Faculty Senate and the Senate Graduate Committee.)

Operating guidelines: Each year, the Honorary Degree Committee shall solicit nominations for honorary degrees from any source they deem proper. However, a great emphasis should be placed on nominees whose contributions are to UNM, New Mexico or the southwest. The Honorary Degree Committee shall decide if an honorary degree is to be given for any particular year. If no selection is made, the Senate Graduate Committee, the Faculty Senate, and the Regents will be so notified. If the Honorary Degree Committee decides there are appropriate candidates--to a maximum of three annually--they may make a selection or selections and shall present the names of the nominees to the Senate Graduate Committee for confidential approval or disapproval of any or all names. If Senate Graduate Committee's approval is forthcoming for any or all of the nominees, the names shall be submitted to the Faculty Senate for confidential approval no later than at the February meeting. Names of nominees approved by the Faculty Senate shall then be submitted to the Regents for formal approval at their Commencement meeting. (However, approval of the Regents not on the Honorary Degree Committee must be secured informally before names are submitted to the Senate Graduate Committee.) Disapproval of all names by the Senate Graduate Committee, the Faculty Senate, or the Regents stops the process at that point for that year. New nominations from the Senate Graduate Committee, the Faculty Senate, or the Regents will only be considered by the Honorary Degree Committee for a subsequent year.

Early in each academic year, the Honorary Degree Committee makes nominations for the awarding of honorary degrees in accordance with the policy provided below.

Policy for Awarding Honorary Degrees

Approved, Faculty 10/21/51; Approved, Regents 03/10/52; Amended, 12/17/63; Amended, 02/23/67; Amended, 1/14/69; Amended, 05/12/92; Amended and Approved, Regents 11/14/96.

The University of New Mexico wishes to recognize and thereby encourage individuals by awarding special honors to those persons who have contributed significantly to the cultural or scientific development of the Southwest, or to the spiritual or material welfare of its people. At the same time, due regard should be paid to eminent individuals and scholars whose contributions are of general significance and transcend geographic limitations. In no case should a passing courtesy to the University of New Mexico, such as the delivery of a commencement address, be the sole or principal cause for such honorary awards. The award of an honorary degree to a person seeking or holding a political office does not indicate endorsement by the University of New Mexico. Political involvement should not prevent selection of an individual for an honorary degree.

It is not the University's policy to award honorary degrees to active members of the faculty, staff, or administration. This does not preclude, in an exceptional case, the awarding of an honorary degree to an emeritus member of the faculty or to a former employee whose stature remains or becomes eminent in the years following active service with the University. In such exceptions, sufficient time shall have elapsed to ensure objectivity in the process of selection.

Honorary degrees will be awarded only upon the approval of the Regents, based on recommendations from the Honorary Degree Committee, whose membership is set out in the Faculty Handbook.

Further information on awarding honorary degrees and other types of special recognition can be obtained from "Special Recognition and Awards," Section 1.6, Regents' Policy Manual.

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