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A61.3.1: Honorary Degree Sub-Committee

Approved by: Faculty Senate
Effective: April 28, 2020
Responsible Faculty Committee: Senate Graduate and Professional Committee
Office Responsible for Administration: Office of the University Secretary

Revisions to the Policy Rationale, Policy Statement, and Applicability sections of this document must be approved by the full Faculty Senate.

Policy Rationale

The Honorary Degree Subcommittee is a subcommittee of the Senate Graduate and Professional Committee (SGPC).

Policy Statement

Early in each academic year, the Honorary Degree Subcommittee makes nominations for the awarding of honorary degrees in accordance with Regents’ Policy RPM 1.6 “Special Recognition and Awards.” Further information on awarding honorary degrees and other types of special recognition can be obtained from RPM 1.6.

Membership: Two (2) members appointed by the President of the Board of Regents; two (2) members of the general faculty appointed by the Faculty Senate (two-year terms); two (2) members of the general faculty appointed by the SGPC (two-year terms); the UNM President; and the President of the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA). Additionally, the President of the Board of Regents and the University Secretary shall be ex-officio members, the University Secretary to serve as Secretary of the Committee. The Committee shall elect its own chair from among the faculty members appointed by the Faculty Senate and the SGPC.

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 SGPC, the Faculty Senate, and the Board of Regents will be so notified. If the Honorary Degree Committee decides there are appropriate candidates—to a maximum of three (3) annually—they may make a selection or selections and shall present the names of the nominees to the SGPC for confidential approval or disapproval of any or all names. If SGPC’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 January meeting. Names of nominees approved by the Faculty Senate shall then be submitted to the Board of Regents, through the appropriate Regent Committee, 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 SGPC.) Disapproval of all names by the SGPC, the Faculty Senate, or the Regents stops the process at that point for that year. New nominations from the SGPC, the Faculty Senate, or the Regents will only be considered by the Honorary Degree Committee for a subsequent year.


All UNM faculty, including the Health Sciences Center and Branch Community Colleges.

Revisions to the remaining sections of this document may be amended with the approval of the Faculty Senate Policy Committee and Operations Committee in consultation with the responsible Faculty Senate Committee listed in Policy Heading.


No specific definitions are required for the Policy Statement.

Who should read this policy

  • Academic chairs, directors, and deans
  • Non-academic managers and directors
  • Vice presidents and other executives

Related Documents

Regents’ Policy Manual Policy 1.6 “Special Recognition and Awards”

Faculty Handbook:


Direct any questions about this policy to the Office of the University Secretary.


The Honorary Degree Subcommittee will schedule regular meetings. The Chair will report subcommittee recommendations through the SGPC for consideration for approval by the Faculty Senate.


  • August 17, 2022 - Corrected title of the University Secretary
  • April 28, 2020 - Amended by Faculty Senate
  • November 22, 2011 - Amended by Faculty Senate
  • March 22, 2011 - Approved by Faculty Senate