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Committee on Honorary Degrees seeks nominations

The Committee on Honorary Degrees is eager to receive your nominations of worthy candidates for honorary degrees.  The committee especially solicits your nominations of meritorious women and minority candidates.  The committee’s Standards and Procedures for Honorary Degrees document and a list of past honorary degree recipients is available at http://www.secfac.wisc.edu/committees/honorarydegrees/.

Submission of a nomination does not ensure its successful outcome.  Therefore, it is of utmost importance that potential candidates NOT be informed that a nomination is under consideration.  Strict confidentiality of a nomination protects the nominating unit and the university from a nominee’s disappointment should a candidacy not advance.

Academic units wishing to nominate a candidate should submit a preliminary nomination dossier to the committee no later than Friday, 16 April 2010.  This preliminary dossier should consist of (1) a one- to two-page letter documenting the nominee’s extraordinary contributions to a field or profession, and to society, and (2) the nominee’s curriculum vitae, or in its absence, information about the nominee ordinarily presented in a curriculum vitae.  Please submit 30 copies of the preliminary dossier to 133 Bascom Hall.

The committee evaluates the preliminary dossiers and, where in the judgment of the committee the documentation reflects significant prospects for success, the nominating academic unit is invited to assemble full documentation.  Those units invited to submit second-stage nomination packets have a deadline of Monday, 23 August 2010 by which to do so.

The second-stage dossier should document fully the distinguished achievements of the candidate.  The committee may ask that the sponsoring unit respond to specific points or questions so the nomination can advance.  Please see page two of the standards and procedures document for an enumeration of the materials required for the second-stage dossier.  The key to a successful nomination is not the size of the dossier, but convincing evidence of the candidate’s extraordinary accomplishments.

Faculty legislation (Faculty Policies and Procedures 6.41.B.) requires that nominations originating from any source other than a department, school or college must be referred by the chair of the Committee on Honorary Degrees to an appropriate department, school or college for recommendation.  The same legislation also states that a Wisconsin connection, while not a prerequisite for an honorary degree, is an asset.

As a matter of policy, emeritus faculty members of our university are not eligible for our honorary degrees solely on the basis of their performance while at UW-Madison.  The university cannot grant honorary degrees to those who have held elected office in the state in the past two years, nor to anyone employed by the University of Wisconsin within the past two years.

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