Honorary Degree Procedures
The University bestows honorary degrees as a means to acknowledge the singular accomplishments or contributions of individuals in any of a number of fields of human endeavor; to identify the University with the values expressed through the work and accomplishments of the honoree; to draw positive attention to the University as an institution that respects and encourages such values and the manner in which those values are expressed; and to emphasize its own institutional mission and purposes.
The University honors individuals for distinctive achievement in such areas as the creative and performing arts, humanities, social sciences, sciences, public service, philanthropy, business, the learned professions, social justice, Jewish life, international understanding and human rights, among others.
Anyone is free to submit a nomination of an honorary degree candidate to the Honorary Degrees Committee, though a nomination to the committee does not guarantee selection or approval. The Honorary Degrees Committee brings a slate of recommended nominations to the full Board of Trustees for approval. The president of the university selects degree recipients from the list of approved nominees.
Nominations of honorary degree candidates must be submitted in writing and should include the candidate's name; current position or affiliation; the rationale in support of the nomination; Brandeis connection, if any; and, whenever possible, information about special outreach to or other means of contacting the nominee. Nominations can be submitted online by filling out the nomination form.
The most important element of the nomination is the rationale, which explains why the nominee is deserving of an honorary degree from Brandeis University. Nominations should be sent to Ms. Ellen de Graffenreid, Office of Communications, MS 136, Brandeis University, 415 South Street, Waltham, MA 02453.
It is the policy of the University that individuals must be present at commencement or a special convocation in order to receive an honorary degree. Except in exceptional cases, honorary degrees are not bestowed posthumously.