Honorary Degrees


Image showing honorary degrees in a shelf

What is an honorary degree?

An honorary degree is the highest honour bestowed within the power of the University, and recognizes the significant contributions of individuals to local, national, and international communities.

In conferring honorary degrees, Saint Mary’s University seeks to recognize extraordinary achievement, and to honour individuals whose accomplishments demonstrate personal and professional qualities that are consistent with the mission and values of Saint Mary’s University. Recipients should provide, through example, inspiration to graduates of the University and to the University community.  Individuals receiving an honorary degree become ambassadors for the University; thus, through their association and engagement should enhance the reputation of Saint Mary’s University.

Honorary degrees are to be awarded to distinguished individuals and in recognition of a lifetime of extraordinary achievements in their field.  Such success shall be judged by the recognition that the candidate’s peers accord to the candidate’s contribution to letters, arts, law, music, education, science, philosophy, commerce, theology or other field of learning or endeavour. The Committee may also recommend this honour to those whose outstanding contributions to their fields or to society have not yet been widely recognized.

How are recipients chosen?

Nominations for honorary doctorates are submitted to the Honorary Degrees Committee. The committee is a standing committee of the Board of Governors with representatives from the Board and the Senate. A student also serves on the committee.

Honorary Degrees Committee Terms of Reference: https://www.smu.ca/webfiles/HonouraryDegreesCommittee.pdf

What do recipients receive?

Recipients of an honorary doctorate from the University receive a citation and the conferment of a diploma at the doctorate level.

The citation is the public declaration of the reasons that led the candidate to be presented to the Chancellor for the degree. This declaration is read by a person chosen by the candidate in consultation with the University.

The honorary doctorate is conferred to the recipient at Convocation by the Chancellor of the University.

How can you nominate someone for an honorary doctorate?

Past Recipients:

Information about past recipients of Honorary Degrees awarded by Saint Mary’s University can be found here:

https://www.smu.ca/academics/archives/honorary-degrees.html