OSU Honorary Doctoral Degrees

The call for the 2023-24 nominations is now closed. The next call for nominations will open in August and will be due October 15, 2024.

Honorary doctorates are the highest award bestowed by the University as a mark of extraordinary achievement. These degrees are conferred to honor individuals with distinguished scholarship; distinction in creative arts; distinction in public service; or extraordinary achievements in business, industry, or labor.


The call for the 2023-24 nominations is now closed. The next call for nominations will open August 1, 2024.

Please submit letters of nomination and supporting documents below.

A single PDF to include all documents is preferred.

Submit Documents


Contact Rick Settersten, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, with any questions about nominations and materials.

Nomination Process and Criteria

  • Not eligible: current OSU employees and recently retired OSU employees (in the past three years).
  • Not eligible: currently elected or appointed state officials, members of the OSU Board of Trustees, and members of the OSU Foundation Board of Trustees.

The University may bestow an honorary doctorate on an individual who meets one or more of the follow criteria:

  • Distinguished scholarship - such as major breakthroughs in knowledge and/or its application in any discipline.
  • Distinction in creative arts - such as the development of new frontiers in literature, visual art, performing arts, design, engineering, or other fields.
  • Distinction in public service - such as outstanding contributions in statesmanship, administration, legislative activity, the judiciary, or non-governmental civic activity.
  • Extraordinary achievements in business, industry, and/or labor.

In addition, candidates must exemplify OSU's core values.

Maintaining strict confidentiality in the consideration of honorary doctorate nominations is of utmost importance. Nominators should not inform candidates of their nomination. Ideally, any necessary materials to support the nomination should not be provided by the nominee directly.

Nominators should inform any individuals who provide supporting information or letters of the need for strict confidentiality.

Because of the importance of confidentiality, nominators are encouraged to discuss possible nominations with Rick Settersten, Honorary Doctorate Committee Chair and Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, as early in the process as possible - and preferably before any materials are assembled - if they have questions about a nominee's eligibility, the likelihood that they will meet criteria, materials, or the nomination process.

To nominate an honorary doctoral degree candidate, nominators should submit, in a single PDF, the following:

  1. A letter of support from the nominator. Nominators must be university employees or employees of the University Foundation & Alumni Association.
  2. Two additional letters written by individuals who can speak to the contributions, application, and/or impacts of the nominee's work. Letters should be no more than two pages long and written to a general audience.
  3. Nominee's CV or resume.

Nominations will be reviewed by The Honorary Degree Committee (HDC) chaired by Rick Settersten, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, and including the Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, Faculty Senate President or their designee, and the Chair and academic faculty members of the Faculty Senate Faculty Recognition and Awards Committee. The HDC will share their recommendations with the Provost who will forward the HDC summary and, in turn, make recommendation(s) to the President for the President's decision.

Nomination materials should be submitted to Sara Daly, [email protected]. The deadline for nominations is October 15, 2024. Decisions are anticipated by late January 2025.

To submit a nomination, you must be a university employee or an employee of the University Foundation & Alumni Association.