Call for May 2019 Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Nominations

In accordance with University Senate procedure, we are now accepting commencement speaker and honorary degree nominations for the 2019 commencement ceremonies for Rutgers University–New Brunswick (including Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences), Rutgers University–Newark, and Rutgers University–Camden. The university seeks recommendations of nominees who reflect the academic mission, cultural diversity, and international character of Rutgers University. Nominations for the May 2019 ceremonies will be accepted until October 9, 2017.

An honorary degree is one of the most prestigious honors the university can bestow on an individual. Nominees should be individuals of outstanding regional, national, or international acclaim. They should add to the distinction and tradition of the university and should have attained scholarly excellence or made major contributions to society in their field. Some examples are leading academics, visionary leaders, public intellectuals, creative minds in arts and performance, and philanthropists. Since the commencement speaker will also be awarded an honorary degree, nominations for the commencement speaker should follow the same guidelines as honorary degree candidates. Nominators should ensure that all nominees are individuals whose accomplishments support the ideals of Rutgers. Honorary degrees may be awarded in four categories based upon the standards listed below:

  • Doctor of Laws: Distinguished service to state or to nation, to learning, or to humankind, coupled with intellectual gifts and moral qualities that entitle the recipient to rank with persons of culture and high principle.
  • Doctor of Letters or Doctor of Fine Arts: Distinguished service to letters, art, performance, music, or education, coupled with intellectual and moral qualities that are widely recognized.
  • Doctor of Science: Distinguished service to science, coupled with personal qualities and a kind of learning that entitles the recipient to recognition by a learned educational body of high standing.
  • Doctor of Humane Letters: Distinguished service of a general nature, coupled with personal qualities and a kind of learning that entitles the recipient to recognition by a learned educational body of high standing.

All members of the university community and the public are invited to nominate candidates for consideration. Nominations will be kept confidential and nominees should not be contacted. Information on the honorary degree nomination process.

Nominations must be submitted using the Guidelines on Honorary Degrees and the Honorary Degree Nomination Form [Word document] along with appropriate biographical information, a curriculum vitae, if available, and other supporting material (please provide actual documentation and not website links). A well-written nomination form is often more persuasive than a lengthy curriculum vitae. You may send nominations and supporting documentation electronically, by U. S. Postal Service or by campus mail to:

Ms. Kimberlee M. Pastva
Secretary of the University
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Winants Hall, Room 112
7 College Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1260

We welcome your participation in this important university process. If you have questions on the nomination or selection process, please contact Kimberlee M. Pastva at or via phone at 848-932-7434.

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