Honorary Degrees: Call for Nominations

Staff are invited to put forward nominations for the conferment of Honorary Degrees at Degree Congregations during 2020.

Honorary degreesFollowing recommendations approved by the University Council to streamline the Honorary Degrees process, an Advisory Group to the Honorary Degrees Committee has been established to ensure uniformity and consistency of nominations.

To ensure the best information is presented on each candidate, the nominations process has been simplified. People wishing to nominate a candidate should now provide a short outline proposal of 400 words clearly highlighting how the nomination meets one or more of the criteria below. These nominations will be reviewed by the Advisory Group before being considered by the Honorary Degrees Committee at its meeting of 14 March 2019.

This call is being issued to Members of the Honorary Degrees Committee, the Faculty Executive Boards via their Vice-Presidents, who are invited to submit nominations. Nominations from other members of the University and the wider community are also welcomed.


The closing date for receipt of the outline nomination proposals is Friday 2 November 2018.

The following considerations should be borne in mind when submitting nominations:

(a) The categories of persons who might normally be considered for the award of Honorary Degrees include:

i. Former students of the University who have risen to the heights of their chosen career or field of service;

ii. Those who have given distinguished service or brought distinction to the University, the City of Sheffield or the region;

iii. Distinguished scholars or other persons of national and/or international standing.

NB: Whilst it is expected that most Honorary Graduates will fall into one or more of these criteria they are not exclusive. Exceptional cases will be considered in respect of outstanding individuals whose association in name with the University will be beneficial.

(b) It is expected that at least three nominations will be put forward by each Faculty.

(c) The object of awarding Honorary Degrees is essentially to bring people into the fellowship of the University, covering the following key areas:

i. It is expected that those who receive Honorary Degrees should exemplify in some way the University’s values. The reputation and profile of Honorary Graduates should resonate with those of the University and provide an inspiring example, especially to graduating students;

ii. It is expected that Honorary Graduates will collectively reflect the University’s local, regional, national and international standing;

iii. The University recognises the role that Honorary Graduates can play as ambassadors of the University, thereby contributing to the achievement of its mission.

(d) Whilst a demonstrable personal connection with Sheffield and its region is encouraged, there will be consideration of nominations where there is the potential to build such a valuable relationship.

(e) Staff in post will only be considered in exceptional circumstances, for example if a member of staff has received external recognition for achievements unrelated to their University role.

(f) Consideration may be given to former/retired members of staff who demonstrate service or distinction far beyond the usual remit of their post or who have served the University in other ways, or have achieved distinction in areas unrelated to their University role.

(g) There is no upper or lower age limit. However, in considering nominations, emphasis will be placed on the height of achievement rather than its length. Nominations submitted well after the achievements on which the case for an award is based are unlikely to be successful.

(h) Nominations in respect of individuals considered by the Honorary Degrees Committee in the preceding three academic years will not be eligible for consideration, except at the invitation of the Committee.

(i) A list of those who have previously been awarded Honorary and Ex Officio Degrees is published in the University Calendar which can be found here.

The University reserves the right to withdraw an Honorary or Ex-Officio Degree in the event that an Honorary or Ex-Officio Graduate, through behaviour or actions subsequent to his or her award, brings the University into disrepute. The decision to withdraw a Degree rests ultimately with the Council, acting on the recommendation of the Honorary Degrees Committee and after report from the Senate.

NB: Those completing the nomination form are reminded not to inform the nominees in advance that they have been nominated for an Honorary Degree. Nominators will also be expected to assist the orators with the oration, should the nomination be successful.

The closing date for receipt of the outline nomination proposals is Friday 2 November 2018. They should be submitted on the standard nomination proposal form to the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, c/o Claire Rundström, Development, Alumni Relations & Events, The University of Sheffield, 40 Victoria Street, Sheffield S10 2TN or email c.e.rundstrom@sheffield.ac.uk.

Outline proposals should be up to 400 words, clearly highlighting how they meet one or more of the criteria stated in this call. Copies of the nomination form can be downloaded here or are available from Claire Rundström in Development, Alumni Relations & Events. If you have any queries, or require guidance on the preparation of a nomination, please contact Claire on c.e.rundstrom@sheffield.ac.uk or 0114 222 1043 .