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Honorary Degree Nominations

Celebrating USJ’s Mission in Action at Commencement 2020

Call for Honorary Degree Nominations is now open. Degree recipients will be recognized at Commencement 2020.

Commencement may seem far away, but it’s time to begin the honorary degree selection process — and we rely on your nominations!

Each year at Undergraduate and Graduate Commencement Ceremonies, USJ awards honorary degrees (Doctor of Humane Letters) to members of the local, national, and global communities. We are seeking nominations for candidates who, through personal and professional achievements, reflect the University’s mission and stand out as excellent role models for our students.

To nominate a candidate please:

  • Read the criteria below to determine suitability
  • Complete the online form by September 20, 2019

Process of Review

All nominations will be reviewed by the Honorary Degree Award Nomination Committee. Final recommendations will be sent to President Rhona Free.


Each candidate’s suitability will be evaluated by the Honorary Degree Committee based on the following criteria:

  • Personal and professional achievements
  • Eminent scholarship and/or research accomplishments
  • Notable creative work
  • Outstanding public service
  • Leadership – in a professional field and/or the community
  • Regional, national, or international prominence that will bring favorable attention to the University
  • Demonstrated commitment to education
  • Reflection of the University’s mission and core values and its underlying Catholic intellectual and spiritual values

Recent Recipients

To offer examples, recent honorary degree recipients include:

  • James T. Brett, MPA, President and CEO of The New England Council
  • Joyce James, nationally recognized leader in Child Welfare
  • Margaret Farley, RSM, Ph.D., and Eileen Hogan, RSM, co-founders of All-Africa Conference
  • Rhonda McLean, J.D., Deputy General Counsel, Time, Inc.
  • Sakena Yacoobi, founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning
  • Manon Cox, Ph.D., CEO and president, Protein Sciences
  • Christopher Dadlez, CEO and president, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center
  • Samar Alsaggaf, M.D., Ph.D., director of Medical and Health Science Programs, Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission
  • Philip J. Schulz, USJ trustee emeritus and managing partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Nancy Staisey, Ph.D., vice president, IBM
  • Dannel Malloy, J.D., Governor, State of Connecticut
  • Mary Ellen Murphy, RSM, ’50, Ph.D., USJ professor emerita and research scientist
  • Kerry Robinson, executive director, National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management
  • Luanne Rice, best selling author

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