Every year, honorary degrees are presented at Commencement to individuals selected by the Faculty Committee on Honorary Degrees and approved by the Gallaudet University Board of Trustees. In awarding honorary degrees, the University seeks to recognize deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing individuals for exemplary service to deaf and hard of hearing community.

The standards and procedures for the award of honorary degrees are available here. Nominations are accepted on an ongoing basis. Nominations received by the deadline date, endorsed by the Faculty Committee on Honorary Degrees, and recommended through the Office of the Provost to the President will be submitted to the Board of Trustees ahead of their February Board meeting to be given in May of the following year, i.e., 15 months in advance. Nominations for honorary degrees will be accepted on an ongoing basis.

Nomination Procedure

Each nominee must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  1. Individuals whose significant personal, social, cultural, scientific, or professional achievements have positively increased public awareness of deaf and hard of hearing people, nationally or internationally, and whose values inherently are reflected in the Gallaudet University mission;
  2. Individuals with exemplary records of academic and/or public accomplishments in line with Gallaudet University’s standards for academic rigor, quality, and significance.
  3. Persons whose leadership or originality in significant human endeavor has been with distinction, with preference to those whose accomplishments came first in a particular field of endeavor.
  4. Individuals who have served as role models for deaf and hard of hearing people through their extensive leadership and public service.

A completed nomination with supporting materials shall include:

  1. Supporting letter describing how the nominee meets the purpose of the honorary degree,
  2. Documented evidence of the nominee’s achievements and his/her impact on deaf and hard of hearing people,
  3. Curriculum vitae, or information that would ordinarily be included in a curriculum vitae.
  4. Names and contact information of three references who will be asked in confidence by the Faculty Committee on Honorary Degree to comment on the qualifications of the nominee.

Nominations are being accepted with a deadline for review:

Commencement Year Submission Deadline
May 2025 Friday, October 27, 2023
May 2026 Friday, October 25, 2024
May 2027 Friday, October 24, 2025
May 2028 Friday, October 23, 2026
May 2029 Friday, October 22, 2027

Questions? Please contact us.

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