Gallaudet University is currently collecting honorary degree nominations to be awarded at its 145th Commencement in May 2014, a special year in Gallaudet’s history as the university celebrates its 150th anniversary. With these awards, the University seeks to recognize deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing individuals for exemplary service to the deaf and hard of hearing community.

Sesquicentennial activities are scheduled for July 9 to 13, 2014, and other events will be held throughout the year to honor the university’s impressive history and the impact students, alumni, staff, and faculty have made and continue to make on the world.

Every year, honorary degrees are presented at Commencement to individuals selected by a faculty Committee on Honorary Degrees and approved by the university’s Board of Trustees. At Gallaudet’s 143rd Annual Commencement in May 2012, Ms. Audree Lauraine Norton, Class of 1952, an actress and educator in Northern California, was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. Mr. Markku Jokinen of Finland, a long-time leader in the international deaf community, received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. A list of all honorary degree recipients since the university’s founding in 1864 is available at

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

  • 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.
  • Individuals with exemplary records of academic and/or public accomplishments in line with Gallaudet University’s standards for academic rigor, quality, and significance.
  • Individuals 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.
  • Individuals who have served as role models for deaf and hard of hearing people through their extensive leadership and public service.

Nomination procedures and a nomination form are available at The deadline for submission of nominations and supporting documentation is Friday, November 30, 2012. For more information, please contact the Office of the Provost at (202) 250-2411 or email Contact here.

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