Honors and Awards

Honorary Degree

The University of South Florida seeks each fall and spring nominations for Honorary Degrees.  These degrees, one of USF’s most significant tributes, are awarded to those who have distinguished themselves through a career of genuine and extraordinary achievement and special humanitarian contribution to society at large and, more specifically, to the University and its community.


To guide its work, the Honors and Awards Council has adopted the following criteria for reviewing nominations: 

  • Distinction with sustained, meritorious activity in one’s field of endeavor. Those activities may include but are not limited to:
    • Scholarship
    • Creative Arts
    • Public Service
    • Professional Service
    • Business, Industry, and Labor
  • Distinction in harmony with the purposes, values, and ideals esteemed by the University.
  • Distinction through special humanitarian contribution to society at large, the University, and the community.

The University, by honoring outstanding individuals, honors itself. Thus, a recipient should lend distinction to the University.  At the same time the University will not award degrees that do not satisfy the above criteria and are merely politically motivated or the result of recognition of past or of prospective gifts to the University.


Candidates for honorary degrees may be nominated by any member or group such as departments, colleges and committees of the University of South Florida community, by any prominent individual who is knowledgeable in the candidate's field of expertise and who is in a position to judge the candidate's contributions and achievements.

Inasmuch as the degrees conferred relate to one of the University disciplines and indicate distinguished accomplishment to those disciplines, the nomination should originate from, or have the endorsement of, the appropriate USF academic area.

All nominators (whether from the University proper or the USF community at large) must submit documentation specifying the nominee's qualifications for being selected as a degree recipient to the   appropriate division head or department chair and dean of that college, i.e., relevant to the degree sought. Documentation must include:

  • A brief letter of nomination summarizing the candidate’s qualifications, the honorary degree sought and certifying the support of the appropriate academic area.
  • Letters of recommendations from USF academic area (faculty/administrator) and from     professionally-distinguished individuals outside USF who are prominent in the candidate’s field (3 minimum; 5 maximum).
  • Current curriculum vitae of the nominee including details of the nominee’s achievements and special recognitions.

View the complete checklist and procedures here. Prior to submitting the complete packet, a notification of nomination form should be submitted in accordance with timeline shared from the Honors and Awards Council.