Honorary Degrees and Ceremonials Sub-Committee

Members and Mandate


Meetings are held at the call of the Chair.

Nomination Overview

How important are honorary degrees at York University?

The awarding of honorary degrees is an important feature of Convocation at York.  These awards complement the celebration of our graduates, and add inspiration and lustre to ceremonies attended by graduates, their families and friends, members of the University community, and others.

What are the criteria for honorary degree candidates?

Candidates for honorary degrees must be meritorious or worthy of emulation as demonstrated by one or more of the following:

  • significant contributions or benefaction to the University
  • outstanding achievements in scholarly, professional or artistic fields
  • enhancement of society and contributions to the public good
Is preparing a nomination onerous?

No.  Nominations are facilitated by a fillable form that can be submitted online.  Nominators are asked to provide the following:

  • basic contact information for the nominator, nominee and internal supporters
  • checkbox answers to a few questions about nominees’ eligibility and fit with selection criteria
  • a short outline of how nominees fulfil criteria (maximum 100 words) along with bibliographical details (maximum 500 words) which may be based on publicly available online documents
Is anything else needed to complete a nomination along with the nomination form?

Yes. All nominations must have additional support from within the University community.  Two such statements are required.  Bear in mind that, in the case of individuals who are not likely to be well known within the University community, one additional statement of support from someone outside of the University who can help document significant contributions worthy of emulation may be requested.

How can I receive help with a nomination?

Staff members at the University Secretariat are happy to discuss any aspect of the process.  They can also help members of the public outside of York to arrange for statements of internal support.  See the “contact us” banner at the bottom of this page for information.

Who can nominate an individual?

Nominations are accepted from

  • the Chancellor and President
  • any member of the University community, including awards committees
  • members of the public who must also provide statements of support for candidates from inside the University (assistance is available to help you arrange support)
Are there restrictions on who can receive an honorary degree?

Generally speaking, there are no restrictions on who can be nominated.  York University is committed to diversity and seeks candidates of all social backgrounds and walks of life.  We welcome the nomination of Canadians and citizens of other countries.

Please note that honorary degrees are not granted to York University employees and currently serving Canadian politicians, except in the most unusual and exceptional circumstances.  Posthumous degrees are also not normally awarded.

What is the nomination and selection process?

The Chancellor and President are responsible for inviting honorary degree recipients to Convocation ceremonies.  They select candidates from a pool of nominees approved by the Executive Committee of Senate based on recommendations approved by its Sub-Committee on Honorary Degrees and Ceremonials.

What are the confidentiality rules?

The process leading to inclusion in the pool of prospective honorary degree recipients is highly confidential.  Nominees must not be informed of their nomination.  The status of all nominations is held in strict confidence by the Chancellor, President, Sub-Committee and Senate Executive.

Will I receive communications after I submit the nomination?

All submissions of forms and other documents are acknowledged upon receipt.  Nominators may also be contacted if the Secretary of the Sub-Committee on Honorary Degrees and Ceremonials or the Sub-Committee itself determines that additional information is necessary.  No other communication will be made.

How long do honorary degree candidates remain in the pool?

Normally, approved candidates remain in the pool of prospective degree recipients for a period of five years (renewable once) or until they receive an honorary degree.

How do I nominate someone for an honorary degree?

The form used to submit recommendations can be accessed from this link

Review the 2001 report that is the basis for current criteria and procedures: Honorary Degrees Guidelines

Discover who has received a York honorary degree:  Honorary Degree Recipients

Contact us:

Kathryn White, Assistant Secretary of the University

Elaine MacRae, Governance Coordinator