Honorary Degrees

Awarding an honorary degree is an opportunity for the university to recognize someone especially outstanding in a field of interest to the university. It is necessary, though not sufficient, for a nominee to be accomplished and renowned in their field; an honorary-degree recipient should be clearly exceptional among other outstanding persons in that field.

Making a Nomination

Any person affiliated with NIU may submit a nomination indicating the nominator's identity and connection with the university. The Honorary Degree Committee encourages nominations by groups as well as by individuals. Nominators should alert all university departments and divisions related to the area of the nominee's accomplishments and invite those units to provide the committee with input regarding the merits of the nomination. While a connection to NIU or to the state of Illinois is not a requirement for nomination, any such relationship should be noted and will be considered during the selection process.

Required Materials

  • A supporting narrative that clearly indicates the nominee's distinction, in business, education, the liberal arts and sciences, technology, the fine arts, other professional fields or public service.
  • One or more standard biographical statements from appropriate reference sources (these are not substitutes for the supporting narrative).
  • Current contact information for the nominee.

The university does not intend to award more than two honorary degrees in a year, the selection process is stringent. As the committee recommendations subsequently pass through several other approval steps, the process is lengthy.

Submit Materials To

Kerry Wilks, Dean
The Graduate School

via Kayla Doane
Administrative Assistant to the Dean of the Graduate School
Email PDF file to kdoane@niu.edu 

Nomination Deadline

Nominations, with the required supporting information, should be submitted no later than the last Friday of October.