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Call for Honorary Degree Nominations 2002-2003

Dear Colleagues,

We are writing to invite you to nominate candidates for University of Pennsylvania honorary degrees to be presented at future Commencement exercises. The criterion for selection is the degree to which the candidate reflects the highest ideal of the University, which is to produce graduates who change the world through innovative acts of scholarship, scientific discovery, artistic creativity and/or societal leadership

We encourage you to involve your faculty colleagues in the procedure. A nomination may be supported by more than one letter from faculty in more than one department. Letters should state how the nominee meets the criterion for selection, what the nominee's unique achievements and contributions are, and why the nominee should be honored by this University at this particular time. Please include as much biographical and other supporting information as possible, but please do not ask the nominee for information, because nominees should not know that they are being considered. We particularly encourage nominations from departments and schools whose fields have not been recognized by honorary degrees in recent years. Please note that it is University policy not to consider Penn standing or emeritus faculty, trustees, or school and center overseers for Penn honorary degrees.

Please send letters of nomination on your official stationery and sign them. Address nominations to the University Council Committee on Honorary Degrees, c/o Office of the Secretary, 221 College Hall/6303. They may be faxed to (215) 898-0103. If you have questions, please e-mail or telephone Molly Roth at or (215) 898-6408.

Nominations are accepted at any time during the year, but are not necessarily acted upon for the same year's Commencement. In fact, the committee is increasingly working on honorary degree plans for several years into the future and it is not unusual for a candidate to be selected a few years after the initial nomination. The list of those who have received University of Pennsylvania honorary degrees in previous years can be found at The University Council Committee's recommendations are forwarded to the Trustees' Committee on Honorary Degrees and Awards, which makes the final selection.

Honorary degrees are an important statement of our values and aspirations as a university, and we strongly encourage your participation in this process.

--E. Ann Matter, Chair,
University Council Committee on Honorary Degrees

--Judith Rodin, President


  Almanac, Vol. 49, No. 14, November 26, 2002