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Dispelling the myths

Who would you nominate for an honorary degree from Memorial?

Campus and Community

By Nora Daly

Did you know anyone can nominate an honorary graduate?

There’s a mistaken belief that only people associated with Memorial University can nominate an individual to receive an honorary degree, the university’s highest honour. Not true.

Who would you nominate?

While many nominations come from faculty and staff at Memorial, anyone can submit a nomination. That includes students and alumni, as well as people with no affiliation to the university. Anyone, anywhere, anytime can submit a nomination. We encourage everyone to consider naming an outstanding individual for this special recognition.

Did you know anyone can be nominated for an honorary degree?

If you look at the variety of people who have received honorary degrees, you would be amazed at the diversity. There is a broad range of community volunteers, authors, artists and philanthropists — but that’s not all.

Honorary graduates from Memorial include a sports team (Olympic gold medalists, Team Gushue), a survivor of the bombing of Nagasaki (John Ford), an astronaut (Roberta Bondar) and the inventor of the earliest gas mask (Cluny Macpherson).

Roberta Bondar
Canada’s first female astronaut Roberta Bondar was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree in 1993.
Photo: Submitted

Veterans. Second World War resistance fighters. Explorers. Comedians. Singers. Actors. Two Nobel Prize laureates, four barons and at least five nuns.

Anyone who has made exceptional contributions to society or has outstanding intellectual or artistic achievements can be nominated — with a couple of caveats.

Normally, the honorary graduate must attend convocation to receive their degree and politicians are not eligible to receive an honorary degree while still holding elected office.

It’s also easy to nominate an honorary graduate: just fill out the online form.

You don’t need to know them; you just need to know about them. Relevant information is important. Please provide biographical information and a rationale for the nomination.

Confidential process

Out of respect for the dignity and reputation of nominees, the selection of honorary graduates is by nature a confidential process. In making a nomination, please ensure that the nominee is unaware of the nomination.

There’s a lot of accomplished people in the world. Let’s salute them and invite them to inspire our graduating students at convocation.

Nominate an honorary graduate.


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