Honorary Degrees - Carnegie Mellon University

Honorary Degree Nominations

All members of the university community are invited to nominate deserving candidates for the honorary degrees which are bestowed at the May commencement ceremony. Awarding honorary degrees is a university-wide tradition and nominations are welcome from students, staff, alumni and faculty.

Honorary degree recipients are an inspiration to the Carnegie Mellon University community, especially to the graduating students. They add luster to the commencement ceremony by underscoring the importance of the university in the world and honoring those who have made an impact in the arts, business, computer science, engineering, humanities, policy, sciences or social sciences.

The nominees should:

• have achieved preeminent levels of distinction in their fields, preferable those identified with educational, research or performance programs at Carnegie Mellon University;

• have demonstrated respect and appreciation for the responsibilities of citizenship and service to society.

It is desirable that nominees have connections to the university (e.g., alumni, former faculty, friends or collaborators). Nominations of women and underrepresented minorities are especially welcome.

Please see the formal nomination criteria and the nomination form for complete information.

The Nomination Process:

Nominations are submitted to an Honorary Degree Review Committee, whose members include representatives from the faculty, student government (graduate and undergraduate), staff and board of trustees. It is currently chaired by Professor Guy Berry. Nominations are submitted by this committee to the president and board of trustees for final approval. 

Honorary degrees are not conferred in absentia; recipients must be present at the May commencement ceremony in Pittsburgh. Any actions leading to the granting of an Honorary Degree by Carnegie Mellon frequently are delayed for a year or more for reasons of scheduling, so it is common for candidates to be honored in years subsequent to their initial nomination. Candidates who are not selected will remain under consideration for three consecutive years.

Please know that Honorary Degree Review Committee members are not authorized to discuss their deliberations or recommendations outside committee meetings, nor do they receive any advance notice of actions taken on their recommendations.

Completed nomination forms are due Monday, October 8, 2015, and must be submitted using the online nomination form.

What do Eric Schmidt, Phylicia Rashad, Temple Grandin, Kai-Fu Lee and Al Gore have in common?

They all hold honorary degrees from Carnegie Mellon University.