Call for Honorary Degree Nominations

Dear Colleagues,

We are writing to invite you to nominate candidates for University of Pennsylvania honorary degrees to be presented at the 2000 Commencement. 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 letters from one or several members of the faculty, and from one or several departments. 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 also encourage nominations from departments and schools whose fields have not been recognized by honorary degrees in recent years.

The policy of the University Council Honorary Degrees Committee is that all those nominated in previous years who have not yet received an honorary degree are reconsidered each year. 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 is on the Internet and can be accessed through

Please address nominations to the University Council Committee on Honorary Degrees, c/o Office of the Secretary, 236 S. 34th Street/3804. Also, they may be faxed to 215-898-0103. The University Council Committee's recommendations are forwarded to the Trustees' Committee on Honorary Degrees and Awards, which makes the final selection.

Please send letters of nomination on your official stationery and sign them. Please note that it is University policy not to consider Penn standing or emeriti faculty or trustees for Penn honorary degrees. If you have any questions, please e-mail or telephone the committee secretary, Associate Secretary Duncan W. Van Dusen at or 898-7005.

Nominations are accepted with gratitude at any time during the year, but those received after October 30 may not be able to be considered for the 2000 Commencement.

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


--Howard Kunreuther, Chair, University Council Committee on Honorary Degrees

--Judith Rodin, President

Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 2, September 8, 1998