John Bramley at Commencement 2019 as Honorary Degree Recipient


Members of the University of Vermont community are invited to submit nominations of potential honorary degree recipients and persons to be considered to deliver the commencement address. The Honorary Degree Advisory Committee, appointed by the president, identifies those candidates who best meet the established criteria and provides recommendations to the president. It is the president’s authority to select the commencement speaker, in consultation with the committee.

The commencement speaker may also be recommended to receive an honorary degree. The committee may also recommend that nominees be awarded honorary degrees. Honorary degrees are awarded at the May commencement ceremony. For further information regarding this process, please view the University Operating Procedure for Honorary Degrees and Commencement Speaker.


To be eligible for consideration for the award of an Honorary Degree, a nominee must be recognized as accomplished in at least one of three areas:

  • Outstanding achievement or service for the benefit of the University of Vermont
  • Outstanding achievement or service for the benefit of the State of Vermont
  • Outstanding achievement or service in the nation or the world

Of particular importance is to identify Honorary Degree candidates and a Commencement Speaker who have achieved distinction in endeavors aligned with institutional goals and strategic priorities.

Additional considerations include:

  • Sustained and dedicated commitment to public life and service
  • Significant contributions to the advancement of knowledge
  • Significant contribution to the University’s ability to achieve its mission

Honorary degrees may not be given to current faculty, staff, members of the Board of Trustees, or current holders of political office. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the President.

Nomination Information

*Note: The University of Vermont only awards one Honorary Degree in a recipient's lifetime. In order to determine if your nominee was a past recipient, please review the Past Honorary Degree Recipients List (PDF).

Nominees for the 2020 Commencement Ceremony have already been selected and will be announced by the President in March 2020.

The 2021 nomination process has been designed to allow time to make arrangements and give notice as appropriate. The deadline for nominations is Tuesday, February 18, 2020.

Honorary Degree and Commencement Speaker nominations may be submitted online by completing the form in the following link:

2021 Honorary Degree and Commencement Speaker Nomination Form

If you prefer to mail your nomination, please send the information requested here to Assistant Trustee Coordinator Erin Dickinson, 358 Waterman Building, 85 South Prospect Street, Burlington, VT, 05405.

Nominations must be complete in order to be considered. It is imperative that nominations are kept confidential. Nominees whom are selected for the 2021 Commencement Ceremony will be announced by the President in March 2021. If your nominee was not selected, you may resubmit your nomination for consideration a following year. The Honorary Degree Advisory Committee withholds the right to consider nominees for following years without resubmission.


For more information, please contact Assistant Trustee Coordinator Erin Dickinson:

Phone: 802-656-0358