John Bramley at Commencement 2019 as Honorary Degree Recipient

2021 Honorary Degree and Commencement Speaker Nominations


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 (the "Committee"), appointed by the president, may also bring forth nominations. Each spring, the Committee reviews nominations, identifies nominees who best meet the established criteria, and then 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.

Honorary degrees are awarded at the end of May commencement ceremony. For further information regarding this process, please view the University Operating Procedure for Honorary Degrees and Commencement Speaker.

Nomination Timeline

The deadline for honorary degree nominations for the 2021 Commencement Ceremony was February 18, 2020. The Committee will review the nominations and nominees will be presented to the Board at a future meeting.

The nomination process for the 2022 Commencement Ceremony will begin in Fall 2020. This webpage will be updated once the process is under way.


In conferring an Honorary Degree and recommending a Commencement Speaker, the University of Vermont has historically recognized distinction in at least one of three general areas:

  • Outstanding achievement or service at or for the benefit of the University of Vermont
  • Outstanding achievement or service in or 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 exemplify or reflect the University values, goals and strategic priorities.

The Committee will also consider the following in evaluating nominees:

  • 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


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

Phone: 802-656-0358