HARVEST CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY
Mass Communications and Media
Business Administration in Entrepreneurship
Chiropractic and Holistic Medicine
Business Management in Real Estate
Philosophy in Pastoral Counseling
Marketing & Advertising
Business Administration In Banking
Civil Right Law
What Is an Honorary Degree?
Honorary degrees are academic degrees given by universities to individuals to recognize their exceptional contributions to society or lifetime achievement in their field. Honorary degrees can be conferred on people from all walks of life. For example, Harvard University has awarded over 2,300 honorary degrees since its establishment in 1692. Since 1892, Temple University has awarded over 900 honorary degrees. An early and notable exception is Benjamin Franklin, who received an honorary doctorate from the University of St. Andrews in 1759 and the University of Oxford in 1762 for his scientific accomplishments, and thereafter referred to himself as “Doctor Franklin.”
What Is the Purpose of an Honorary Degree?
People often ask whether an honorary degree is a real degree, are honorary degrees valid, do honorary degrees count, do honorary degrees mean anything, what is the purpose of an honorary degree, and what can be done with an honorary degree? In the sense that an honorary degree is awarded by an accredited college or university, it is a real degree. Sixteen presidents of the United States have received honorary degrees from Harvard, some before they became president. They include George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, Theodore Roosevelt, Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and George Herbert Walker Bush.
Criteria for Selecting Honorary Degree Recipients
On recommendation of the Honors and Awards Committee and the President, the Board of Trustees may vote to confer honorary degrees on distinguished individuals. The Board should award an honorary degree only in recognition of extraordinary and lasting distinction. The award should represent the highest intellectual and moral values; it should reflect the very character and quality of the University itself.
The awarding of an honorary degree is recognition of a person whose life and achievements serve as examples of the University’s aspirations for its students. It should be offered well before the end of a career, while the accomplishments are recent and the activities worthy of highest commendations.
An honorary degree may be offered to a person who has contributed significantly to the cultural, scientific, and/or social development of the State, nation, or world. The contribution should be sustained over a period of years and should be lasting in nature. One should be able to document the national or international impact of the contributions. The mere holding of an executive position, public office, or professorship for many years is not sufficient. The creativity of the individual and the extraordinary character of the contributions must be evident.
The individual receiving an honorary degree should have a sustained reputation over a period of years. The reputation should extend beyond the boundaries of the University and the state and preferably should extend nationally or internationally.
The activities of the individual should contain outstanding contributions in scholarly research, teaching and learning, the arts, public service, or business. The person might be a distinguished scholar in the natural, physical or social sciences, the arts or humanities, or a distinguished person in public life, business, the professions, or the performing arts. Evaluation will be based on the level of intellectual and professional attainment and the significance of the contributions to the enrichment and/or welfare of the state, nation, or world.
A program in the awarding of honorary degrees should maintain a reasonable balance between academic and non-academic recipients, and various fields of endeavor.