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Honorary Degree

From time to time Oakland University honors distinguished individuals of outstanding achievement by conferring honorary degrees. In doing so the University reaffirms its scholarly, creative and humanitarian values and its ties to the wider community. Honorary degrees are awarded only to the individuals who have been selected according to the criteria and procedures outlined below.

Harvard was the first university to confer honorary degrees in 1692.  Since then it has become a recognized function of degree granting institutions.  Honorary degrees are an opportunity for universities to single out people who have made contributions to society.  At OU, honorary degree recipients are nominated by the OU community and beyond. The University Senate Honorary Degrees Committee reviews nominations for the honorary degree.  It then recommends candidates to the provost (Senate Chair) and then to the president.

Eligibility and Criteria

No current employee of Oakland University may receive an honorary degree but eligibility is otherwise unrestricted. Thus recipients may be drawn from persons with records of accomplishment in such areas as academe, business, government, the professions, or civic, cultural, humanitarian, or public affairs. To receive an honorary degree, an individual should have a record of outstanding achievement within one or more of the areas previously identified. Examples of such achievements include original and creative accomplishments within one or more academic disciplines or significant contributions to humankind's intellectual, cultural, commercial, aesthetic, social, or civic betterment. Honorary degrees will be awarded only on an occasional basis to individuals of special merit. Consequently, the number and frequency of such awards should reflect their distinctive character.

The Board of Trustees confers honorary degrees. Prior to conferring such degrees, it is the desire of the University Senate that the Board seek the recommendation of the university community through the Honorary Degree Screening Committee, the Senate Steering Committee and the President in the manner described below.

Initial screening of candidates for honorary degrees shall be done by an Honorary Degree Screening Committee. This committee will be a Senate standing committee and will consist of six faculty members and the Executive Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Provost (or designee), who will act as chair. The six faculty members will be appointed to staggered three-year terms by the Senate upon nomination by the Steering Committee.

Each fall the committee will invite nominations from all members of the university community. Letters of nomination should include a clear statement of the outstanding achievements of the individual that justify the conferral of the degree. Nominators may be contacted by the committee and asked to assist in providing additional biographical material and supporting documentation. In addition to receiving nominations and additional materials from the community, the committee may also solicit letters of nomination and develop additional leads. Nominations from such traditionally underrepresented groups as minorities and women are especially welcomed and encouraged. In developing its recommendations the committee may consult with other individuals or offices internal or external to the campus, as appropriate.


Eric Hemenway - Doctor of Arts
Camille Jayne - Doctor of Business
Bruce Miller - Doctor of Laws
Daniel Skovronsky - Doctor of Medicine

Glenn Ellis - Doctor of Science
Eugene Gargaro - Doctor of Humanities 
Donna Young - Doctor of Arts
Walter Young - Doctor of Arts
Wendel White - Doctor of Arts
Curtis Armstrong - Doctor of Arts
Michael Trese (Posthumously)* - Doctor of Science
Lainie Friedman Ross - Doctor of Humanities

Sarah Collins Rudolph - Doctor of Science
Steven Kahn - Doctor of Science
Dominic Moceri - Doctor of Arts

Kenneth Janke - Doctor of Science
Michael Kenny - Doctor of Humanities
Tom Kimble - Doctor of Humanities
Kathleen Ligocki - Doctor of Science
Dennis Pawley - Doctor of Arts
Patrick Scoggin (Posthumously)* - Doctor of Humanities

Najah Bazzy - Doctor of Humanities



Lori Blaker - Doctor of Science
Beth Gotthelf - Doctor of Humanities
David McMillan - Doctor of Humanities
Sheilah Clay - Doctor of Humanities
Joanne Danto - Doctor of Arts
Robert J. Gibbs - Doctor of Arts
Jayne Houdyshell - Doctor of Arts
J. Michael Kosterlitz - Doctor of Science
Sheldon Yellen - Doctor of Science

Gjertrud Schnackenberg -  Doctor of Humanities
John Van Camp - Doctor of Humanities
Gary Wozniak - Doctor of Humanities
Angela F. Braly, Doctor of Science
David T. Fischer, Doctor of Science
Robert Blake Theodore "Ted" Lindsay*, Doctor of Humanities

James A. Sharp, Jr.*, Doctor of Humanities

Ron A. May, Doctor of Science

Patti Finnegan Sharf, Doctor of Humanities

Curt Tofteland, Doctor of Humanities

Florine Mark*, Doctor of Humanities

Nancy Elliott, Doctor of Humanities

Joseph Travolta, Doctor of Arts

Ann V. Nicholson, Doctor of Humanities

Mary Fisher, Doctor of Humanities

Lana Pollack, Doctor of Laws

Terry M. Blackhawk, Doctor of Humanities

Gebran S. Anton, Doctor of Science

Sergio Marchionne*, Doctor of Science

Baroness Caroline Cox, Doctor of Humanities

Grace Lee Boggs*, Doctor of Humanities

R. Hugh Elliott, Doctor of Science

Margaret Allesee*, Doctor of Humanities



A.P.J. Abdul Kalam* ,Doctor of Science

N.R. Narayana Murthy, Doctor of Science

Henry W. "Hank" Jones, Jr.*, Doctor of Humanities
Stephan Sharf*, Doctor of Science

Doris Eaton Travis*, Doctor of Humanities
Carl Levin*, Doctor of Laws

Gordon England, Doctor of Science
Ashley Bryan*, Doctor of Humanities

William G. Milliken*, Doctor of Laws
Eugene A. Miller, Doctor of Humanities
C. R. Rao*, Doctor of Science

Damon Jerome Keith*, Doctor of Laws
David DiChiera*, Doctor of Arts
Thomas Lynch, Doctor of Humanities



John M. Engler, Doctor of Laws
Howard Birndorf, Doctor of Science


G. Mennen Williams*, Doctor of Laws

James J. Blanchard, Doctor of Laws
Marvin L. Katke*, Doctor of Humanities

Jin H. Kinoshita*, Doctor of Science
Helen G. Kyes, Doctor of Humanities
Donald D. O'Dowd, Doctor of Laws
Florine Trumbull, Doctor of Humanities



Harry Bober*, Doctor of Humanities
Harold A. Cousins*, Doctor of Laws
Kenneth A. Meade, Doctor of Science
Lew Ayres*, Doctor of Humanities

Wade H. McCree*, Jr., Doctor of Laws
Benjamin H. Anibal*, Doctor of Laws
Charles O. Hucker*, Doctor of Humanities
Edward J. Lundy*, Doctor of Laws

Leonard Woodcock*, Doctor of Laws
Gifford Scott, Doctor of Science
Sixten Ehrling*, Doctor of Musical Arts
Theodore Yntema*, Doctor of Laws
Leonard Spearman*, Doctor of Laws
N. L. Meredith, Doctor of Laws

Lorene L. Rogers*, Doctor of Science
Theordore J. Lowi*, Doctor of Humanities
Clifford L. Goad, Doctor of Laws

Myron Tribus*, Doctor of Science
Clifton R. Wharton, Doctor of Humanities
C.L.R. James*, Doctor of Humanities
William H. Baldwin Doctor of Laws

Durward Belmont Varner*, Doctor of Humanities



Henry Samuel Broudy*, Doctor of Humanities
John Alfred Hannah*, Doctor of Humanities|
Walter P. Reuther*, Doctor of Laws

Oscar Handlin*, Doctor of Humanities

William Thomas Gossett*, Doctor of Laws
Thomas Hale Hamilton*, Doctor of Humanities
David Riesman*, Doctor of Humanities

Roger M. Kyes*, Doctor of Laws
Franklin Stahl, Doctor of Science
Matthew S. Meselson, Doctor of Science
R. Sargent Shriver*, Doctor of Laws

John V. Lindsay*, Doctor of Laws
Meyer Schapiro*, Doctor of Humanities
Roy Wilkins*, Doctor of Laws

Stanley S. Kresge*, Doctor of Laws
Logan Wilson, Doctor of Laws

Harold A. Fitzgerald*, Doctor of Laws
Francis Keppel*, Doctor of Laws
Matilda R. Wilson*, Doctor of Humanities


Office of the Provost

Wilson Hall, Suite 3000
371 Wilson Boulevard
Rochester, MI 48309-4486
(location map)
(248) 370-2190