Aerial view of campus


The University of Iowa, with the approval of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, confers Honorary Degrees to individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary achievements in such areas as research, scholarship, education, artistic creation, social activism, human rights, humanitarian outreach, or as recognized by the faculty as being consistent with the values of higher education. Honorary Degree Policy

Honorary degrees may be conferred at commencement ceremonies in the appropriate college or at University convocations. Honorary degrees normally will be conferred only when the honoree is present. On rare and unusual occasions an honorary degree may be conferred in absentia.

Selection Committee

The Honorary Degree Selection Committee is comprised of eight faculty members from various departments. The complete list can be found on our Selection Committee Page.


Nominations may come from colleges or from individual faculty members. If a nomination comes from an individual, the Honorary Degree Selection Committee will consult with the appropriate faculty before recommending any nominee for an honorary degree.  Committee recommendations must be approved by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. 

Nomination packets should be coordinated through one individual then submitted to the Honorary Degree Committee in care of Evalyn Van Allen-Shalash, Office of the Provost, 111 Jessup Hall, via email attachment to

What to Include

Nomination packets should include:

A one- to two-page letter of nomination outlining the nominee's achievements, which must include:

  • A clear statement of the category of the nominee's achievements (e.g., research, humanitarian outreach, etc);
  • A description of the nature of the nominee's achievements and how these achievements are "extraordinary" and "sustained" over an entire career.

Four, and only four, letters of support.

  • At least two of the four letters must come from faculty members of the appropriate college.
  • Letters of support are limited to two pages.

Nominations that do not meet these requirements will not be considered.

For more details on nominations, see or contact Evalyn Van Allen-Shalash at 319-335-0142.