SUNY Honorary Degrees

aerial view of south campus.

For our University at Buffalo community, the awarding of honorary degrees is a profound expression of our university’s commitment to pursuing a rigorous course of excellence across the disciplines.  By honoring those exemplary individuals whose achievements and contributions embody our university’s highest ideals of personal and professional excellence and service, we reaffirm our commitment to these ideals and their important role in guiding our academic enterprise.

Candidates for these degrees, therefore, must be selected with great care and deliberation.  Nominations forwarded to the System-level must be the product of an objective and rigorous campus review." Nominations for SUNY Honorary Degrees must be routed through each department or unit selection committee. Nominations must come forward through this process to the local campus committee just as units do for SUNY Distinguished ranks.

Appropriate nominees will be distinguished by their extraordinary personal achievements and contributions, and their firm commitment to UB’s highest ideals for service and leadership.  Further, special care should be taken to demonstrate why the University at Buffalo, rather than any other SUNY institution, is most appropriate to confer this award upon the nominee.  Eligible candidates should be characterized by their statewide, national/international stature and whose accomplishments have impacted the University at Buffalo and Western New York communities, as well as on communities beyond our university and region.

Limitations on Eligibility

1. Except under unique and unusual circumstances, honorary degrees shall not be awarded to:

a. Members of the SUNY Board of Trustees, the Councils at the State-operated campuses, the Board of Trustees of the State University College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and the Board of Trustees of the community colleges during their terms of service.

b. Members of the teaching or administrative staff, or any other employee in the SUNY system while employed by SUNY.

c. Current holders of New York elective public office or active candidates for elective public office.

Supporting materials to accompany the nomination form should thoroughly substantiate the claim that the nominee is an exceptional candidate for the recognition.  Appropriate supporting materials include the candidate’s curriculum vitae and biographical information, as well as lists of major awards and reviews and articles regarding the nominee’s work. Limited to 10 pages.

Complete nomination packets should be submitted to the Honorary Degree Committee in digital format as a single PDF file and may be delivered via email to the Office for Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs at

Contact the Office for Faculty Affairs for additional instructional/procedural materials.