Board of Regents Policy 5.209 Board of Regents Policy 5.209


Honorary Degrees and Regents’ Medals, and University Distinguished Professor


Regents Policy Chapter 5, Academic Affairs
Regents Policy RP 5.209, Honorary Degrees and Regents’ Medals, and University Distinguished Professor
Effective Date:  Nov. 17, 2005
Prior Dates Amended:  Oct. 20, 1978; Apr. 3, 1980; Nov. 16, 1984; June 18, 1993; Oct. 18, 2002; Oct. 31, 2014 (recodified)
Review Date:  August 2018

I. Purpose

To set forth policy regarding honorary degrees, regents’ medals, and University Distinguished Professor.

II. Definitions

No policy specific or unique definitions apply.

III. Board of Regents Policy

    A. Honorary Degrees

        1. The board may confer honorary degrees to individuals in accordance with the criteria and conditions established below:

            a. The candidate must be distinguished with the equivalent of a national or international reputation. Scholarship, the arts, public service, the professions, and business and industry are examples of general areas in which distinguished accomplishments may warrant the award of an honorary degree by the university.

            b. Service of benefaction to the university does not in itself provide justification for the award of an honorary degree. The candidate must be distinguished in some appropriate field.

            c. Honorary degrees shall not be awarded to members of the board or to active employees of the university, nor to former employees of the university until at least one year after the date of retirement or separation, except that the board may confer an honorary degree to an employee if the justification for the award is based substantially on extraordinary achievements clearly external to the individual’s employment at the university.

            d. Honorary degrees shall not be awarded to individuals holding elective office in and from the State of Hawai‘i for a period of at least one year after retirement or separation.

            e. Academic degrees earned after a prescribed course of study normally are not awarded as honorary degrees.

            f. An honorary degree is awarded by the university as a whole rather than by a campus on which the conferral shall take place; therefore, more than one university honorary degree shall not be awarded to any individual.

            g. Academic ceremonies at which honorary degrees may be conferred are university celebrations, commencement ceremonies, inaugurations and special convocations when authorized by the president. Usually, only one honorary degree will be awarded at each ceremony.

        2. The president is authorized to promulgate, in consultation with the board, appropriate procedures for the nomination and review of individuals to be considered for the award of honorary degrees. All honorary degrees shall be awarded by the board or by the president at the direction of the board.

    B. Regents’ Medal of Distinction and Regent’s Medal

        1. The Regents’ Medal of Distinction may be conferred at the discretion of the board on individuals of exceptional accomplishment and distinction who have made significant contributions to the university, state, region, or nation, or within their field of endeavor.

        2. The Regents’ Medal may be conferred on other individuals for whom the board desires to show high esteem.

        3. The awarding of the Regent’ Medal of Distinction and the Regents’ Medal shall be separate from ceremonies associated with honorary degrees and shall be at a site and time selected by the board and the president.

    C. University Distinguished Professor

        1. The title “University Distinguished Professor” is conferred as an honorary designation upon an individual outside the university faculty and staff, whose affiliation would enhance the university’s stature and significantly contribute to its development. Conferred for life, this title is reserved for those scholars who have achieved national and international distinction as a result of their exceptional contributions to their academic discipline and their outstanding scholarly attainment. This title is awarded by the Board of Regents upon the recommendation of the president of the university.

        2. The president shall promulgate policies and procedures regarding matters such as eligibility criteria, and selection, recognition and privileges afforded designees.

IV. Delegation of Authority

The president is authorized to promulgate, in consultation with the board, appropriate and may so award honorary degrees at the direction of the board.  See RP 5.209(A)(2).

V. Contact Information

Office of the Board of Regents, 956-8213,

VI. References

VII. Exhibits and Appendices

No Exhibits and Appendices found


    Approved as to Form:    
    Cynthia Quinn    
    October 31, 2014    
    Executive Administrator and Secretary of the Board of Regents


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