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UK Graduate School seeks nominations for 2023 honorary doctoral degrees

photo of December 2019 Commencement with flags on the platform where speakers and deans are sitting and President Capilouto at the podium
Pete Comparoni | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 16, 2022) — The University Joint Committee on Honorary Degrees (UJCHD) is currently seeking nomination packages for candidates of honorary doctoral degrees to be awarded at the university’s commencement ceremonies in May 2023. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022. 

Nominations may be made by faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of the University of Kentucky. The selection committee will follow the criteria, principles and guidelines approved by the University Senate and Board of Trustees. 

The nomination package must include a primary letter of nomination, at least two letters of support and the nominee’s bio (or resume or CV). 

The titles and definitions of honorary degrees are listed below: 

  • Honorary Doctor of Arts — To recognize extraordinary accomplishments in the creative arts, fine arts, performing arts or related fields. 
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws — To recognize extraordinary accomplishments in law, politics, governance, diplomacy or related fields. 
  • Honorary Doctor of Science — To recognize extraordinary accomplishments in scientific fields. 
  • Honorary Doctor of Engineering — To recognize extraordinary accomplishments in engineering, design, technology or related fields. 
  • Honorary Doctor of Humanities — To recognize extraordinary accomplishments in the humanities. 
  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters — To recognize extraordinary contributions to philanthropy, human development, education or societal well-being. 

An honorary doctorate pays tribute to those whose life and work exemplify professional, intellectual or artistic achievement by recognizing and appreciating those who have made significant contributions to society, the state and the University of Kentucky. 

For complete criteria and directions on the nomination process, please visit the Graduate School’s Honorary Doctoral Degrees webpage

The list of previous honorary degrees awarded, dating back to 1886, can be viewed here

Please direct any questions to Martha Peterson, chair of the UJCHD, at, or the facilitator of the nomination process, Morris Grubbs, at

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.