Professional News

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

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.