18.05 – Honorary Degree Awards

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Scope: NMSU System

Source: ARP Chapter 18 | Community and Governmental Relations

Responsible Executive: President

Responsible Administrator:

Last Updated: 11/14/2017



RPM 18.00 - Advancement

Revision History:

11/14/2017 Amendment approved by Chancellor
2017 Recompilation, formerly 6.75 B–G
06/21/2012 Amendment approved by Board of Regents
05/03/2012 Amendment passed by Faculty Senate
10/22/2007 Amendment ratified by Board of Regents
10/09/2007 Amendment approved by Administrative Council


The Board of Regents of New Mexico State University is the entity authorized by law to confer the various type of degrees and certificates earned by the university’s students.  The Board of Regents also awards Honorary Degrees from time to time.  Pursuant to the authority granted in RPM 18.00, this rule establishes the process for nomination, selection and award of the Honorary Degree recipients.



  1. Definition of Honorary Degree: Honorary Degrees are ceremonial degrees approved by the Board of Regents to formally honor individuals whose accomplishments have brought honor or recognition to the university, or who have otherwise significantly contributed to New Mexico State University, including its community colleges, the local community, the state, or the nation. Honorary Degrees awarded by doctoral granting units will be designated as honorary doctoral degrees or may be undesignated.  Honorary Degrees awarded by the community colleges will be undesignated.
  2. Notification to Nominee: Honorary degrees must be approved by the Board of Regents prior to official notification to the selected nominee.
  3. Exclusion of Incumbents: No current faculty, staff, student or official of NMSU, nor any currently serving elected official, should receive an Honorary Degree; however, with a unanimous vote of the Board of Regents, this restriction may be waived.
  4. Honorary Distinction: To maintain prestige and distinction of the award, Honorary Degrees shall be limited in number.
  5. Presentation: Honorary degrees are generally presented during commencement ceremonies, but may be presented at a special ceremony or at another appropriate time approved by the chancellor.



  1. Compliance with Guiding Principles: The nomination and selection process must be conducted consistent with the guiding principles set forth above.
  2. Nomination:  A letter of nomination may be submitted by any interested party to the attention of the vice president of university advancement, with a copy to the chancellor. Nominations should include relevant supporting documentation. Other candidates may be identified by the chancellor, any regent or the vice president for advancement without formal nomination.
  3. Review: The vice president for advancement will lead the process for review and recommendation, and will consult with an informal advisory committee consisting of the chancellor, at least one regent designated by the chair of the Board of Regents, and for an Honorary Degree to be awarded by one of the community colleges, the president of that community college.  At the discretion of the vice president for advancement, additional members may be named to the advisory committee.
  4. Recommendation: The chancellor together with the vice president for university advancement will recommend the nominees for this honor to the Board of Regents, and will specify whether the Honorary Degree is to be designated an Honorary Doctorate or undesignated.
  5. Approval: Upon approval by the Board of Regents, the Honorary Degree may be awarded.  Any certificate or documentation of the award should clearly indicate the honorary nature of the degree.