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Durham University

Ceremonies Unit

Principles for Honorary Awards

The following principles have been drawn up by the Senate Advisory Panel on Ceremonies and Honorary Degrees to assist with the task of making a recommendation to Senate of a number of candidates to be given honorary awards from the University each year:

1. The University confers honorary awards to promote the University's values and public role.

2. Honourees should reflect the diversity of the regional, national and international communities that we serve and influence and embody the University's ethos of inclusion, valuing and embracing difference.

3. (a) Honorary Doctorates should be awarded to individuals who already hold an undergraduate or postgraduate award. An Honorary Masters degree should normally be awarded to individuals without a degree.

(b) An Honorary Masters degree can also be proposed for retired non-academic staff who have made an exceptional and sustained contribution to the University and/or community beyond the requirements of their post.

(c) A Chancellor's Medal can be proposed for members of academic staff with a distinguished employment history at Durham, who have made outstanding and continuing contributions to their discipline and the University.

(d) The Dunelmensis Award can be proposed for alumnus/a who have demonstrated a dedicated and prolonged service to the University.

4. Honorary Degrees should be given to individuals who meet one of the following criteria:

  • The very highest standards of scholarship.
  • A long and meritorious service of national and international impact.

5. The Chancellor's Medal should be given to individuals who meet all the following criteria:

  • Members of academic staff with a distinguished employment history at Durham University.
  • Have made outstanding and continuing contributions to research and education above and beyond normal expectations.
  • Continue to enhance the University's reputation nationally and internationally.

6. The Dunelmensis Award should be given to individuals who meet all the following criteria:

  • Alumnus or alumna of Durham University.
  • Have demonstrated meritorious and exceptional service in support of the University in a voluntary capacity.
  • Participation in Durham's institutional advancement activities.
  • Evidence of enhancing the University's reputation nationally and internationally.

7. All nominations will be considered fairly, without discrimination on the basis of age, disability, gender reassignemnt, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and/or belief, sex or sexual orientation.

8. As a guide, six Honorary Degrees, two Chancellor's Medals and one Dunelmensis Award will normally be conferred during the course of a calendar year.

9. There should be a balance over a period of time of the various disciplines or professions recognised by the award of Honorary Degrees.

10. Honorary Degrees should not be conferred upon active UK politicians.

11. Eligibility to make nominations for honorary awards is restricted to current members of University staff.

12. Nominations for honorary degrees should also include the proposal of an Orator who will produce, with assistance from the Communications Office as required, and deliver a speech about the candidate at the Congregation ceremony.

13. The conferment of an honorary degree or Chancellor's Medal will normally occur within three years of the issue of an invitation or, if this time has elapsed, a new nomination must be submitted to the Panel for re-consideration.