Honorary Degree

An honorary degree is recognized as one of education’s most significant accolades. WMU intends to award honorary degrees on a selective basis to exemplary individuals who merit distinguished recognition for genuine achievement and contribution within a field or activity that aligns with our core mission.

There are specific qualifications for candidacy and nominations will be vetted by the honorary degree committee.


 To read the Policy, as well as the Guidelines and Procedures for the honorary degree committee, please visit the link below.


 History and Purpose

In 1944, WMU President, Paul V. Sangren awarded the first honorary degree. Since then, it has become a tradition that we recognize persons of exceptional scholarly, artistic, professional or humanitarian achievement who exemplify the mission of Western Michigan University and whose career or lifetime accomplishments serve as models of University ideals and aspirations for its students, faculty, staff and alumni.

Honorary degrees conferred

  • Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa (L.H.D.), given to persons with outstanding achievement in the humanities.
  • Doctor of Science, honoris causa (Sc.D.), given to persons with outstanding contributions to and service in the sciences.
  • Doctor of Letters, honoris causa (Litt.D.), given to outstanding scholars in specific disciplines, exclusive of the sciences and humanities.
  • Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (L.L.D.), given to persons with outstanding service to humankind at large, to learning, and/or institutions benefiting the public. 

Read about previous honorees Recent Honoree