The Honorary Degrees Committee’s primary role is to consider nominations for honorary degrees and make recommendations to the Senate. Ultimate approval of decisions on whether to offer honorary degrees to a particular candidate rests with the Senate.

The Committee meets bi-annually, in October and April/May, with its recommendations being considered by the Senate at its November and June meetings. Occasionally nominations are considered by circulation.

The Honorary Degrees Committee also, from time to time, reviews the University’s practices and procedures in regard to honorary degrees and makes recommendations to the Senate, as appropriate.

REMIT

The Honorary Degrees Committee’s primary role is to consider nominations for honorary degrees and make recommendations to the Senate. Ultimate approval of decisions on whether to offer honorary degrees to a particular candidate rests with the Senate.

The Honorary Degrees Committee also, from time to time, reviews the University’s practices and procedures in regard to honorary degrees and makes recommendations to the Senate, as appropriate.

COMPOSITION & MEMBERSHIP

Composition and Quorum

Convener

  • Principal

Membership:

  • Senior Vice-Principal
  • Vice-Principal (Education)
  • Vice-Principal (Research)
  • Vice-Principal (Regional Engagement and Regional Recovery)
  • University Secretary
  • Public Relations Representative
  • 12 Members of the Senate, on a gender balanced basis, appointed by the Senate Business Committee for a four year term of office
  • President of the Students' Association

Quorum: 50%

Membership

Name

Role

George Boyne

Chair

Karl Leydecker

Senior Vice-Principal

Ruth Taylor 

Vice-Principal

Marion Campbell

Vice-Principal

Richard Wells

Vice-Principal

Tracey Slaven

University Secretary

Alex Ross

Public Relations

Cecilia Wallback

Students Association President

Samantha Miller

(until September 2022) (on Senate until 2024)

 Vacant

 

 Vacant

 

 Vacant

 

 Vacant

 

 Vacant

 

Neil Vargesson

(until September 2021)  (on Senate until 2024 and Senate Assessor until 2023)

Ilia Xypolia

(until September 2022)  (on Senate until 2022)

 Vacant

(until September 2021) (on Senate until 2020)

Scott Styles

(until September 2022)  (on Senate until 2022)

Frauke Jürgensen

(until September 2022) (on Senate until (2022)

Katie Gillies

(until September 2023) (on Senate until 2022)

Rachael Bernard

Clerk

ATTENDANCE
Name Role
George Boyne Principal and Convener
Karl Leydecker Senior Vice-Principal
Steve Cannon University Secretary
Ruth Taylor Vice-Principal (Teaching)
Marion Campbell Vice-Principal (Research)
Richard Wells Vice-Principal (International Partnerships)
Cecilia Wallback Student President
Katie Gillies Member of Senate
Samantha Miller Member of Senate
Vacant Member of Senate
Vacant Member of Senate
Vacant Member of Senate
Vacant Member of Senate
Neil Vargesson Member of Senate
Ilia Xypolia Member of Senate
Vacant Member of Senate
Scott Styles Member of Senate
Frauke Jurgensen Member of Senate
Rachael Bernard Clerk

 

PROCEDURE FOR THE AWARD OF HONORARY DEGREES

Honorary degrees are conferred by decision and authority of the Senatus Academicus. No award of an honorary degree may be made without the express consent of the Senatus Academicus.

The procedure is in three stages: 1. A nomination by a member of University staff, 2. Consideration by the Honorary Degrees Committee (HDC) and 3 Approval by vote of the Senatus Academicus.

1.  NOMINATION

Any member of the University staff may nominate a candidate for the award of an honorary degree by completing and submitting the appropriate nomination form.

As part of its diversity, equality and inclusion agenda, the University is particularly keen to see nominations for honorary degrees for women and for members of other under-represented groups.

 

2.  CONSIDERATION BY THE HONORARY DEGREES COMMITTEE

All nominations shall be considered by the Senate Honorary Degrees Committee (HDC). The HDC shall consult with all the Heads of School and also with the Chancellor and the Senior Governor regarding the merits of the persons nominated. The HDC may also make whatever further consultations it considers appropriate.

After considering any responses it receives the HDC shall decide if it considers that a candidate is suitable for the award of an honorary degree. If the HDC does decide that a candidate is suitable for the award of an honorary degree, that recommendation shall be confidentially communicated to the Senatus Academicus.

 

3.  APPROVAL BY VOTE OF SENATE

Not less than 10 days before the next meeting of the Senatus Academicus all members will be confidentially informed by the HDC of the names and details of the candidates recommended for honorary degrees.

 

Members will be invited to confidentially inform the Principal, in his capacity as Convenor of the Honorary Degrees Committee, of any serious and pressing ground why a candidate may not be suitable for the award of an honorary degree. If the Principal receives any such objections he shall consult with the members of the HDC as to whether it is appropriate to withdraw a nomination. If it is decided by the HDC to withdraw a candidate’s nomination, then the members of Senate shall be informed of that decision and that candidate’s name shall not be voted on at Senate.

At the subsequent plenary meeting of the Senatus Academicus confidential votes of all senate members present will be held on whether or not to award an honorary degree to the candidates submitted to it.  A simple majority of those senators present, and voting, shall suffice for a nomination to be confirmed.

The proposer of any candidate for an honorary degree shall be confidentially informed of the outcome of this process.

LIST OF HONORARY DEGREES

The following criteria should be used to ensure the award of the appropriate honorary degree for the appropriate achievement:

Appropriate degree

Doctor of the University (DUniv)**: persons prominent in the arts, sport, public service, environmental protection, cultural heritage and private enterprise.

Doctor of Divinity (DD)* (formerly DHC): i. distinguished scholars of religion and theology and ii. distinguished ministers, priests and other religious leaders.

Doctor of Laws (LLD): i. distinguished legal scholars, ii distinguished legal practitioners including lawyers, distinguished judges and iii. distinguished former elected members of the British, Scottish and other democratic parliaments (as all legislators are law makers)  

Doctor of Medicine (MD)*: distinguished medical academics, researchers and practitioners [Currently available by thesis but not yet available h.c.]

Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)*: distinguished dental researchers and practitioners [NOT YET AVAILABLE]

Doctor of Letters (DLitt): i. distinguished scholars in the arts and social sciences and ii. distinguished writers, directors and actors.

Doctor of Science (DSc): distinguished scientists and mathematicians.

Doctor of Music (DMus): i. distinguished scholars of music, ii. distinguished composers, musicians and singers.

Doctor of Education (DEd)*: distinguished scholars of education, distinguished school teachers and administrators. [NOT YET AVAILABLE]

Doctor of Engineering (DEng)*:  distinguished scholars of engineering and distinguished professional engineers [NOT YET AVAILABLE

Master of the University (MUniv):  for those who have made important contributions to the success of the University, to the local community, and/or to the Region. To be awarded in any area of endeavour.

* Subject to resolution

 

CRITERIA FOR THE AWARD OF HONORARY DEGREES

PURPOSE OF HONORARY DEGREES

The University’s Foundational Purpose is “To be open to all and dedicated to the pursuit of truth in the service of others.

The award of an honorary degree by the University of Aberdeen is one traditional and appropriate means by which the University seeks to continue to achieve its Foundational Purpose and its educational mission within Aberdeen, Scotland and the world.  By the award of such degrees the University seeks to promote learning and community by honouring outstanding individuals and to create enduring ties of affection between the University and the honorand.

 

THE UNIVERSITY’S CORE VALUES

The University places great importance on the values of diversity, equality, and inclusion as well as on the values of freedom of expression and of freedom of academic, religious, political and moral belief.

Honorary degrees shall only be given to persons who share the University’s core values.

An honorary degree may be withdrawn by the University if an honorary graduate acts in a way fundamentally incompatible with the University’s core values. Degrees will only be withdrawn after the process set down by the Senatus Academicus for this have been observed by the University.

 

GENERAL UNIVERSITY CRITERIA FOR THE AWARD OF AN HONORARY DEGREE

Honorary degrees shall be awarded in accordance with the following criteria, which should be seen as alternative, rather than cumulative.

The award of honorary degrees seeks to recognise and honour excellence and high achievements in:

  1. Teaching, learning and scholarship in any academic discipline.
  2. The creative and performing arts.
  3. Athletics and sports.
  4. Public service.
  5. The promotion of human welfare and human rights. 
  6. Private enterprise.
  7. Philanthropy
  8. Outstanding service to the University of Aberdeen

 

University and Community Connections

In any of the above areas it is especially appropriate that the University recognise outstanding achievements by its alumni and staff and by persons who have lived or worked in the City of Aberdeen or the North-East of Scotland. However, an existing link to the University, Aberdeen or the North-East of Scotland is not a pre-requisite for the award of an honorary degree if a potential honorand satisfies the University Criteria for The Award of an Honorary Degree set out above.

 

Political Service

The University does not normally award honorary degrees to serving UK politicians, although retired politicians may well be considered, as politics is an important form of public service.

 

University Staff

An honorary degree may be an appropriate recognition for a former member of staff who has satisfied the criteria of excellence or service according set out above.  Members of staff may be considered for the award of a degree of Master of the University for their exceptional service to the University where that is thought appropriate. 

 

Members of the University Court and of the Senior Management Team

Honorary doctorates may be conferred on former members of the University Court or on former members of the Senior Management team who have satisfied the criteria of excellence or service set out above.  Former members of these bodies may be considered for the award of a degree of Master of the University for their exceptional service on Court or in Senior Management where that is thought appropriate.