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Honorary Degree Recipients and Commencement Speakers


Recognizing that Commencement is a formal public celebration for students, trustees, faculty, staff, families, friends and the civic community, awarding honorary degrees and inviting persons to be Commencement speakers serve as sources of celebration and inspiration.

Attentive to its Catholic heritage and purpose, Saint Xavier University awards honorary degrees and extends invitations to persons to be Commencement speakers whose values and accomplishments in their field of endeavor are consistent with the mission, core values and ideals of the University.

The University will consider individuals for an honorary degree and/or to serve as a Commencement speaker who have achieved a public, persistent and positive presence in the enterprise of advancing a higher culture.

The University values especially superior teaching, artistic expression, intellectual rigor, service to the poor and encouragement of religious faith. It holds in high regard the liberal arts and sciences, the professions and a special interest in women and children. Honorary degrees or invitations to be Commencement speakers will not be given to individuals who advocate views that conflict with the mission and core values of the University.

Decisions to award honorary degrees usually should be separated from decisions about who should deliver Commencement addresses. Individuals may receive honorary degrees without giving a formal address or speak without receiving an honorary degree.

The process for nominating candidates for an honorary degree and the selection of Commencement speakers is staffed by the Office of the President and monitored by the Trusteeship Committee of the Board of Trustees.

Members of the Board of Trustees are invited annually to suggest candidates for honorary degrees and Commencement speakers. In addition, faculty, staff, students and the administration may assist in the nomination of candidates by recommending individuals via the Honorary Degree and Commencement Speaker form.


The following criteria are provided so that those making the nominations will supply specific examples to support the following general statements:

  1. Honorary degrees and invitations to serve as Commencement speakers should be given only to individuals who have compiled an extended record of exemplary accomplishments in their chosen field or in service to society.
  2. Consideration should be given not only to the achievements of the individual, but also to the manner of accomplishing those achievements and to the "ripple effect" that the individual has on social welfare, the faith community, and the world.
  3. All fields of endeavor may be considered, but the University will give preference to those fields of endeavor that reflect the mission and core values of SXU.
  4. Preference should be given to candidates who specifically reflect the mission and core values of the University and the Sisters of Mercy.
  5. Ordinarily, the awarding of an honorary degree should be part of a long-term plan for cultivation and engagement of the recipient.
  6. There should be a reasonable chance that the nominee will accept the honorary degree and/or be the Commencement speaker.
  7. Ordinarily, elected government officials in the United States, whether at the federal, state, county or local level -- shall not be eligible for consideration during their term of office or if they are announced and filed candidates for elected office.
  8. An honorary degree may be given posthumously.
  9. Candidates for an honorary degree cannot be employed members or voting trustees of the University.
  10. Ordinarily, the following honorary degrees may be granted:


    Doctor of Humanities Doctor of Laws
    Doctor of Education Doctor of Arts and Letters
    Doctor of Science Doctor of Public Service
    Doctor of Theology Doctor of Business Administration



Those nominating a candidate for an honorary degree and/or Commencement speaker will be asked to provide a short statement indicating the reasons for the nomination in relation to the criteria.

The Office of the President:

  1. Makes an initial decision on each nomination as to the adequacy of the background information on the individual.
  2. Brings forward nominees for consideration by the Trusteeship Committee.
  3. Upon agreement by the full Board, contacts the individual to determine if the candidate will accept the degree and/or serve as Commencement Speaker.
  4. Makes the formal announcement regarding who will receive the honorary degree and/or serve as Commencement speaker.
  5. Follows the established protocol for communicating with the recipient and/or speaker prior to the Commencement ceremony.

The Trusteeship Committee:

  1. Reviews each complete nomination in relation to the criteria listed above.
  2. Recommends its final selections to the full Board. All trustees maintain confidentiality.
  3. The Board of Trustees authorizes the President to grant the honorary degree.

Honorary degree recipients will be reimbursed for legitimate travel and expenses, but normally will not be offered an honorarium or appearance fee.

Prior Honorary Degree Recipients


Mr. Andrew Holmes
Kimbriell R. Kelly '97


Mr. Timothy G. Trahey '82, MBA


Mrs. Mary Clare Loftus '65, RN, M.Ed.


The Honorable Terrence A. Duffy
Most Reverend Gerald F. Kicanas, D.D., Ph.D.


Ms. Maudlyne Ihejirika
Mr. Kenneth W. Lukhard


R. Scott Appleby, Ph.D.
Carolyn Y. Woo, Ph.D.


Reverend L. Scott Donahue
Mr. George Wendt


Dr. Jason Canner
Mr. James Reynolds Jr., M.S.F.


Ms. Barbara Byrd-Bennett
Sister Lillian Murphy, R.S.M.


Reverend Donald A. Doll, S.J.
Mr. Edward D. Maloney


Sister Marilyn Lacey, R.S.M.
Dr. Courtney H. Lyder
Dr. Joseph Parisi


Most Reverend Moses B. Anderson, S.S.E.
Mr. Dominic Belmonte
Mr. Michael Carroll
Mr. Sidney Finkel
Mr. Donald Paul Hahn


Reverend Michael M. Boland
Sister Lois Graver, R.S.M.
Dr. Jeanette Rodriguez
Mr. Larry R. Rogers Sr.
The Honorable Virginia A. Rugai


Mr. Richard H. Driehaus
Sister Mary Aquin O'Neill, R.S.M.
Mr. Robert Stump
Mrs. Mary Rita Stump


Mrs. Margaret Corbett Daley
Sister Sharon Ann Euart, R.S.M.
Mr. James J. McDonough
Mr. James J. O'Connor
Mr. Elie Wiesel


Mr. Norman R. Bobins
Sister Ana Maria Pineda, R.S.M.
General Colin L. Powell (Ret.)
Mr. Warner Saunders


Sister Rosemary Connelly, R.S.M.


Ms. Margaret T.G. Burroughs
Sister Margaret A. Farley, R.S.M.
Mr. Norman C. Francis


Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.


Mr. Richard E. Terry


Mr. James T. Joyce
Mr. Jack Simmerling


Mr. Ramsey Lewis
Sister Christian Molidor, R.S.M.
Reverend John J. Wall


Mr. Marshall B. Front
Mr. Arthur R. Velasquez


Mr. Bernard L. Downey
Ms. Mary Houghton
Dr. Janet D. Rowley
Mr. Brian O. Shannon


Mr. Robert E. Hord Sr.
Mr. David S. Logan
Dr. Elaine M. Schuster
Mr. Christopher Zorich


Ms. Tracy Chapman
Dr. Muhammad Yunus


Sister Doris Gottemoeller, R.S.M.
Dr. David Tracy


Sister Alice Gallin, O.S.U.
Mr. Michael Novak
Mr. Martin Ozinga Jr.


Mr. Frank W. Considine
Ms. Mary Gordon
Mr. William A. McIntosh


Ms. Eppie Lederer
Mr. Frank W. Luerssen
Dr. Garry Wills


Dr. Leon Lederman
Mr. Andrew J. McKenna
Ms. Kathy Osterman


Monsignor Ignatius D. McDermott
Dr. Donna Shalala
Mr. Jerrold Wexler


Mr. John F. Cuneo Jr.
Dr. Martin E. Marty
Mrs. Jayne C. Thompson


Mr. Lester Crown
Mr. Anthony DeSantis
Monsignor John J. Egan
Mrs. Maria T. Paschen


Joseph Cardinal Bernardin
Ms. Margaret Hillis
Mr. Arturo Velasquez


Mrs. Marjorie C. Benton
Mr. Robert W. Galvin
Honorable Daniel P. Moynihan


Mr. Wallace E. Carroll
Ms. Ardis Krainik
Sister Sheila Lyne, R.S.M.


Sister Mary Brian Costello, R.S.M.
Mr. Arthur Rubloff
Mr. Jonathan E. Schell


Mrs. Gwendolyn Brooks
Archbishop Dom Helder Camara
Mr. A. N. Pritzker


Mr. William B. Graham
Most Reverend John R. Roach, D.D.
Dr. Rosemary R. Ruether


Dr. Edmund D. Pellegrino


Mr. Thomas A. Lewis


Mr. Donald O'Toole
Mr. Marvin G. Osborn Jr.


Ms. Esther Garrison
Honorable Edith Green
Mr. R. Sargent Shriver


Mrs. Eleanor Daley
Dr. Gertrude Engbring


Very Reverend John E. Marr, O.P.
Mother M. Huberta McCarthy, R.S.M.
Mr. Peter M. Shannon
Mr. Thomas J. Walsh
Mother M. Regina Cunningham, R.S.M.


Honorable Richard J. Daley
Mr. Benjamin F. Lindheimer
Mr. Charles F. Murphy
Mr. Morgan Murphy


Ms. Laura B. Corbett


Ms. Mary Amberg
Ms. Marie Plamondon