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The first United States honorary degree doctorate in sacred theology was conferred on President Increase Mather of Harvard more than 400 years ago, in 1692. In the centuries since then, the honorary doctoral degree has evolved to become a unique opportunity for institutions of higher education. Through the conferral of honorary degrees, universities can recognize and celebrate the outstanding scholarly, creative or public service achievements of extraordinary individuals.

West Virginia University continues this tradition annually by honoring selected individuals whose outstanding contributions are important to West Virginia University, to the people of the State of West Virginia, or to the nation. These individuals have achieved the highest standards of excellence and illuminate, advance, ease, and inspire the human condition.

Each fall, the university community is invited to nominate outstanding individuals for the Honorary Doctorate Degree at West Virginia University. Successful candidates will meet one of the criteria listed below. Many nominees meet several of these criteria, but please note that a nominee only need meet one criterion to be nominated for and to receive an honorary degree. Current employees of West Virginia University are not eligible to receive Honorary Degrees.

  • The nominee has attained national/international pre-eminence in their field.
  • The nominee has provided distinguished and pre-eminent leadership in society.
  • The nominee has a sustained record of extraordinary philanthropy to West Virginia University, and/or has supported the University substantially in various ways.


Nominations should be submitted according to the following format:

Honorary Degree Nomination Form

For questions regarding Honorary Degrees at WVU, please contact:

Lory Osborn 
Office of the Provost 
West Virginia University 
P.O. Box 6203 
Morgantown, WV 26506