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Spelman College Commencement

Honorary Degree Nominations

An honorary degree is one of the most prestigious honors the College can bestow on an individual. This degree recognizes their exceptional achievement or distinction in a field or activity consistent with the mission of Spelman.

The Honorary Degree Committee is currently soliciting nominations of individuals eligible to receive an honorary degree.  Eligible candidates who are endorsed by the faculty and approved by the Board of Trustees will be added to the list of approved honorary degree candidates.

We encourage you to nominate those persons:
  • of unusual ability, who have distinguished themselves within their profession
  • whose accomplishments are of national and/or international note, particularly in areas which improve the human condition
  • whose lives have had a significant impact on Spelman College

Submission Procedures

To be considered complete, your nomination must:
  • be submitted using the Honorary Degree Nomination Form
  • include appropriate biographical information, a curriculum vitae, or resume if available; and
  • if warranted, additional supporting documentation
Nominations should be submitted to the Office of the Board of Trustees via email at or by campus mail:

Spelman College
Office of the Board of Trustees
350 Spelman Lane
P.O. Box 1701
Atlanta, GA 30314

Submission Deadline: To Be Announced


Candidates and Past Honorees


Past recipients are not eligible to receive an additional honorary degree, and it is not necessary to nominate candidates already on the approved list as they will automatically be considered.

Please note: Honorary degrees are not awarded posthumously.

Past Honorary Degree Recipients

This list includes Honorary Degree 
recipients from 1977 to Present

Honorary Degree Approved List

This list includes candidates who have been approved, but degrees have not been awarded.

Review Procedures

All completed nominations that are received by the deadline will be forwarded to the Honorary Degree Committee for review to ensure each nominee meets the stated criteria. All eligible nominees will then be presented to the faculty for a vote. A list of candidates endorsed by a majority of the voting faculty will be presented to the Board of Trustees for approval at the fall board meeting. President Gayle will select the 2023 honorary degree recipients from the list of approved candidates, in consultation with the Honorary Degree Committee and the Office of Alumnae Affairs.

Final Selection Process

Each year several factors are taken into consideration in the final selection process for any given year including:
  • candidates’ disciplinary affiliation;
  • availability; and
  • relevancy to current events and institutional priorities. 
Candidates on the approved list who are not selected in a given year will remain on the list for consideration in the future. 

We look forward to your participation in this important process.