Honorary Degrees
1918 - Present

SMU Honorary Degree Recipients
Timeline and Role of the Faculty Host(s)

This is a simple timeline and basic summary of the roles and responsibilities of SMU Faculty Hosts for honorary degree recipients traditionally awarded at May Commencement. The nominator becomes the faculty host when the individual they nominated is fully approved by the University to receive the honorary degree and the nominated individual has officially accepted the offer to receive it at spring graduation.

Mid-January (Four months prior to May Commencement)

  1. Once nominees accept, and the Chair of the Honorary Degree Committee files copies of the citations with the Office of the Registrar - Director of Academic Ceremonies during the same month, Faculty Hosts should make contact with the person(s) they nominated and introduce themselves. The host should also have initial conversations regarding a possible symposia with the guest of honor (if not done so already) and discuss any other academic-related activities of interest for the day(s) before commencement.

Early-February (at the latest)

  1. The Provost calls and leads a meeting for all those involved in the plans for current year honorary degree recipients, which includes the Faculty Hosts. At this meeting all the details are discussed the hosts are involved in planning, such as the symposia arrangements and timing, transportation for the honored guests, publicity items and timelines (in collaboration with SMU Marketing and Communications), securing a recent professional photo for the Commencement website and most recent biography for ceremony program, etc.

March (Two months prior to May Commencement)

  1. The Director of Academic Ceremonies (DAC) will send an electronic invitation to all Honorary Degree recipients to May Commencement. When they RSVP, they will be asked to provide any special guest information (such as family members, friends, etc.) they want in attendance at the ceremony. Names and e-mail address must be provided. If there are any communication issues, the Faculty Hosts are kindly asked to assist with facilitating the exchange of information between the two parties.

April (Six weeks prior to May Commencement)

  1. Faculty hosts are in touch with Honorary Degree recipients, as needed, about final details.
  2. Names of Honorary Degree recipients for current year are announced. SMU Marketing and Communications, in conjunction with Faculty Hosts/symposia planners, continue to execute previously discussed publicity plan for symposia.
  3. If any special guest of the recipient has not responded, the Faculty Host will follow-up with their candidate by phone or email alerting them that one of their guests has not responded.
  4. Final instructions, parking passes and seating tickets are sent electronically to Honorary Degree Recipients the 4th week of April or early May. Any special requests for non-electronic tickets will be managed and coordinated by the Honorary Degree Faculty Host.

May (Month of ceremony)

The day(s) before Commencement

  1. Faculty Hosts picks up out-of-town Honorary Degree (HD) recipients from airport and transports them to hotel.
  2. Honorary Degree Symposia (organized by Faculty Hosts) take place in the morning or afternoon
  3. Faculty Hosts take HD recipients to/from the Provost Dinner [organized by Provosts' Office - Friday before Commencement]

Commencement Day

  1. Faculty Hosts pick up candidates at the hotel (or home, if local) early in the morning and takes them to ceremony venue at the pre-established arrival time for members of the Platform Party.
  2. The Faculty Host participates in the May ceremony, marches with the Platform Party, and reads the citation for the HD recipient he/she is hosting from the podium.
  3. Faculty Hosts transports their recipients back to their hotel/home and/or airport.