Speakers and Honorees

Each year, Saint Louis University seeks applicants for the student speaker at both the midyear and May commencement ceremonies. In addition, the University welcomes nominations for the spring commencement speaker, as well as candidates to be considered to receive honorary degrees.

Members of the SLU community - faculty, students, staff, alumni and benefactors - are invited to nominate worthy individuals to receive honorary degrees.

 Nominate a Recipient

Confidentiality is a requested and required part of the nomination process. The nominee should not be informed of his or her nomination because not all excellent candidates can be recognized, and knowledge of a failed nomination can be embarrassing and hurtful.

About Honorary Degrees at SLU  

Honorary degrees are awarded to individuals based upon their personal and professional achievements and are chosen to:

  • Honor those whose actions reflect the mission of Saint Louis University and its nearly 500-year-old Catholic,Jesuit tradition to pursue truth for the greater glory of God and for the service of humanity.
  • Recognize the outstanding scholarly, professional, service and creative achievements of members of the local, national or international communities.
  • Promote the ideals of faith and justice in the spirit of the Gospels by highlighting efforts to maintain and improve the quality of life for all persons.
  • Build the University's reputation of recognizing and honoring deserving individuals known and highly respected for accomplishments in their fields.

The University seeks nominations from all racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds.

To be considered, nominations must include:

  • Examples of the candidate's accomplishments that have contributed to the improvement of humankind and represent the essence of the Jesuit mission.
  • A description of the candidate's reputation and public perception.
  • A brief list of the candidate's previous honors and awards, as well as academic degrees.

Honorees will be selected by the University Recognition Committee, which includes representation from students, faculty, staff and administration. The University's Board of Trustees will make the final decision.

For more information, call the Office of Community Relations at 314-977-5565 or email honorarydegree@slu.edu.

Speaker and Honorary Degrees FAQ

Who can make a nomination for a speaker or recipient of an honorary degree?  

Anyone from the SLU community - faculty, students, staff, alumni and benefactors - can make a nomination.

When is the deadline to submit nominations?

There is no hard-and-fast deadline to submit nominations. However, the earlier that nominations are received before spring commencement, the better.

 

Are current or past employees of Saint Louis University eligible to be nominated?  

Yes, and like other candidates, they must exhibit the criteria listed here.

 
Why does the University award honorary degrees?  
 

By awarding honorary degrees, the University seeks to:

  • Honor those whose actions reflect the mission of Saint Louis University and its nearly 500-year-old Catholic, Jesuit tradition to pursue truth for the greater glory of God and for the service of humanity.
  • Recognize the outstanding scholarly, professional, service and creative achievements of members of the local, national or international communities.
  • Promote the ideals of faith and justice in the spirit of the Gospels by highlighting efforts to maintain and improve the quality of life for all persons.
  • Build the University's reputation of recognizing and honoring deserving individuals known and highly respected for accomplishments in their fields.
Why does this process have to remain confidential?  
 To respect the privacy and reputation of all involved, the University requests and requires that all submitted nominees remain confidential. The nominee should not be informed of his or her nomination, because not all excellent candidates can be recognized, and knowledge of a failed nomination can be embarrassing and hurtful.
How are the final recipients chosen?  
 Nominations will be vetted by the University Recognition Committee, which includes representation from students, faculty, staff and administration. The University's Board of Trustees will make the final decision.
When are honorary degrees awarded?  
 

They are awarded each year at Spring Commencement. Find the date of this year's spring commencement on the University's Academic Calendar.

Should the nominee's accomplishments reflect the University's mission?  
Yes, the nominee's accomplishments should be consistent with the University's mission to pursue truth for the greater glory of God and for the service of humanity. Candidates of all racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds will be considered, but their actions and publicly stated beliefs should not directly conflict with the teachings and precepts of the Catholic Church.