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How USC Chooses Honorary Degree Recipients

The honorary degree process is managed by the Office of the Provost. Any USC faculty, staff, student, alumni or trustee can nominate a candidate.

USC awards honorary degrees in order to:

• Honor individuals who have distinguished themselves through extraordinary achievements in scholarship, the professions or other creative activities, but who may not be widely known by the general public.

• Honor alumni and other individuals who have made an outstanding contributions to the welfare and development of USC or its surrounding communities.

• Recognize exceptional acts of philanthropy to the university.

• Elevate the university in the eyes of the world by honoring individuals who are widely known and highly regarded for their achievements.

The University Honorary Degrees Committee, chaired by J. Lawford Anderson, professor and chair of the department of earth sciences, reviews all nominations and recommends a slate to the president of the university and the board of trustees. Honorary degrees are awarded by the board of trustees annually at spring commencement. Recipients must be present at the commencement exercises.

For information on how to nominate a candidate for future commencements, go to the Provost Office Web page at

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