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Honorary Degree Nominations

September 19, 2016

​​Dear Students, Staff and Faculty:

I am writing to invite you to submit nominations for 2017 honorary degree recipients, including Commencement speaker.

As a reminder, the process for selecting a commencement speaker is outlined online. Commencement speakers should meet Smith’s criteria for an honorary degree, defined as follows: "The college will consider women who are exemplars of excellence in a wide range of fields, both academic and non-academic. The college will also consider women and men who have had special impact on Smith College, on the education of women, or on women's lives."

As you think about nominees, please remember that highly visible personalities -- heads of state and media celebrities, in particular -- can be difficult to secure. You may wish to balance out your nominations of these individuals by proposing excellent alternatives -- in fields such as public service, the arts, education, or the sciences -- who might be somewhat less in demand but still compelling speakers.

Although we accept nominations on a rolling basis, it would be helpful to have them by October 7. Please submit your nominations using the nomination form available online. Along with the name of a nominee, please include a short explanation of why you believe this individual is qualified to receive an honorary degree. Your nominations will be shared with the Honorary Degree Committee, whose members will review all nominations and make recommendations to the Board of Trustees. I serve as chair of the committee, which is comprised of three students, three members of the faculty and three staff members.

I look forward to hosting a speaker with a meaningful message for the Smith community on the occasion of the Class of 2017’s graduation.


Kathy McCartney