Pierce College Honorary Degree Procedure

A. Purpose

  • To honor meritorious and outstanding service to Pierce College and/or to the community at large; and
  • To recognize persons whose lives serve as examples of Pierce College's aspirations for its students.

B. The Nature of the Honorary Degree

The Honorary Associate in Arts (A.A.) is awarded to individuals who have made enduring, significant, and noteworthy contributions to our community in one of the following areas:

  • Educational Service: recognition of outstanding service that enhances educational opportunities for the area or that gives personal assistance that leads to the success of individuals in higher education.
  • Humanitarian Service: recognition of outstanding altruism that enhances the quality of life for others in the area.
  • Servant Leadership: recognition outstanding service that goes "the second mile" beyond the servant's paid job description in any area of leadership and that benefits others and/or enhances their leadership capabilities.
  • Personal and Professional Accomplishments: recognition of overcoming personal obstacles to achieve goals that inspire other graduates to further achievement.
  • Entrepreneurial Leadership: recognition of outstanding contributions to business/industry that impacts education.

C. Criteria

  • Individual who has made a significant, noteworthy contribution to the community in one or more of the honorary degree areas;
  • Current faculty, staff, and trustees are not eligible. Faculty, staff, and trustees who have been separated from Pierce College for at least five years are eligible.

D. Awarding of Honorary Degrees

  • The Pierce College Board of Trustees awards the honorary degree based on a recommendation from the Pierce College Federation of Teachers President, the Presidents, and the Chancellor.
  • Honorary degrees shall be conferred by the Board of Trustees at commencement exercises.
  • Honorary degrees may be awarded in absentia and posthumously, but only upon extraordinary and compelling circumstances.
  • Honorary degrees are not transcripted in any manner. The list of degree recipients is maintained by the Chancellor’s Office.

E. Procedures for the Selection of Degree Recipients

Coordination of the selection and nomination process for honorary degree recipients is the responsibility of the Co-Chairs of the Learning Council.

1. Nominations Process:

Nominations for degree recipients shall be encouraged from any member of the College community, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, emeritus faculty, trustees, board members and friends of the College.

Each nomination must include the nomination form, current resume and letter of support from an individual formally associated with the college (i.e., student, alumni, advisory board member, or employee). Nomination forms may be obtained from the Office of the Chancellor or from the College website and will include a specific nomination deadline.

2. Honorary Degree Nominating Committee:

The Honorary Degree Nominating Committee will be comprised of the following:

  1. Three (3) representatives from the faculty, self-nominated and selected by the Co-chairs of the Learning Council;
  2. Two (2) representatives, one from each campus associated student body selected by the student body President;
  3. The faculty member and vice president serving as Co-chairs of the Learning Council;
  4. The Vice President of Advancement.

Generally the College will award no more than one honorary degree in any academic year.

The Honorary Degree Nominating Committee reviews all nominations received by the deadline and makes a recommendation to the PCFT President, Presidents, and Chancellor. The Honorary Degree Advisory Committee will assess each nomination packet consistent with the established degree criteria and in a manner that insures quality and integrity of the award process.

Generally, the Honorary Degree Advisory Committee will review nominations in January.

The PCFT President, Presidents, and Chancellor will make a recommendation to the Pierce College Board of Trustees for review and consideration no later than the May meeting. The Chancellor will notify the recipients. 

Review and Revision History

  • 1/7/2015: Learning Council review
  • 1/8/2015: District Policy and Governance Cabinet review
  • 1/14/2015: Board of Trustees Approved

Nomination Form

All nominations must include a completed nomination form, nominee resume, and letter of support from an individual formally associated with the college (i.e. student, alumni, advisory board member, or employee). Nomination form should be no longer than 3 pages.

Submit by January 31, 2019 to:

Honorary Degree Nomination
Chancellor's Office
Pierce College District
1601 39th Avenue SE
Puyallup, WA 98374

Direct questions to:
Office of the Chancellor: 253-864-3104

View the Honorary Degree policy