A University of Alberta honorary degree is intended to recognize and honor outstanding individuals whose significant achievements and contributions are worthy of the university’s highest honor. The awarding of an honorary degree is intended to encourage a standard of excellence which is exemplary to students and to society. Honorary degree recipients embody the university’s vision to inspire the human spirit through outstanding achievements in learning, discovery and citizenship in a creative community.
Conferred honoris causa, "for the sake of honor," honorary degrees are awarded as one of three types: Doctor of Laws, honoris causa; Doctor of Letters, honoris causa; or Doctor of Science, honoris causa. The PhD is granted only as an earned degree.
Honorary degrees are generally awarded for one of three reasons: to recognize extraordinary intellectual or artistic achievement; to honor service to the university and to the wider society; and to recognize men and women who might serve as examples to the institution's student body. An honorary degree, it is said, honours both the grantee and the spirit of the institution.
The tradition of granting honorary degrees at the University of Alberta dates back to the first Convocation in 1908. The complete listing of honorary degrees granted is published in the University Calendar and on the Senate website.
Additional information regarding honorary degrees and the University Senate can be found in the Honorary Degrees section of the Senate website.
Fall 2017 Convocation Honorary Degree Recipients
Mr. Bob McDonald
Honourable Justice Jean Edouard Léon Côté
Ms. Tricia Smith