Campus Bulletin: Faculty and Staff

Nominations for Honorary Degrees and the Distinguished Service Award

June 11, 2021 12:30 PM

Steve Plank

Dear Colleagues,

Early in fall term 2021, the Honorary Degree Committee will begin reviewing nominations for recipients of honorary degrees and the Distinguished Service Award. In the weeks ahead we invite you to consider those you would like to bring to the attention of the committee and submit a nomination to the committee prior to September 30, 2021. (A second reminder invitation will be forthcoming towards the end of summer recess.)

At commencement the awarding of honorary degrees not only allows the College to honor high achievement in diverse fields, but also helps bring into view the world of possibility and opportunity that awaits our graduates as they begin the next stage of their lives. At its best it is an inspiring and celebrative moment, made all the more so by robust faculty participation in the process. We look forward to receiving your nominations.

As a guide, the criteria for honorary degrees specify that:

The purpose in awarding honorary degrees is to honor persons who have made distinguished contributions in scholarship, music, or the arts, or in some kind of social service. Generally, recipients should be persons who have not already received wide recognition . . . for their achievements; and in no instance should the College award an honorary degree for the sake of publicity. Persons with some Oberlin connection or association should be given special consideration. In selecting candidates to be honored for “social service” special attention should be given to Oberlin College graduates whose life and work have exemplified the values of the Oberlin College Community.

And the criteria for the Distinguished Service Award specifies that:

By action of the Board of Trustees, this award is to be conferred upon “persons from the Lorain County area who have made significant contributions to the welfare of the community and its residents.” Oberlin College employees are not eligible.

Letters of nomination and supporting materials should be submitted to the Office of the Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary by email to Please include the following information, to the extent that you have it:

  • Nominator’s contact information;
  • Reason for the nomination;
  • Contact information for the nominee; and
  • The educational background of the nominee.

On behalf of the committee allow me to convey our best wishes for the summer months and to welcome your nominations in the days ahead. Should you have any questions about the process, please feel free to be in touch with the Office of the Secretary or any member of the committee.

With best regards,



S. E. Plank
Andrew B. Meldrum Professor & Chair
The Department of Musicology
Oberlin College