Honorary Degrees and Convocations Committee

Terms of Reference

The Honorary Degrees and Convocations Committee is a Standing Committee of Senate. Its mandate is to recommend to Senate outstanding individuals for the conferral of McGill honorary degrees, the highest honour that the University can bestow. It shall also advise on convocations matters as required.

Individuals nominated for honorary degrees have lifetime records of outstanding scholarly, scientific or artistic achievement, or of exceptional contributions to the public good through professional or philanthropic activity, that make them worthy candidates and position them to contribute to McGill’s reputation and distinction both at home and internationally.

Specific Areas of Responsibility

The Committee shall:

  1. Solicit, receive and review nominations for the conferral of honorary degrees from the Faculties, from individual members of the McGill community, from members of Senate, from the McGill Alumni Association and from members of the broader community;
  2. Select candidates for the conferral of honorary degrees and submit them to Senate for approval;
  3. Recommend the particular honorary degree that should be awarded to each candidate submitted to Senate for approval;
  4. Develop guidelines for the selection of candidates for McGill honorary degrees and submit them to Senate for approval;
  5. Receive and review nominations from the Principal’s Advisory Committee for the conferral of the McGill University Medal for Exceptional Academic Achievement (The McGill Medal);
  6. Advise Senate as appropriate on convocation matters;
  7. Meet twice a year (in closed session).

Composition

The Chancellor (Chair of the Committee), ex officio
The Principal, ex officio
The Provost, ex officio
The Chair of the Board or delegate, ex officio
The University Marshal, ex officio
President of the McGill Alumni Association or delegate
Six representatives of Senate, to be nominated by the Senate Nominating Committee and appointed by Senate to reflect the breadth of the University
One graduate student
One undergraduate student
The Secretary-General (Committee Secretary)

Source: Senate Minute 102, January 27, 1960
Senate Minute 11, September 30, 1987
Amendment: Senate Minute 118, May 3, 1995
Senate Minute 8, May 24, 2000
Senate Minute IIB4.2, May 20, 2009

Guidelines

The Honorary Degrees and Convocations Committee, when considering nominations, uses the following criteria:

Guidelines for the Senate Honorary Degrees and Convocation [.pdf]

Source: Senate Minute IIB4.2, May 20, 2009

Membership (3-year renewable terms)

The Chancellor, Chair [The Honourable Michael A. Meighen]
The Principal [Professor Suzanne Fortier]
The Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) [Professor Christopher Manfredi]
The Chair of the Board or delegate [Mr. Ram Panda]
The University Co-Marshal [Professor Edith Zorychta] 
The President of the Alumni Association or delegate [Mr. Bob Babinski]

Six representatives of Senate:
    Professor Niky Kamran (Mathematics, SCIENCE) - 2018
    Professor Peter Caines (ENGINEERING) - 2019
    Professor John Hall (Sociology, ARTS) - 2019
    Professor Shiv Prasher (Bioresource Engineering, FAES) - 2020
    Professor Martin Grant (Physics, SCIENCE) - 2020
    Ms. Svetlana Kochkina (LIBRARIES) - 2020

One graduate student: Ashley Chin (Experimental Medicine)

One undergraduate student: Nahal Fansia (Nursing)

Secretary: Ms. Edyta Rogowska (Secretary-General)

Resource Persons:
University Registrar & Executive Director, Enrolment Services
Ms. Georgia Ntentis, Governance Officer for Senate