Terms of Reference
The Honorary Degrees and Convocations Committee (“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.
The Committee shall meet in closed session and all matters related to individuals nominated for honorary degrees shall be treated in strict confidence by the Committee.
II. SPECIFIC AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY
The Committee shall:
- 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;
- Select candidates for the conferral of honorary degrees and submit them to Senate for approval;
- Recommend the particular honorary degree that should be awarded to each candidate submitted to Senate for approval;
- Recommend to Senate the revocation of an honorary degree in situations where maintaining the honorary degree would be prejudicial to the University’s reputation and/or found to be in contradiction to the University’s mission or values.
- Receive, review and recommend to Senate for approval nominations from the Principal’s Advisory Committee for the conferral of the McGill University Medal for Exceptional Academic Achievement (The McGill Medal);
- Receive, review and recommend to Senate for approval nominations from the Adjudication Committee for the Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership in Learning for the conferral of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership in Learning;
- Approve, on behalf of Senate, dates for convocation ceremonies;
- Advise Senate and the appropriate administrative unit of the University as required, on convocation matters;
- Develop guidelines, as necessary, for the purpose of operationalizing its mandate;
- Meet at least twice a year (in closed session).
The Committee shall be composed of 14 members, as follows:
- Chancellor (Chair of the Committee), ex officio
- Principal and Vice-Chancellor, ex officio
- Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), ex officio
- Chair of the Board or delegate, ex officio
- A University Co-Marshal, ex officio
- President of the McGill Alumni Association, ex officio
- 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 shall serve as Secretary and governance advisor to the Committee.
The University Registrar and Executive Director, Enrolment Services, or delegate, shall serve as a resource person.
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
Senate Minute IIB2.2, September 22, 2020
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
Chancellor, Chair [The Honourable Michael A. Meighen]
Principal [Professor Suzanne Fortier]
Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) [Professor Christopher Manfredi]
Chair of the Board or delegate [Mr. Ram Panda]
A University Co-Marshal [Professor Edith Zorychta]
President of the Alumni Association [Mr. Luciano D’Iorio]
Six representatives of Senate:
Professor Barbara Hales (Pharmacology and Therapeutics, MEDICINE) – 2021
Professor David Lowther (Electrical and Computer Engineering, ENGINEERING) – 2022
Professor Catherine Desbarats (History and Classical Studies, ARTS) – 2022
Professor Nigel Roulet (Geography, SCIENCE) – 2023
Professor Petra Rohrbach (Parasitology, AES) – 2023
Ms. Genevieve Gore (LIBRARIES) – 2023
Undergraduate: Mr. Sebastien Duckett
Secretary: Ms. Edyta Rogowska (Secretary-General)
Ms. Heidi Emami, Associate Registrar, Management of Academic Records, Exams & Convocation, Enrolment Services
Ms. Georgia Ntentis, Governance Officer (Senate)