You are encouraged to use the online form, but above all please be certain to include a rationale and any supporting documentation you may have.
It is expected that any candidate will have made outstanding contributions in the areas of scholarship, culture, or service to humanity. In addition, the candidate is expected to exhibit personal qualities and values consistent with the Great Commitments of Berea College. Berea College has deliberately and explicitly refrained from awarding honorary degrees merely on grounds of fame, as an enticement to visit the campus, or in expectation of some kind of reciprocal benefit.
In April, 1998, the College Faculty adopted the following Statement of Intentions:
In offering an honorary degree from Berea College, we intend:
- To give recognition to, and commend, those persons whose lives and work have contributed significantly to the improvement of human life.
- To call society’s attention to those persons’ accomplishments, in part to encourage others to undertake and persist in work of similar potential significance.
- To provide inspiration for the graduating class especially, but also for their families, the faculty/staff, and others in attendance.
- To associate with Berea College, in the public mind, those persons who exhibit personal qualities and values consistent with the Great Commitments, thereby reaffirming in indirect fashion the purposes and unique character of this institution.
With the exercise of appropriate care in selecting those to be honored, we believe that the presence of such distinguished recipients adds to the quality of Commencement or other suitable occasions.
Recent honorary degree recipients include: Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Jean Fairfax, James Powell, Benjamin Hooks, Liane B. Russell, and Bishop Desmond Tutu.