Instructions for Honorary Degree Nominations

Nomination Package – Instructions

Criteria for Nomination

By awarding honorary degrees, the University of Toronto seeks to recognize the extraordinary achievement and contributions of individuals from Canada or abroad at the local, national, or international levels. Individuals are honoured whose accomplishments are of such excellence that they provide, through example, inspiration and leadership to the graduates of the University. Their esteem should be such that, by virtue of accepting an honorary degree, their presence will bring honour and distinction to the University of Toronto.

The Committee for Honorary Degrees defines a broad a range of categories for achievement in obtaining and considering nominations. Such categories might include scholarly endeavours, the arts, business, healthcare, professional and voluntary service in the community at large, and service of long-standing or unusual merit to the University. In determining the leaders and exemplars to honour, it will seek over time to achieve a balance across disciplines and backgrounds.

The Committee attempts, through its recommendation of nominees, to reflect the national character of Canada, the desirable features of its regional and cultural diversity, and the character and diversity of the University itself. As such, it is necessary for the Committee to have a diverse pool of candidates so that it may consider diversity in all of its dimensions.

It is a requirement that an honorary degree recipient attend a Convocation ceremony for conferral of the degree.

Exclusions: The University of Toronto will not consider nominations of individuals in the following categories until a minimum of two years has elapsed following retirement from active service:

  1. Active politicians, although exceptions may be considered for Governors-General and Lieutenant-Governors, as well as for judges and others whose appointments place them outside active partisan politics.
  2. Members of the Governing Council or University faculty and staff.

In exceptional circumstances, the Committee may choose to waive these requirements.

Deadline for Nominations

Nominations are accepted on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Nominations for the current academic year, should be submitted by Monday, September 9, 2024, no later than 5:00 p.m.

Please submit a completed nomination package to Tracey Gameiro, Secretary, Committee for Honorary Degrees, by email ( Hard copy packages will not be accepted.

All materials submitted are treated as confidential to the Committee.

Completing the Nomination Package

A complete nomination package is required. The nomination form asks for the information that the Committee will assess in determining whether to recommend a nominee to the Governing Council. Please review the Nomination Package Checklist to confirm that your package is complete.

Each nomination must have a lead nominator who is responsible for ensuring that a complete nomination package is submitted, including all relevant supplementary information. The Lead Nominator will consult, as needed, with individuals writing letters of support about the form and content of the letters.

The following components make up the nomination package.

Nomination Package Checklist

Nomination Form

Nominee Contact Information

Provide the full name and contact information (email, phone number, and mailing address) for the nominee. This information will be used should the nomination be successful.

Lead Nominator Contact Information

Provide the name, current position/title, and contact information (email and phone number) for the lead nominator. Should the nomination be successful, the lead nominator will be contacted following the December Governing Council meeting (information to remain confidential until made public following the February Governing Council meeting). For unsuccessful nominations, the lead nominator will be contacted following the February Governing Council meeting.

Additional Nominator Contact Information (i.e., those providing letters of support)

Provide the name, current position/title, contact information (email and phone number) for any additional nominators.

Nomination Form

Cover Letter

The lead nominator should provide a cover letter that outlines the rationale for the nomination. The Committee for Honorary Degrees seeks those whose merit is extraordinary, and not merely impressive.

Some of the factors considered by the Committee in comparing candidates in the past have included:

  • whether there has been a particular accomplishment of note;
  • connection or service to the University of Toronto;
  • service to the greater community whether that be locally, nationally, or globally.
  • significant contributions to the public good;
  • service to or influence on a discipline or profession;
  • artistic excellence; 
  • service to or influence on the arts;
  • cross-cultural influence;
  • other honours received;
  • whether a special milestone is involved.

The cover letter should include a substantive description of the relationship between the lead nominator and the nominee, both professional and personal, so that the Committee is able to comprehend fully their connection to the individual.


This is a summary of no more than 300 words of the most significant details of the nominee’s background and accomplishments that would justify their being awarded an honorary degree by the University of Toronto.

When a candidate is selected by the Committee for Honorary Degrees, the citation is the only document that will be circulated to the Governing Council. If a nominee is approved, the citation, or a condensed version of it, will be used for Convocation and all related publications. The citation is therefore an important document which should be carefully written and should contain the most salient information about the nominee.

Curriculum Vitae (or Biography)

The C.V. or biography should include the following:

  • Education (including Honorary Degrees)
  • Awards and Honours Received
  • Employment/Professional Activities
  • Community Service/Volunteer Activities

Letters of Support

Letters of support should come from individuals who are familiar with the nominee and the nominee’s achievements, and who themselves may be considered to be experts in the relevant field(s). These letters are intended to support the lead nominator’s cover letter. It is not recommended that nominators are members of the nominee's family.

Letters of support should include a substantive descriptions of the relationship between the nominator and the nominee, both professional and personal, so that the Committee is able to comprehend fully their connection.

If applicable, the inclusion of a letter of support from the Dean of the Faculty with which the nominee’s achievements are related can strengthen a package.

It is recommended that individuals writing letters of support consult with the Lead Nominator about the form and the content of the letters.

A minimum of two letters of support is recommended, and a maximum of four (though exceptions might apply). Please note that letters of support should be part of a completed nomination package and should not be submitted separately to the Secretary of the Committee for Honorary Degrees.

If you have any questions about the nomination process or nomination package, please contact the Secretary of the Committee for Honorary Degrees.