President's Office

  • Call for nominations for commencement speaker, honorary doctorates and community service award.

    Nominees for commencement speaker, honorary degrees, and community service awards will be accepted throughout the year and evaluated by the Speakers and Awards Committee on a rolling basis.

    Submit a nomination


    Community Service Award
    Community service is defined as any worthwhile philanthropic endeavor and/or outstanding personal service in civic, research, or charitable activities with a special connection to Worcester State University. Current WSU employees are not eligible for this award. Although the committee defines “community service” in a broad sense, including public servants, it gives preference to nominations of those individuals whose accomplishments go well beyond their formal duties.

    Commencement Keynote Speaker
    Graduation is a joyous time for our students, and the culmination of years of hard work, scholarship, research, and artistic endeavors. The commencement speaker delivers the main address at our graduation and is a person who represents the ideals and mission of our institution through his or her public service, activism, scholarship, scientific discovery, artistic production, and other activities, and who, with his or her presence at our graduation, honors the University. Although there are no formal requirements or limitations for commencement speakers, the committee strongly favors individuals whose life and academic experiences are a model to our graduates and those who are known to be good public speakers.

    Honorary Doctorate
    The honorary doctorate is the highest academic honor awarded by the University. It is bestowed in recognition of outstanding contributions to society through intellectual, professional, scientific, artistic, or public service efforts. It is an honor to the awardee and to our institution on his or her acceptance. Persons nominated for consideration for honorary degrees should have made distinguished and broad contributions to society. These may be in the traditional areas of scholarship and creative arts, research and development, the learned professions, public service, or business and industry. Worcester State University may bestow honorary doctoral degrees on individuals of exceptional accomplishment and distinction who have made significant contributions to the University, region, state, nation, or the world, or who have demonstrated a consistent and outstanding record of accomplishment in their fields. Under circumstances approved by the Board of Trustees, honorary degrees may be awarded to persons who, though they have not achieved national or statewide recognition, have made an especially outstanding and significant contribution to Worcester State University or to higher education. Honorary degrees are usually given at commencement exercises, but may be awarded at other special convocations.

    The following categories of individuals are not eligible to receive an honorary degree from Worcester State University: current employees of Worcester State University, current members of the Worcester State University Board of Trustees, current employees of the Department of Higher Education, and current members of the Department of Higher Education Board.

    An honorary degree cannot be conferred to a person whose only contribution has been a donation to the University, or in absentia. In awarding honorary degrees, Worcester State University does not assume any legal obligation. Degree recipients do not receive honoraria, although the University covers the expenses associated with their participation in the commencement ceremony. However, keynote speakers receiving honorary degrees may also receive honoraria. Honorary degree recipients are informed by the president of their selection and invited to accept the honorary degree.  

    Worcester State University encourages nominations from all members of its community on behalf of candidates representing the diversity of academic areas within our institution. Nominations must include information on each candidate's record of achievements and relationship, if any, to Worcester State University.
    The Speakers and Awards Committee will review applications during the fall and spring semesters of every year, and develop a list of recommendations to the AUC, which will then forward all finalists and recommendations to the president. Final approval is granted by the Board of Trustees upon recommendation by the president.

    Candidates recommended by the committee but not selected for a particular year, or who were selected but cannot attend the ceremony, will remain on a pool for subsequent years.