PROV-002: Awarding of Posthumous Degrees

Date: 03/05/2009 Status: Final
Last Revised: 05/03/2010
Policy Type: Executive Vice President & Provost
Oversight Executive: Executive Vice President and Provost
Applies To:

All Schools.

Table of Contents:

Policy Statement

Reason for Policy:

Establishes guidelines and procedures governing the awarding of posthumous degrees to deceased students within one year of completion of degree requirements.

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • Posthumous Degree:

    A degree conferred by the University to a deceased student.

Policy Statement:

Upon the recommendation of the faculty of the appropriate school, the General Faculty of the University may make a posthumous award of the degree or degrees the student was pursuing if all requirements were likely to have been completed during the final year for which the student was registered had it not been for the intervention of death.


Recommendation for Posthumous Degree:
When a school becomes aware of a student’s death and first considers the possibility of recommending the student for a posthumous degree, the dean’s office should notify the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost of the situation, pending the school’s approval processes. If the death occurs near the end of the academic year, the dean’s office should notify the Director of Major Events, the Office of the University Registrar (UREG) and the applicable school registrar immediately, again pending the school’s approval processes. The Office of the Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer will be notified of the planned awarding of a posthumous degree.

Notification of Student’s Family:
Once the school has completed its approval processes and decided to recommend the student for a posthumous degree, the dean’s office will arrange for notification of the family to inform them of the degree conferral. In most cases, family notification will be made by a faculty member or dean who knew the student. The Office of Major Events will provide information regarding Final Exercises (seating, parking) to the parent(s) (or spouse/partner if applicable) of the decedent and to determine who will attend. The school’s dean’s office will provide information regarding the school or department’s degree ceremony.

Presentation of the Diploma:
The registrar/diploma ceremony coordinator of the individual school will ensure that all applicable arrangements are made for the presentation of the diploma and that the student’s name is included in the school’s graduation materials. The school’s registrar/diploma ceremony coordinator will also contact UREG and the Office of Major Events to ensure that all arrangements have been made regarding the diploma and Final Exercises.

Motion to Award the Posthumous Degree:
The General Faculty of the University convenes the week of graduation to confer all of the degrees brought forth by each school. At least two weeks in advance of this meeting, the dean’s office will contact the Secretary of the General Faculty with the names of the students who have been approved by the school for the conferral of posthumous degrees. At the meeting, the dean will present these names and submit a motion to award the posthumous degrees.

Major Category: Executive Vice President & Provost Policies
Approved by, Date: Executive Vice President and Provost, 03/05/2009
Revision History: Updated 5/3/10.
Supersedes (previous policy): This policy replaces the “Posthumous Degree Conferral Process” developed by the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs.