Honorary Awards and Degrees

The University of West Florida has the distinct privilege of further enhancing the status of the university and build relationships with community partners and constituents through conferring special university-level recognitions through the UWF Honorary Awards and Recognition Committee (HARC) with the approval of the Board of Trustees.


Honorary Doctorate Degree

The honorary doctorate degree is a standard means by which universities recognize distinguished performance. The honorary doctorate is routinely regarded as the highest form of recognition a university can bestow. Typically, candidates will participate in the commencement ceremony where the degree will be conferred. Candidates may be asked to serve as a commencement speaker; however, that performance request is not a requirement for conferring the degree. The nomination packet will require some declaration about fitness to perform in this important capacity for the speaking role to be considered.

Honorary degree candidates may be recognized in one of the following degree options that have emerged as standard designations in higher education for this important honor:

  • LLD: Doctor of Laws
  • LittD: Doctor of Letters
  • LHD: Doctor of Humane Letters
  • ScD: Doctor of Science
  • PedD: Doctor of Pedagogy
  • DD: Doctor of Divinity

Honorary degree candidates do not receive compensation for the honor. They do receive an appropriately designated UWF diploma and are entitled to keep their doctoral hoods. UWF provides rental expense for robes used in graduation ceremonies and will reimburse for expenses incurred if the honoree resides outside the Pensacola area.

Nominations should consist of a nomination cover sheet, a nomination application, supporting documentation (including curriculum vitae), evidence of endorsement from an appropriate UWF academic unit, and three additional letters of support.

Downloadable forms and accompanying documents for UWF Honorary Doctorate Degree:

UWF Honorary Degree - Instructions for Nominators (PDF)
UWF Honorary Degree - Nomination Cover Sheet (PDF)
UWF Honorary Degree - Formal Endorsement (PDF)

Founder's Medallion

This proposal provides only minor change from the original policy enacted in 2006. The HARC sharpened the focus of the Founder's Medallion in this proposal to emphasize distinguished contributions to the university, consistent with the vision enacted by the University of West Florida's founders.

The Founder's Medallion was established in 2006 to coincide with the celebration of the University of West Florida's 40th anniversary in honor of those University of West Florida faculty, staff, and community visionaries who were leaders in establishing the University. The Medallion symbolizes the founding ideals and vision of the University and is awarded to those who have exemplified those ideals. The Founder's Medallion may be awarded at Commencement or at another appropriate time and venue. Nominations for the Founders' Medallion are welcomed from any member of the UWF community (faculty, administrators, staff, students, alumni, members of UWF Boards and Advisory groups). The Founders' Medallion recipients are individuals of accomplishment who

  1. Recognize the transforming power of education;
  2. Have records of substantial and sustained service and/or leadership to the University and leave a distinct and positive impact on the University;
  3. Embody UWF's values of caring, collaboration, distinctiveness, inclusiveness, innovation, integrity, quality, relevance, and stewardship; and
  4. Value the worth of the individual and relationships.

Nominations should consist of a nomination cover sheet, a letter of nomination, appropriate supporting documentation of achievement (such as a curriculum vitae), and two letters of support.

The awarding of the Founder's Medal may take place at UWF Commencement or at any other appropriate time and venue. The Founders' Medallion may be awarded posthumously.

Download the UWF Founder's Medallion Candidate Nomination Form (PDF)

Presidential Medal of Honor

In preparation for the 50th Anniversary of the University of West Florida, President Judith Bense would like to establish the Presidential Medal of Honor. The President will award the medal to individuals who have distinguished themselves by their actions and have contributed in some manner to the wellbeing of the University and the geographical region. This award emphasizes contributions primarily through public service and philanthropy.

The design on the front of the medal features the sculpted Chambered Nautilus within the Presidential Seal of the University of West Florida. The Chambered Nautilus has been recognized as the official university emblem since ground was broken on April 16, 1965 with the first class of students starting in the fall of 1967.

The Presidential Medal of Honor recipients are individuals of accomplishment who:

  1. Have advanced education, research, or outreach mission of the University for the benefit of the region;
  2. Have records of substantial and sustained service and/or leadership through public service or philanthropy to the University and the region;
  3. Leave a distinct and positive impact on the University and community;
  4. Embody UWF's values of caring, collaboration, distinctiveness, inclusiveness, innovation, integrity, quality, relevance, and stewardship; and
  5. Have made substantial impacts in their chosen professions.

Nominations should consist of a nomination cover sheet, a letter of nomination, appropriate supporting documentation of achievement (such as a curriculum vitae), and two letters of support.

The awarding of the Presidential Medal of Honor may take place at UWF Commencement or at any other appropriate time and venue. The Founders' Medallion may be awarded posthumously.

Download the UWF Presidential Medal of Honor Candidate Nomination Form (PDF)

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