University of West Florida

President's Division

 

UWF Honorary Awards, Degrees and Recognitions

 

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.

The criteria, process, award descriptions and all necessary forms and information can be found below.

Nomination Process

Any UWF stakeholder, including UWF faculty, staff, alumni, and students as well as Board of Trustee or advisory group members, may submit a nomination to the HARC for consideration. Nominations from the external community should be channeled through a UWF stakeholder. Nominations forms are available on the HARC link on the President's website and incorporate critical background information, including a biographical sketch or resume, a description of how effectively the candidate meets the respective criteria, and specified supporting documents.

Complete nomination submittals will be reviewed by the Honorary Awards and Recognition Committee in October and February of each academic year for Honorary Degree candidates for presentation at Spring and Fall Commencement Ceremonies, e.g. October review for Spring Commencement and February review for Fall Commencement. Therefore Honorary Degree nomination packets should be submitted no later than October 1 and February 1 to the President's Office for full consideration. Complete nomination submittals for the Founders' Medallion and Presidential Medal of Honor will be considered as received and reviewed quarterly during the academic year.

All complete nomination packets must be submitted to PresidentsOffice@uwf.edu in digital format to facilitate distribution and review to the HARC. The President will seek the advice and counsel of the HARC and may also consult with past recipients of awards to help in the determination.

After due consideration, the HARC may endorse a different level of recognition than the nominator recommended when the committee members deem a different award to be a better fit for the accomplishments and contributions apparent in the nomination materials. In such cases, the HARC Chair will provide a written rationale for this change in honor.

Criteria for Recognition:

The criteria for personal recognition in the awards in HARC purview include the following characteristics:

 

Types of Honorary Awards and Recognitions:

The 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:

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:

The 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.

The 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.

Nomination Review Process:

The process involves two official levels of consideration: formal recommendation by the UWF Honorary Award and Recognition Committee (HARC) followed by official confirmation from the Board of Trustees upon request of the UWF president.

All involved parties in the process should exercise discretion about speaking with nominated individuals prior to an official notification being issued by the President's Office. Typically, the nominee should learn about the conferral of the award through correspondence issued by the President's Office on completion of the levels of review. A waiver of this requirement can be allowed with permission of the UWF president. Waivers may be required in conjunction with negotiating availability of candidates to participate in the Commencement ceremony.

No college or other subunit can award honorary degrees, name facilities, or confer university-level awards.

The Role of the Honorary Awards and Recognition Committee
The ten-member HARC is a standing committee whose responsibility is to oversee the granting of university-level recognition to worthy individuals. The HARC consists of several types of individuals to ensure broad representation across the university. Nine members of HARC, including the Chair, are eligible to vote.

The President shall designate a Chair for the Committee from among the appointed members. The President may also designate consultants to the process as deemed necessary.

The following outlines HARC rights and responsibilities:

The Role of the President
The university president is responsible for appointing the HARC chair and presenting candidates recommended by HARC to the Board of Trustees along with supporting documentation. The president may also suggest a nomination, working with the HARC members to develop the appropriate submission of materials for the HARC review process.

The Role of the Board of Trustees
By majority vote, the University of West Florida Board of Trustees can authorize the university president to confer awards and recognitions following a recommendation by the HARC. The Board of Trustees may gather additional information on the nominee beyond the materials submitted for consideration.

Preferred Timeline for Selection of Honors Related to Commencement Presentations:

Fall Meeting of the HARC
The fall standing meeting should happen in August so that results can be presented to the Board in their scheduled September meeting; successful candidates during the fall process would be feted at the spring graduation. The Coordinators will need to be active in recruiting nominees during the preceding spring to accommodate the necessary time needed for a BOT September review.

Spring Meeting of the HARC
The spring standing meeting should take place in January to prepare and forward nominations for the February BOT meeting; successful candidates would be prepared for the subsequent fall ceremony. The Coordinators will need to be active in recruiting nominees during the preceding fall semester to accommodate the time needed for a February BOT review.

HARC Connection to Other Award Recognition Activities:

Commencement Speaker Selection

The HARC will recommend honorary candidates for the role of Commencement speaker based on a favorable review of the application materials from honorary degree candidates. Recipients of the honorary degree are often asked to serve as speaker in conjunction with the awarding of the honorary degree at Commencement, but it is not a requirement for the granting of the honorary degree. The president may also consult with HARC on the selection of graduation speakers in cases where the speaker is not receiving an honorary award.

Naming Rights

Advancement forwards proposals to the HARC for review involving "in honor of" naming rights. Philanthropic-based naming rights remain under the purview of Advancement. Although this approval process may be similar to other forms of personal recognition, the levels of review and confirmation serve to protect the institution.

Details for reviewing UWF Naming Rights Requests.

Emeritus Designation for Faculty

The honorary title of "Emeritus" is reserved only for retired UWF employees who have terminated full-time employment. As such, the University Personnel Committee serves as the reviewing body for these honorary decisions rather than the HARC.

Additional details for Emeritus Designation for UWF Faculty.

 

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