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Award Process and Criteria

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 Honorary Awards and Recognition Committee 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 committee in October and February of each academic year for honorary degree candidates for presentation at spring and fall commencement, 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 in digital format to facilitate distribution and review to the committee. The President will seek the advice and counsel of the committee and may also consult with past recipients of awards to help in the determination.

After due consideration, the committee 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 committee chair will provide a written rationale for this change in honor.

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

  • Excellent character exemplifying at least one of the UWF values; including Caring, Collaboration, Distinctiveness, Inclusiveness, Innovation, Quality, Relevance, Integrity, and Stewardship;
  • Extraordinary achievement or distinction in the arts and sciences, education, the professions, public service, philanthropy, or private enterprise;
  • And one of the following:
    • Distinction on a national or international level; 
    • A history of support of UWF; or 
    • A record of distinguished contributions to the area served by UWF.

Review of Nominations

The process involves two official levels of consideration: formal recommendation by the UWF Honorary Award and Recognition Committee 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 ten-member Honorary Awards and Recognition Committee is a standing committee whose responsibility is to oversee the granting of University-level recognition to worthy individuals. 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.

  • University President (nonvoting except in cases of a tie)
  • Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Vice President for University Advancement
  • Student Government Association President
  • University Archivist
  • Four faculty members
    • Recommended by the provost and appointed by the University president in consultation with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee.
    • Serve staggered three year terms.
    • Academic representation: 
      • College of Business - 1
      • College of Professional Studies - 1
      • College of Arts and Sciences - 2
        • Arts/Humanities/Social Science - 1
        • Natural, Physical, or Computational Sciences - 1
  • One voting UWF workforce member
    • Recommended by the Staff Senate to the vice president for administrative affairs and appointed by the president.
    • Serves a three-year term.

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:

  • Formal recommendation by HARC represents a majority vote of the committee members. If committee members are unable to participate in meetings at which votes are cast, they can provide a proxy to another active committee member. In cases of a tie, the president shall cast the deciding vote.
  • Although the committee is responsible for reviewing all University-level honorary recognitions, their primary responsibility is the identification of an honorary degree candidate in relation to the winter and spring Commencement ceremonies. The committee may designate more than one honorary degree candidate for each commencement ceremony.
  • The committee will review completed nomination packets on behalf of the University. In addition, the committee members may independently gather additional information to enrich the review and discussion of each candidate.
  • Committee members may actively pursue nominations for their own candidates for honorary awards recognition; however, if an individual moves a candidate's name forward for consideration, the nominator must recuse him or herself from the formal voting on the proposed candidate.

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

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 HARC. The Board of Trustees may gather additional information on the nominee beyond the materials submitted for consideration.

Timeline for Selection of Honors Related to Commencement Presentations

HARC Fall Meeting
The fall standing meeting should take place in August to prepare and forward nominations for the Board of Trustees' scheduled September meeting. Successful candidates during the fall process would be feted at subsequent spring commencement. The coordinators will need to be active in recruiting nominees during the preceding spring semester to accommodate the necessary time needed for a Board of Trustees review in September.

HARC Spring Meeting
The spring standing meeting should take place in January to prepare and forward nominations for the Board of Trustees' scheduled February meeting. Successful candidates during the spring process would be feted at the subsequent fall ceremony. The coordinators will need to be active in recruiting nominees during the preceding fall semester to accommodate the necessary time needed for a Board of Trustees review in February.