Honorary degree nominations open

October 23, 2007

Nominations for honorary doctoral degrees to be awarded by Mississippi State at the spring commencement ceremony are being accepted until Feb. 1.

Nominations, including supporting materials, should be sent to the Honorary Degree Committee in care of the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning authorized state universities to begin awarding the degrees in 1999 and generally allows each institution to give up to two each year. Mississippi State has awarded 14 honorary degrees since then.

Under IHL guidelines, persons eligible for the doctor of laws, doctor of science, doctor of humane letters, doctor of creative and performing arts, or doctor of public service must have demonstrated nationally recognized sustained achievement in scholarship, public service, creative and performing arts, or professional activity. Faculty, staff and administrators of the university and elected or appointed public officials are ineligible for an honorary degree until one year after leaving their position. Candidates for public office also are ineligible.

Those who are eligible to submit nominations are MSU faculty, staff, students, and alumni. All information that nominators plan to present to the Honorary Degree Committee should be provided, along with the nomination by the Feb. 1 deadline. The Honorary Degree Committee will evaluate nominations, develop additional information about nominees and verify submitted information. The committee will recommend candidates for degrees to the president. Honorary degrees will be presented at May 2008 commencement ceremonies. The state College Board must approve honorary degrees at least two months prior to their announcement. Names of nominees will be kept confidential until they are approved.

Prior recipients of honorary degrees at Mississippi State are John H. Bryan Jr., former chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Sara Lee Corp.; Leo W. Seal Jr., chairman and CEO of Hancock Bank in Gulfport; Harry Charles F. Simrall, dean of engineering at Mississippi State until his retirement in 1978; Dave C. Swalm, retired petroleum products company owner; G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery, former 3rd District congressman from Meridian; Hunter Henry, retired Dow Chemical Co. executive; Bobby Martin, president of The Peoples Bank in Ripley; Jack Cristil, radio play-by-play announcer for MSU football and basketball games for more than 50 years; Charles B. Cliett, head emeritus of the aerospace engineering department; Hartley D. Peavey, owner and chief executive officer of Peavey Electronics in Meridian; James Worth Bagley, chairman and CEO of the Lam Research Corp.; Will D. Carpenter, retired vice president and general manager, New Products Division, Monsanto Co.; Myrna Colley-Lee, acclaimed theatrical designer; and William G. Riley, Meridian physician and philanthropist.

Members of the Honorary Degree Committee are Peter Rabideau, chair, provost and vice president for academic affairs; Allison Pearson, professor of management and information systems; Jan Chambers, professor of College of Veterinary Medicine Basic Sciences; David Bridges, professor of aerospace engineering; Noel Polk, professor of English; and Richard Blackbourn, dean of the College of Education.

Nomination packets may be dropped off at the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at 608 Allen Hall; mailed to P.O. Box BQ, Mississippi State, MS 39762; or sent via Mail Stop 9723.

For more information, telephone 662-325-3742.