Nominations underway for honorary doctoral degrees


October 27, 2010

Nominations for honorary doctoral degrees to be awarded by Mississippi State at the spring commencement ceremony are being accepted until January 14, 2011. Nominations, including supporting materials, should be sent to the Honorary Degree Committee in care of the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President.

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 17 honorary degrees to date.

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 wish to present to the Honorary Degree Committee should be provided along with the nomination by the deadline. The Honorary Degree Committee will evaluate nominations, develop additional information about nominees, and verify information submitted. The committee will recommend to the President candidates for degrees to be presented at April 2011 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 CEO of Sara Lee Corp.; Leo W. Seal Jr., chairman and CEO of Hancock Bank in Gulfport; Harry Charles F. Simrall, MSU dean of engineering 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 CEO 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 Company; Myrna Colley Lee, acclaimed theatrical designer; William G. Riley, Meridian physician and philanthropist; Fred E. Carl, Jr., founder of the Viking Range Corp.; Richard C. Adkerson, president and CEO of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, Inc.; and Bobby S. Shackouls, retired chairman, president, and CEO of Burlington Resources, Inc.