Criteria for Honorary Member of the University

Guidelines for Awarding the Honorary Member of the University Designation

The Honorary Member of the University designation recognizes employees for outstanding service to the University as a whole. It is the highest honour a staff member can attain at the University of Waterloo. For faculty members, it recognizes distinctive administrative or other service to the University (as distinguished from Distinguished Professor Emeritus, which recognizes academic excellence).

Staff and faculty of the University and of the Affiliated and Federated Institutions of Waterloo are eligible for nomination upon retirement.

The designation is intended to recognize staff who, in addition to excellent departmental work, have contributed distinctive and distinguished service to the University as a whole and/or have made contributions beyond the University that have brought credit to the University. Involvements on multi-disciplinary efforts or university-wide collaborations and committee work or significant contributions to outside associations would be examples.

Members of the faculty should meet a higher standard than staff, in part because they are expected normally to assume a share of service activities on a regular basis. While the Distinguished Professor Emeritus designation is a higher award based on academic criteria, the Honorary Member designation for faculty is intended to recognize outstanding administrative or other service. 

Nomination Process and Package
All nominations for “Honorary Member of the University” must be considered by the Honorary Member of the University Committee which will forward the names of those individuals whom it feels are qualified for the designation to the Senate Nominating Committee for Honorary Degrees for consideration. The Senate committee will then recommend to Senate that the individual(s) be awarded the title “Honorary Member of the University.” Senate is responsible for approving the title; convocation recognizes the award as described below.

Any staff or faculty member can initiate a nomination process within their units/departments/schools/faculties. All nominations must be submitted in writing; the nomination package should include:

  • A letter of nomination signed by the senior executive/dean/department head/director of the nominee’s unit with particular reference to the stated criteria.
  • A work resume for staff nominees or a curriculum vitae for faculty nominees.
  • Normally, a minimum of two (2) letters of support from colleagues or associates.
  • Any other materials such as news articles, literature, etc. deemed appropriate.

Completed nomination packages should be sent to the secretary of the Honorary Member of the University Committee, c/o Secretariat, NH 3060. All information received by the committee is held in confidence.

The number of individuals honored with this distinction should not exceed four in any one year.

Award Presentation
The investiture ceremony will typically take place during a convocation ceremony and will consist of a citation and the placing of a green silk stole embellished with the University of Waterloo crest at each end. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the recipient is expected to attend the ceremony.

Revised February 7, 2018