Honorary Degree and President's Medal Recipients

Honorary Degrees

Colleges and universities select people to receive honorary degrees and serve as role models for our graduates. Honorary degrees are not simply earned by a course of study or even a course of achievement—they are earned by making significant contributions to our society. The University of Miami has been awarding honorary degrees since 1927.

An honorary degree or a degree honoris causa, (Latin: 'for the sake of the honour') is an academic degree for which a university has waived the usual requirements. The degree itself is typically a doctorate.

There are numerous doctoral agrees that may be awarded and many are specific to different countries and or universities. The University of Miami has awarded a number of different degrees and now typically awards the following honorary degrees: Doctor of Humane Letters (D.H.L.), Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) and Doctor of Science (D.Sc).

Candidates for a University of Miami honorary degree, or a degree honoris causa, are submitted to the University via a nomination process and must undergo a committee review and Board approval in order to be selected. For more information on how to apply click here.


The list of Honorary Degree Recipients (HDR) and Commencement Speakers is listed by the University of Miami President's tenure.

President's Medal

President Donna Shalala established the President's Medal in 2003 to recognize individuals who have shown longstanding service to the University community and exhibited outstanding leadership and distinguished accomplishments. Recipients are recognized for their generosity, have worked within the community and on campus to support programs that have been critical to the University's development, and have aided in transforming UM in making it what it is today.


Bowman F. Ashe

Years 1925-1952



Jay F. W. Pearson

Years 1953-1962



Henry King Stanford

Years 1963-1981



Edward T. Foote II

Years 1982-2001



Donna E. Shalala