HomeFaculty & StaffAcademic RegulationsChapter 12: Emeritus Status and Honorary Degrees

Emeritus Status and Honorary Degrees


  1. Purpose.  This policy identifies the requirements, processes, and benefits of bestowing emeritus status on designated MCU faculty, and the granting of honorary degrees to noteworthy recipients.

  2. Emeritus Status.  The conferring of emeritus status is a traditional and widely followed practice in American colleges and universities for recognizing the contributions of faculty members.  It signifies that one is honorably retired from the conferring institution, but retains the title last held (e.g., Professor Emeritus of National Security Affairs).

    a.Prerequisites.  The status of Professor Emeritus is conferred based upon established service.  The designation will be reserved for the individual who meets the following criteria:

    i.Meritorious service of at least fifteen years with MCU.

    1)The President, MCU may waive up to three years, based on evidence of exceptional contribution by a faculty member.  Scholarly or creative work and recognition in professional organizations will be considered in granting waivers.

    2)In computing the total combined years of service with MCU, when appropriate, the years served in uniform as an MCU military faculty member may be added to the years served as a civilian faculty member.

    ii.A proven educator of established ability with an outstanding record of teaching excellence.

    iii.Retirement from full-time teaching at MCU with the rank of Full Professor.

    iv.Recognition in professional organizations.

    v.Recognition resulting from scholarly or creative work.

    vi.Outstanding record of University service.

    b.Nomination Process

    i.Educational program directors will submit a Professor Emeritus Nomination Form (Appendix L), a current vita of the nominee, and any other supporting documents to VPAA.   All documents must be submitted in electronic format.

    ii.VPAA will forward the recommendation to the MCU Board of Visitors (BOV) electronically for review, comment, and recommendation.

    iii.VPAA will consolidate BOV recommendations and forward them to the President, MCU.

    iv.The President, MCU, will consider the nomination packet and recommendations of the BOV, and then render a decision.

    c.Privileges.  The designation of Professor Emeritus provides the following privileges to emeriti faculty:

    i.A certificate attesting to that status.

    ii.Access to library services and other faculty research facilities.

    iii.A standing invitation to participate in commencement processions and similar ceremonies.

    iv.A standing invitation to participate in academic conferences, seminars, or other presentations conducted by the University.

    v.If an educational program director concurs, the option of offering appropriate course or class offerings within the college or school’s curriculum.

    vi.Listing in the faculty directory, university catalogs, and similar publications.

    vii.The right to list the title of Professor Emeritus, and associated affiliation with MCU, on any publication or professional document.

    d.Recognition.  Upon approval by the President, MCU, VPAA will notify the nominee and educational program director, and arrange an appropriate recognition ceremony.

  3. Honorary Degree.  Honorary degrees, or honoris causa (Latin: “For the sake of honor”) are commonly awarded by educational institutions to bestow honor on recipients who do not otherwise meet the normal academic requirements for the degree.  Marine Corps University has established the honorary degree of Doctor of Warfare Studies (D.WfS.).

    a.Prerequisites.  There is no universally defined standard of awarding honorary degrees; however, institutions typically award them based on some combination of three reasons: to recognize extraordinary achievement in a field of endeavor, to honor service to the institution and/or society at large, and to promote emulation of the honoree by the student body.  Nominations for an honorary degree should clearly articulate how the proposed recipient merits such recognition.

    b.Nomination Process

    i.Nominations from Marine Corps University faculty, staff, or students will be addressed to the President, Marine Corps University, in standard naval letter format, via the school/section director, and VPAA, and forwarded electronically to VPAA.

    ii.Nominations must describe in detail the achievements, service, and character traits of the nominee, and how they relate to the University mission and/or professional leadership development, which warrant consideration for the degree.  Directors will endorse recommendations with substantive comments.

    iii.Nominations must be received by the office of VPAA by 1 February to be considered for presentation at the subsequent MCU graduation exercise.  Nominations received after 1 February will be tabled for consideration during the following academic year.

    iv.VPAA will submit the nomination to the deans of the educational programs and to the Board of Visitors for review, comment, and recommendation.

    v.VPAA will consolidate BOV recommendations and forward them to the President, MCU.

    vi.The President, MCU, will consider the nomination and recommendations of the BOV, and then render a decision.

    c.Recognition. Individuals nominated will NOT be informed of the nomination under any circumstances prior to the determination of the President, MCU to approve the awarding of an honorary degree.  Upon approval, VPAA will obtain an academic hood for presentation, and the MCU Registrar will prepare an honorary degree diploma.

    i.Hood.  The honorary degree hood will be tri-colored; the velvet edge hood color will be white to represent the art of warfare (and to distinguish it from a Ph.D.) and the satin field and chevron (the hood lining colors) will be scarlet and gold to represent the Marine Corps and military science.

    ii.Diploma.  The honorary degree diploma will reflect that the honor is bestowed “in recognition of distinguished (describe type, e.g., military or academic) service to the Marine Corps and the United States of America” and contain the phrase “honoris causa.”  It will be signed by the President, MCU and VPAA.

    d.The honorary degree will be bestowed on the recipient at the next MCU graduation ceremony following approval, unless the honoree is unavailable.  In such a case, VPAA will coordinate an appropriate alternative ceremony, which may include a subsequent graduation ceremony.

    e.Recipients may list the title of Doctor of Warfare Studies (honoris causa), and associated affiliation with MCU, on any publication or professional document.

  4. Academic Regalia.  Regalia, similar to dress uniforms for military service, is a time-honored academic tradition that reflects achievement and honors the granting institution.  MCU Master’s regalia for MCU faculty, whose highest degree earned is from MCU, consists of a black master’s robe, master’s hood of white trim, scarlet lining and gold chevron, and six sided black and tan tassel.  The hood colors of white, scarlet, and gold represent the traditional colors of the Marine Corps and the academic tradition of the arts and military science.  During the annual commencement ceremony, appropriate attire will reflect the academic, military, and ceremonial aspects of the event. 

    a.MCU civilian faculty will wear the academic regalia of the institution from which his or her highest degree was earned. 

    b.MCU active-duty military faculty will wear the prescribed military dress uniform.

    c.MCU Academic Chairs may wear, at his or her option, the academic regalia of the institution from which his or her highest degree was earned, or black or navy blue business attire. 

    d.Military students will wear the prescribed military dress uniform.  Civilian students will wear black or navy blue business attire.

    e.Requests for deviations from the prescribed attire, and the reasons therefore, will be addressed to VPAA for determination on a case-by-case basis.

    A former MCU student subsequently engaged as faculty in academia elsewhere, and whose highest degree is one of MCU's master's degrees, is authorized to wear MCU regalia, at his or her own option and expense, in appropriate academic settings.