Honorary degrees and service awards recognize leaders

Janice L. Jacobs, Richard W. Peck and Bob Gower
(From left) Janice L . Jacobs, who received a doctorate of public service; Richard W. Peck, who received a doctorate of literary arts; and Distinguished Service Award recipient Bob Gower at the 2018 commencement ceremony in May.

At our May commencement, we had the pleasure of honoring an outstanding group of alumni:

  • U.S. Diplomat Janice Jacobs, who received an honorary Doctorate of Public Service.
  • Award-winning children’s novelist Richard Peck, who received an honorary Doctorate of Literary Arts.
  • Actor Richard Roundtree, who received an honorary Doctorate of Performing Arts.
  • International business leader Bob Gower, who received a Distinguished Service Award.
  • Former SIU Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Harvey Welch Jr., who received a Distinguished Service Award.

It was a proud day that showcased outstanding graduates who have made a difference in their fields.

Honorary degrees and distinguished service awards give us an opportunity to recognize individuals for professional achievements and service. They help us highlight successes across a range of professions, and they connect to our academic and service mission.

Time to nominate

As we look toward next spring’s commencement, it’s time to nominate potential honorary degree and distinguished award winners who will be recognized. Here’s what you need to know:

Honorary degrees are reserved for outstanding scholarly contributors and for persons of considerable renown in any field of activity. They do not have to be alumni.

Distinguished Service Awards are reserved for individuals who have contributed significantly to southern Illinois, the state or the university.

Anyone – faculty, staff and interested community members – can nominate someone for either honor. Nominations are due October 24. You can learn more about criteria and how to nominate someone for an honorary degree or Distinguished Service Award online.

Nominating individuals for these awards takes commitment and time, but as those who have done so in the past will tell you, it is also very rewarding.

By recognizing leadership and commitment, we are sending a clear message about our values. We can also highlight our academic strengths and our graduates, and we can help our graduates see the possibilities for success.

I encourage you to consider nominating a worthy recipient who will help us make all of these important connections.

Author: Carlo Montemagno

Carlo Montemagno is chancellor of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Learn more about him at chancellor.siu.edu.