Skip to main content

Submit Nominations for Commencement Speakers & Honorary Degrees

Any member of the Smith community—students, faculty, staff, alumnae, trustees—may nominate an individual for an honorary degree and/or to serve as Commencement speaker.

The president sends an email to the junior class in the spring to encourage juniors to nominate individuals of stature as their Commencement speaker.

In the late spring, the president typically invites members of the junior class to her office hours to share their thoughts the selection of the speaker. Acknowledged in these meetings is the fact that highly visible personalities—heads of state and media celebrities, in particular—are much sought after, have complicated schedules and can be difficult to secure.

Submit a Nomination


Eligibility for an honorary degree is defined follows: “The college will consider women who are exemplars of excellence in a wide range of fields, both academic and non-academic. The college will also consider individuals who have had a special impact on Smith College, on the education of women, or on women’s lives.”

All nominations are reviewed by the Committee on Honorary Degrees to decide whether they meet the criteria for receiving an honorary degree. The committee is comprised of three students (the president of the senior class for one year and the president of the junior class for two years), three members of the faculty and three staff members (appointed by the president), and is chaired by the president. The committee makes recommendations to the Board of Trustees, and the president selects and invites honorands from a list of approved nominees.

Your Information
Your Smith College Affiliation
Select all that apply
Your Nomination

Please provide only one name per submission. Note that Smith only awards one honorary degree in a recipient's lifetime. In order to determine if your nominee was a past recipient, please review the list of past Honorary Degree Recipients.

Nomination for
Does this nominee have a connection to Smith?

You may wish to include links to supporting materials, such as a biography, résumé, articles concerning the nominee or other information regarding the nominee’s professional accomplishments.

Please send supporting materials to:

Elena Palladino
Secretary of the Board of Trustees and Secretary of the College
College Hall 205
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: 413-585-2151
Fax 413-585-2136