Awarding Posthumous Degrees

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Degrees may be awarded posthumously to any student who, at the time of death, has substantially completed the work for a degree, upon due recommendation of the appropriate faculty and chancellor. Each university shall file guidelines in the office of the president for implementing this policy (SIU Board of Trustees Policies 1. 4. D. 1. c.).

Southern Illinois University Carbondale has established guidelines as follows for recommending the posthumous awarding of degrees (such guidelines were filed with the office of the Board of Trustees at the time the Board initially adopted the above policy on December 8, 1977).

  1. Undergraduate
    It is the judgment of the Faculty Senate that posthumous degrees can justifiably be awarded when the candidate has substantially completed the work for the degree. This determination rests with the dean of the degree-granting unit concerned, in consultation with the appropriate department. [Approved by SIUC Faculty Senate February 12, 1974]
  2. Graduate
    A graduate degree may be awarded posthumously when the student has substantially completed the work for the degree. This determination shall be the responsibility of the Graduate Dean in consultation with the administrative officers and faculty of the degree program in which the student had been enrolled. [Approved by SIUC Graduate Council June 7,1974]

Nomination/Approval Process:

  1. Anyone may identify a candidate for a posthumous degree, but such a suggestion must be made to the Dean of the appropriate college for consideration and to begin the formal process.The Dean of the college in which the student was enrolled will recommend the candidate for a posthumous degree in the form of a formal written request to the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The request must include the name and ID number of the student, the degree/program plan to be awarded, a copy of a completed graduation clearance form and the recommended semester for degree conferral.
  2. If supported by the Provost, he/she will submit the recommendation to the Chancellor for formal approval. If supported by the Chancellor,
    1. The Chancellor will notify the Registrar’s office via memo to begin the process for degree posting. The Registrar’s office will notify Events and Protocol for commencement arrangements.
    2. The Dean will inform the immediate family of the University’s decision and desire to recognize their student with this honor (this process should be kept confidential until and unless approved at all levels). If the family desires to represent the student and receive the diploma at a commencement ceremony, this must be relayed to the Events and Protocol office for planning.
Award Considerations: 
  1. A posthumous degree will be printed in the commencement program within the appropriate college section. If the family chooses not to participate, this award may still be read during the ceremony, unless explicitly requested otherwise by the family.
  2. The statement “awarded posthumously” will be printed on the student’s academic record, but not on the diploma.