An honorary degree is one of our institution’s most significant accolade. It is the policy of Cornerstone Christian University to award honorary degrees on a selective basis to distinguished individuals who merit special recognition for genuine achievement and distinction in a field or activity consonant with the mission of the University. Only the Board of Directors may authorize the award of an honorary degree.


An honorary degree may be awarded to an outstanding individual who satisfies one or more of the following criteria:

  • Eminence, in the course of a career, in some field of scholarship, in public service, or in an artistic, literary, governmental, religious, financial, or other endeavor; and
  • A significant reason for recognition by the University, in the form of an association or relationship with the University or a valued relationship between the individual’s achievements and the mission or life of the University.
  • A person whose life and/or work represents the highest values of the University’s Christian identity, and its mission to advance the common good.

In recognition of Cornerstone Christian University’s commitment to gender equality and social, economic, national, racial, and cultural diversity, the Board of Directors is committed to the award of honorary degrees to recipients who reflect the diversity of interests, backgrounds, and concerns reflected in the University community and the society and world served by the University. Decisions to award honorary degrees will be made without regard to, and will not be based on, the political affiliations of recipients.

When conferred an Honorary degree, you may be addressed as “Doctor.” However, it should not be the title “Dr.” in front of your name.

What is the difference between an earned PhD and an honorary PhD?

With an academic PhD degree, you can apply for various positions and jobs because you did an actual research work, defended your dissertation, and got an approved dissertation, but the honorary one is an honor or just an esteem and a kind of “thank you” for serving a nation, industry, culture or society. One with an honorary PhD or doctorate can’t use it as an educational qualification.

Persons not eligible for consideration include:

  • Anyone with a documented conflict of interest with the University, its leadership, or its Christian identity.
  • Current faculty and staff of Cornerstone Christian University.


The following persons or constituent components of the University are authorized to nominate candidates to receive honorary degrees:

  • The President
  • The School of Business
  • The School of Religious Studies

Before any nomination (other than a nomination from the President) is forwarded to the Board of Regents for consideration, the nomination and logistics will be approved by the President. 

While the number of nominations is not limited, except under unusual circumstances when the Board of Directors determines otherwise, an individual school will award preferably up to 10 but not more than 20 honorary degrees at a single commencement exercise.

An amount of focused due diligence will be conducted to ensure the nominee’s qualification and eligibility for the degree.

The Executive and Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors will review all nominees and will forward its recommendations to the Board of Directors for approval.

The full Board of Directors shall consider nominees for honorary degrees to be presented at a school’s commencement exercises. School may propose both a primary nominee and one or two alternate nominees in order to avoid returning to the Board with a new nominee at a later date in the event that the school’s primary nominee is unable to attend the ceremony or accept the degree. The Executive and Compensation Committee will convene a special meeting to consider alternate nominees only in extraordinary circumstances. 


We may award an honorary degree to an approved candidate at any time within two years of the Board’s granting of that approval. After that time, the school must again secure the Board’s approval of the candidate in order to award the honorary degree.

Prohibition on Fees and Honoraria

Except under unusual circumstances when the Board of Regents determines otherwise, an honorary degree recipient will not receive a speaker’s fee or honorarium for accepting an honorary degree or delivering an address.

Presence at Commencement or Other Official Ceremonies

No honorary degree will be conferred unless the recipient is present in-person or virtually. If a recipient is unable to attend the ceremony in-Person or virtually, the conferral of the degree can be deferred to an alternate opportunity.

As a private institution that does not receive grants from the Government, donations or enrollment fees received from Honorary degree beneficiaries will be used to provide scholarships for Christians who need a second chance in life to earn a degree.


Honorary degrees are awarded for life. Awardees reflect the values and personify the mission of the University. If at any time during the life of an awardee the University becomes aware of documented evidence of criminal, unethical or immoral behavior or activity, the University has the right to rescind the honorary degree. 

The President will present to the Executive and Compensation Committee of the Board of Regents evidence warranting the revocation of an honorary degree. The Executive Committee will review and consider this evidence and, where it finds sufficient evidence to warrant revocation, forward its recommendation regarding revocation to the full Board of Regents for a vote. 

  1. If revocation is approved, an awardee will be notified in writing of the Board’s decision by the Chair of the Board.

The Board of Regents, in its discretion, may rescind a standing approval for an honorary degree recipient within the two-year period described in Section IV, paragraph A.


  • All involved in the nomination of an individual for an honorary doctorate will maintain complete confidentiality at every step of the nomination and approval process.
  • More individuals are nominated for honorary doctorate degrees than can be awarded. Confidentiality about nominations is critical for this reason.

Titles, Styles and Address for Honorary Degree Recipients

Honorary degrees may be referenced in several ways.

1) Use in biographical sketches

The name of the degree may be written out in full for biographical sketches.

  • Doctor of Philosophy, honoris causa
  • Doctor of Science, honoris causa
  • Doctor of Laws, honoris causa


  • Jane Smith was awarded a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, from Cornerstone University CCU.
  • Jane Smith was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Cornerstone University CCU

2) Abbreviation of degree to follow name

  • Doctor of Philosophy: Honorary Ph.D
  • Doctor of Science: Honorary D.Sc.
  • Doctor of Laws: Honorary LL.D.

Example: Jane Smith, Honorary LL.D.

Note: The honorary degree should be the last thing noted if other degrees or honorifics are also listed.

Example: Jane Smith, O.B.C., O.C., Honorary LL.D.

Note: Less common but also acceptable, the abbreviation “h.c.” for honoris causa may be included following the degree if so wished. Please note; italics should be used for the abbreviation to indicate it is a language other than English (Latin.)

Example: Jane Smith, Ph.D. h.c.

3) Addressing an honorary degree recipient

In situations such as formal correspondence, biographical sketches or formal introductions at a podium, the university who has awarded the honorary degree may address the honorary degree recipient as “doctor.”


  • Dear Dr. Smith:
  • Jane Smith was awarded a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, from Cornerstone Christian University CCU.
  • Dr. Smith has been a very active contributor to the CCU community through her many volunteer roles.
  • It is my great pleasure to invite Dr. Jane Smith to say a few words.

Approved JANUARY 01, 2021




Issuing Office

CCU Board of Regents

Individuals/offices required for review and changes

CCU President

Individuals/offices required for review and changes

Chair of the Executive and Compensation Committee of the Board of Regents

Office of the President