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Cleary University

Honorary Degrees

Each spring at commencement ceremonies, Cleary University awards an honorary degree to one individual who demonstrates outstanding achievements in their profession; enriches the world with their knowledge, mentorship abilities and exemplary contributions; lives the attributes of The Cleary Mind; and inspires graduates, students, families and the entire community to aspire to excellence.

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This is the highest honor Cleary awards. The recipient represents the mission, values, philosophy and very character of Cleary University since its inception in 1883.

The Board of Trustees reviews all nominations, looking for:

  • Excellence in community service and support
  • Diversity enhancement and advancement
  • Outstanding citizenship
  • Pioneering achievements
  • Integrity and a passion to help others
  • Selfless dedication to a lifetime of service

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The honorary degree recipient’s life achievements serve as an example of Cleary’s aspirations for its students and graduates as they begin their career journey.

The honorary degree recipient delivers a commencement message to the graduating class in May.


At Cleary University, the annual graduation ceremony includes the prestigious honor of awarding honorary degrees to exceptional individuals. While the final decision rests with our University’s Board of Trustees, we highly value your input in the selection process. We adhere to specific criteria when considering nominees, seeking those who have made substantial and lasting impacts across various domains such as business, technology, medicine, science, scholarship, culture, and societal advancement, aligning with Cleary University’s mission and ethos, the Cleary Mind. Honorary degrees celebrate individuals whose lives and achievements embody the ideals we foster in our students. We prioritize nominees whose accomplishments are recent and commendable, highlighting integrity as a core value in our selection process. However, certain stipulations apply, barring publicly elected officials, candidates for public office, individuals with conflicting professional obligations, and posthumous awards. Maintaining utmost confidentiality, we ensure all nominations and discussions remain discreet until the Board’s final approval. To nominate a deserving candidate, kindly email presidentdrimmer@cleary.edu with ‘Honorary Degree’ in the subject line. Your submission should comprehensively outline the nominee’s achievements and contributions to society, accompanied by a brief biography. Please note that submissions without detailed information will not be considered. Recommendations will be accepted until midnight on XXX.