Colleges and universities confer honorary degrees at commencement ceremonies to recognize and honor persons who have made exceptional contributions to a specific field or to society in general. Colleges and universities may select from the following categories of honorary degrees based upon the intended recipient's field(s) of contribution, achievement, service, and distinction. The recipients of honorary degrees represent a cross-section of Minnesota – people who have achieved a regional, national or international reputation for their good work. Board Policy 3.18 and System Procedure 3.18.1.

  • Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts (Hon. D.F.A.)
  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (Hon. LH.D.)
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws (Hon. LL.D.)
  • Honorary Doctor of Literature (Hon. Litt.D.)
  • Honorary Doctor of Education (Hon. D.Ed.)
  • Honorary Doctor of Science (Hon. Sc.D.)
  • Honorary Doctor of Engineering and Technology (Hon. D. Eng. & Tech.)

Below are honorary degree receipients for the following academic years:

Tami Reuter, former Executive Director of the North Mankato Campus Foundation, received the Honorary Doctor of Education from South Central College.

Josephine Shang-Kuan Su, economist and chairperson of the China University of Technology Board was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Metropolitan State University.

Peter Defoe, former Chairman and Secretary/Treasurer of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Laws from Fond Du Lac Tribal and Community College.

Harold E. Gifford, businessman, pilot, and author, received the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Dakota County Technical College.

Ernie Strandberg, minister, orator, humanitarian, and artist, was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.

Bonnie Besse Rietz, mayor and public official, was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Riverland College.

Keith Langseth, Former State Senator, was awarded the Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa by Minnesota State University Moorhead.

Jim Northrup, award-winning writer, was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Letters from Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.

Francis White Lance, educator on Lakota culture, received the Honorary Doctor of Letters from Winona State University.

Terrance N. Dilley, Riverland Community College Instructor and Faculty Emeritus, was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

Richard L. Knowlton, former President and CEO of Hormel Foods Inc., was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Education from Riverland Community College.

Gordon Viere, CEO of LarsonAllen, received the honorary Doctorate of Business Administration from St. Cloud State University.

Shigeko Sasamori, a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing and a peace advocate, received the Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Winona State University.

Terrence R. Pladson, M.D., President and CEO of CentraCare Health System, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from St. Cloud State University.

Mary Jo Copeland, Founder of Sharing and Caring Hands, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from St. Cloud State University.

Dr. Joyce (Graupmann) Black, associate professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, received the Honorary Doctorate of Science from Winona State University.

Gauher “Mo” Mohammad, Vice President at Doherty Staffing Solutions, received an Honorary Doctor of Education from Riverland Community College.

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Steve Waldhoff, Chief Administrative Officer, Albert Lea Medical Center was awarded the Honorary Associate of Arts Degree by Riverland Community College.

Jeffrey Kritzer, Attorney at Hormel Foods Inc. (Austin) and Riverland Community College Foundation board member, was awarded the Honorary Associate of Arts Degree by Riverland Community College.

Jim Wendorff, Vice President of Human Resources, Viracon (Owatonna) and Riverland Community College Foundation board member was awarded the Honorary Associate of Arts Degree from Riverland Community College.

Elliot Dubinsky, Business owner (Austin) and Riverland Community College Foundation benefactor, received the Honorary Associate of Arts Degree from Riverland Community College.

Dan Dorman, Business owner (Albert Lea), state representative, and Riverland Community College Foundation board member, received the Honorary Associate of Arts Degree from Riverland Community College.

Roger Boughton, Retired Vice President of Academic Affairs at Riverland Community College and member of the Riverland Community College Foundation board was awarded the Honorary Associate of Arts Degree.               

Nancy VanderWaerdt, Business owner (Albert Lea) and Riverland Community College Foundation board member, was awarded the Honorary Associate of Arts Degree from Riverland.
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