Honorary doctorate

The Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, is the university’s highest honour awarded to people of merit who reflect Royal Roads University's vision and values, and have achieved a significant record of success and community service.

Fall 2022 Honorary Doctor of Laws recipient

Portrait of Shirley Alphonse at Royal Roads University

Elder THE-LA-ME-YÉ Shirley Alphonse

Elder Shirley is from Hul'q'umi'num People of Cowichan Nation. A respected Elder, cultural bridge-builder and truth speaker, she is a treasured educator who has has touched countless lives with her sage teachings and cultural practices. Read more.

Selection criteria

  1. Nominees should be of exceptional merit who have made substantial contributions to society including:
    • visionary leaders and exemplary public figures
    • leading academics in all disciplines and interdisciplinary areas
    • community builders and philanthropists
    • public intellectuals and opinion makers
  2. Nominees’ achievements should celebrate the university values (caring, creative and courageous) and serve as an inspiration and role model to our students, graduates and our community.
  3. Individuals nominated should reflect the diversity of society, including women, Indigenous people, racialized group members and visible minorities, people with disabilities, people who identify as LGBTQ2S+ and others.


  1. Active members of faculty and staff at Royal Roads are not eligible for honorary degrees. Retired members may be nominated if they are no longer active.
  2. Normally, an active politician should not be nominated for an honorary degree.
  3. Current members of the Board of Governors or their family members are not eligible.
  4. Only in exceptional circumstances will a degree be awarded in absentia.
  5. Posthumous honorary degrees will not be awarded.
  6. People who have already received honorary degrees from other institutions will be considered.


Nominations may be put forward by present and past members of the Royal Roads University community, such as staff, students, faculty, associate faculty, Board of Governors and alumni.

The Board of Governors considers candidates with achievements in a broad range of categories:

  • business
  • public service
  • the professions
  • leisure and the arts
  • the sciences
  • voluntary service in the community
  • service to the university of long-standing or exceptional merit

The nomination deadlines are:

  • December 1 for June convocation
  • May 1 for November convocation

To submit a nomination, fill out the Honorary Degree nomination form and follow the submission instructions.

Nominators must keep the nomination confidential, including with the potential nominee, members of the Royal Roads community and the public. Once approved by the Board of Governors, nominations will be held active for a period of three years. A candidate may be re-nominated or resubmitted for approval.

Award ceremony

Convocation ceremonies take place in June and November.

Normally, only one honorary degree is awarded at each convocation. Potentially, one may be awarded at each of the morning and afternoon ceremonies. Honorary degrees will be conferred at every convocation, but not necessarily every ceremony.

Past recipients

Recent recipients have included:

Read profiles of past recipients.


To submit a nomination or to ask questions, contact the secretary to the Board of Governors.

The Board secretary will communicate with the nominators. Staff will undertake due diligence by thoroughly screening nominations.

Successful candidates will be informed in writing by the president of the decision to schedule the award.

While not every nominee will be awarded an honorary degree, all submitted applications will also be considered for other RRU awards.

All of the above details on this site are outlined in RRU's Honorary Degrees Policy.