Academic Council

Authorizes Release:

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Responsible Area:

Academic Affairs

Review Cycle:

Annually or as required

Last Review:

June 2023

Related Policies and Additional References:


Purpose: This policy establishes the criteria and procedures under which posthumous degrees may be awarded to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in degree programs. The policy recognizes the academic achievement of students who were enrolled at St. Mary’s University at the time of their death and to commemorate their achievements.


  1. A request for a posthumous degree can originate with family, representative, professor, department chair, program director, dean, or University administrator. Requests should be directed to the Dean of the school in which the student was enrolled.
  2. A posthumous degree may be awarded, if, at the time of death,
    •  the student is currently enrolled in coursework to complete degree requirements;
    • the undergraduate student has completed 75% or more of degree requirements (90-105 credit hours for baccalaureate students); or
    • the graduate student has completed 75% or more of the degree requirements for the graduate degrees; or
    • the law student has completed 75% or more of the degree requirements for the law degree; and
    • the nominated student is in good standing as established by the policies of their degree program.
    • enrolled St. Mary’s students who pass away while on active duty in the United States military will be reviewed on an individual basis.
  3. Recommendations should be submitted to the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs by the dean from the school in which the student was enrolled once the Dean of Students has ensured approval of the family. Recommendations should be in the form of a support letter and include a St. Mary’s transcript showing prior enrolled courses, currently enrolled courses, and evidence of GPA.
  4. Requests for inclusion in the fall commencement ceremony must be received by November 15th and the request for inclusion in the spring ceremony is due on April 15th. A formal, approved recommendation must be made at least one month prior to the targeted commencement ceremony.
  5. Once approved, arrangements for degree presentation will be made by the Dean of Students in consultation with the family.
  6. Notation that the degree is presented posthumously will appear in the commencement program, on the student’s transcript, and on the diploma.
  7. Requests that fall outside the above guidelines will be referred directly to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
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