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Office of the Provost

Honors, Awards & Fellowships

The Office of the Provost administers the granting of University awards and honorary degrees. We invite all members of the University community to nominate deserving individuals for these distinctions.

Achievement & Service Awards | Teaching Awards | Student Awards
Alumni Awards | Honorary Degrees | Annual Celebration of Authorship

Achievement & Service Awards

Eastman Medal

The Eastman Medal recognizes individuals whose achievements and service embody the University's highest ideals. The Medal is named for George Eastman, the University's major benefactor and one of the nation's great champions of higher education. The Provost and President select one or more recipients of this award annually from nominations put forward by the University community.

Frederick Douglass Medal

The Frederick Douglass Medal is awarded by the University and its Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies to distinguished individuals whose scholarship and civic engagement honor the Douglass legacy.

Teaching Awards

Edward Peck Curtis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

Awarded for teaching excellence in schools with undergraduate programs, the E.P. Curtis Award recognizes a record of distinguished teaching, typically developed over at least eight years, as well as a demonstrated readiness to help less experienced faculty colleagues or teaching assistants master their craft. The faculty recipient is honored with a citation at commencement and receives a monetary award.

Edward Peck Curtis Awards for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student

Established to encourage excellence in the work of graduate students who assist undergraduate instruction, the E.P Curtis Award for Graduate Students is awarded to a small number of full-time graduate students with a role in undergraduate education. Nominees are expected to have had significant face-to-face interaction with undergraduate students in the classroom or laboratory. Awards are determined by the Vice Provost & University Dean of Graduate Studies, based on nominations from individual departments or undergraduate student groups.

  • Questions about the Curtis Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student should be sent to Deborah Randle

G. Graydon Curtis ’58 and Jane W. Curtis Award for Nontenured Faculty Teaching

Established in honor of Professor Ralph Helmkamp '11, Professor of Chemistry, this award recognizes teaching excellence by a non-tenured member of the faculty. To quote the donor: “Recognizing that many tenured faculty members excel in both teaching and research, it is my expectation that this annual award, directed exclusively to the non-tenured faculty, will encourage both interest and excellence in instruction at the undergraduate and graduate levels.” The award is intended for faculty on the tenure track who have not yet been tenured. The faculty recipient is honored with a citation at commencement and receives a monetary award.

Lifetime Achievement in Graduate Education Award

This award award recognizes University of Rochester faculty members who have provided outstanding guidance and mentorship to doctoral students at the University, and whose students have in turn gone on to make important contributions in scholarship, business, or government. The award is given in years when the record of a candidate nominated for the award below meets criteria for this special honor and is presented at the University doctoral commencement ceremony.

William H. Riker University Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching

The Riker Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching recognizes a faculty member who has excelled in graduate instruction, particularly in the University's doctoral programs. The award is presented at the Doctoral Commencement Ceremony each May.

Student Awards

Provost's Circle Scholars

The Department of Athletics nominates student athletes who exemplify excellence in academics as well as in their sport for recognition as a Provost’s Circle Scholar. Award recipients are honored at a dinner at the Patrick Barry House, the official residence of the Provost.

Alumni Awards

Hutchison Medal

The Charles Force Hutchison and Marjorie Smith Hutchison Medal is awarded to University of Rochester alumni in recognition of their outstanding achievement and notable service to the community, state, or nation. The President selects one or more recipients of this award annually from nominations put forward by the University community.


Rochester Distinguished Scholar

The Distinguished Scholar award recognizes doctoral alumni who have led distinguished careers in academia, private enterprise, public service and the arts. An individual is eligible for the award if he or she has earned a PhD from the University and is not currently an employee. The Provost selects the recipient of this award in consultation with the University Dean of Graduate Studies. The award is presented annually at the University doctoral commencement ceremony.


Honorary Degrees

Honorary degrees are granted to individuals from outside the University community who have achieved great distinction in academics, private enterprise, public service, government, or the arts. Degree nominations may be submitted from throughout the University community, and are reviewed by the Faculty Committee on Honorary Degrees, the President, and the Board of Trustees. Honorary degrees are typically awarded during University ceremonies, such as Commencement or a dean's investiture, or at a special concert at the Eastman Theatre.

Questions about honorary degrees should be directed to Anthony Green.

Complete alphabetical list of honorary degree recipients, 1851-present

Honorary degrees by year: