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Honorary Degrees

Outstanding contributions of CDC/ATSDR employees are frequently recognized by colleges and universities through the awarding of honorary degrees. Employees may accept these honorary degrees subject to the following guidelines.

  • An employee may accept an honorary degree from an institution of higher education based on a written determination by the Deputy Ethics Counselor that the timing of the award of the degree would not cause a reasonable person to question the employee's impartiality in a matter affecting the institution.
  • The Deputy Ethics Counselor should verify whether there are any pending lawsuits, grant applications, investigations, contract disputes, or other similar matters involving the institution conferring the degree or the employee to whom the degree is offered. If such pending matters exist, a determination will have to be made, based upon the circumstances, as to whether the pending matter is such that the employee should decline receipt of the honorary degree.
  • To avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, it is recommended that the employee be disqualified from all specific matters uniquely involving the institution awarding the degree from the date that the employee decides to accept the degree to the date the degree is conferred, or the date that all monetary matters associated with the degree are received (e.g., travel reimbursement).
  • It is recommended that employees accept honorary degrees as official duty activities.
  • All honorary degrees must be approved in advance by the Deputy Ethics Counselor.
  • For further information, consult Subpart B of the Office of Government Ethics Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, specifically 5 C.F.R. § 2635.204 (d).

To obtain approval

  1. submit a request (memo) through organizational approval channels to Carlton Duncan, Deputy Ethics Counselor;
  2. attach the completed review/approval form;Adobe Acrobat print-friendly PDF file (46KB, 2 pages)
  3. attach the notification of the honorary degree from the conferring organization; and
  4. mail the package to Teresa Walker-Mason, Ethics Program Activity, Mailstop D27.
  • Page last reviewed: May 12, 2009
  • Page last updated: May 12, 2009
  • Content source: CDC and ATSDR Ethics Program
  • Notice: Linking to a non-federal site does not constitute an endorsement by HHS, CDC or any of its employees of the sponsors or the information and products presented on the site.
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