Honorary Degrees

Each year, the Faculty of Whittier College have the distinct honor to nominate and select candidates to receive the College's highest award, the honorary doctorate. Since the first ceremony in 1913, the impressive list of honorands has included pioneers, rising stars, and key contributors in the fields of science, business, politics, engineering, education, and the humanities, among others.

Following is the comprehensive list of our most distinguished Whittier College honorary degree recipients.

Year

Honored

Degree Granted, Honoris Causa

1913

Ford ​Ashman Carpenter

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1915

Thomas Newlin

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1916

Charles E. Tebbetts
William P. Trueblood

Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)
Master of Arts (M.A.)

1917

Gilbert Bowles

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1918

H. Edwin McGrew
John S. Kimber

Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)
Bachelor of Arts (A.B.)

1927

Willard O. Trueblood
William John Cooper

Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1928

Lou Henry Hoover

Doctor of Letters (Litt. D.)

1929

Francis J. Dell
Vierling Kersey

Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1932

Imelda E. Brooks

Master of Education (M.Ed.)

1934

Walter Friar Dexter

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1937

Mrs. Alexander R. Kerr

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1938

Herbert E. Harris
Gustaf F. Ostrom

Doctor of Letters (Litt.D)

Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)

1942

O. Herschel Folger

Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)

1945

George Reeves

Doctor of Laws (L.L.D.)

1946

Jessamyn West McPherson
William O. Mendenhall

Doctor of Letters (Litt. D)
Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)

1947

Harry Noble Wright

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1948

Howard L. Hockett
Rufus M. Jones

Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)
Doctor of Letters (Litt.D.)

1950

Clarence Evan Pickett

Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)

1951

Henry Joell Cadbury

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1954

Richard M. Nixon

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1956

LaMotte T. Cohu

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1957

Preston Hotchkis
Donald Byron Spitler
Aubrey Wardman

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1958

Wofford B. Camp

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1959

John Stauffer

Doctor of Laws (LL.D)

1960

Benjamin K. Swartz

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1961

Joseph Herschel Coffin
Herman H. Henkle
Lewis Elden Smith

Doctor of Letters (Litt.D.)
Doctor of Letters (Litt.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1962

Arthur Fisher Corey
Joseph Parker Cosand, Jr.
Paul S. Smith

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1963

E. Ezra Ellis
Mark O. Hatfield
Harold Foster Spencer

Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)

1964

William McCormick Blair, Jr.
Arthur G. Coons
Edward J. Guirado

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1965

Evangeline Brainard Burgess
Leslie Townes (Bob) Hope
Warren Barr Knox
Margaret Chase Smith

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1966

Chester Earl Holifield

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1968

Richard Armour
Eugene Gonzales
Leo E. Owens

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1969

Frank Borman
Robert D. Fisher
Stanley Meyer

Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1970

Harold C. Case

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1970

Raymond Philip Shafer
(At the Inaugural Convocation of Dr. Fredrick Moore Binder)

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1971

Arnold O. Beckman
Melvin Calvin
Kristen Stendahl

Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)

1972

Patricia Reilly Hitt
Robert M. McAllister
N. Loyall McLaren
Elliot Lee Richardson

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Science ((Sc.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

1973

Richard P. Ettinger, Jr.
Allan W. Ostar
W. Clement Stone

Doctor of Letters (Litt. D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1974

Jessamyn West McPherson
Donald E. Graham

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1975

John Hope Franklin
Walter Manuel Garcia
Howard Payne House

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Science (Sc. D.)

1976

Thomas Bradley
William H.D. Hornaday

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)

1977

Albert R. Behnke, Jr.
Thomas W. Bewley
​John K. Van de Kamp
Beverly M. Stauffer

Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

1978

Jan J. Erteszek
Ross McCollum
Carl E. Sagan

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Science (Sc. D)

1979

Ray Douglas Bradbury
Henry A. Lacy
John A. Murdy, Jr.

Doctor of  Letters (Litt. D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

1980

Theodor Seuss Geisel
John Houseman

Doctor of  Letters (Litt. D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

1981

Julian Nava
Wallace R. Turner

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1982

Ernest L. Boyer
Oscar O. Marshburn
Carl L. Randolph. Jr.

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1983

Knud Helm-Erichsen
Charles T. Manatt

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1984

Paul Blair Salmon
Peter Heath Dailey
Richard H. Deihl

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)

1985

Jan de Hartog
Klane E. Robison

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Divinity (D.D.)

1986

Ernest J. Gaines
Robert F. Rockwell

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1987

Yuri V. Medvedkov
Jack Smith
William F. House

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)

1988

Francis L. Dale
Stuart E. Gothold
Joseph W. Elder
Barry Lopez
R. Chandler Myers

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1989

Dorothy Wright Nelson
F. Sherwood Rowland

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)

1990

Morris S. Dees, Jr.
Benjamin B. Tregoe, Jr.

Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)

1991

Paul C.W. Chu
Martin E. Marty

Doctor of Science (Sc.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

1992

Donald M. Stewart
Ruth B. Shannon
Ed L. Shannon, Jr.
Tanya Tull

Doctor of  Letters (Litt.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Social Science (Sc.D.)

1993

Edward James Olmos
Lilian G. Katz
Gordon Gund

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Letters (Litt.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

1994

Archbishop Trevor Huddleston
Rayburn S. Dezember

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

1995

Frank O. Gehry
Clinton O. Harris
Harry W. Nerhood

Doctor of Humanities
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Letters (Litt.D.)

1996

Dolores Lautrup Ball
Al Martinez
Harriet H. Doerr
Judith Malina

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

1997

Robert F. Erburu
Douglas W. Ferguson
Dorothy Antoinette Handy (Miller)
Tina Howe

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

1998

John A. Arcardi
Antonia M. Hernandez
Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Donald E. Wood

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

1999

Charlotte D. Graham
Barry Munitz
Andres Uhrskov

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

2000

Anthony R. Pierno '54
Robert A. Skotheim

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

2001

Julia Scofield Russell
Esteban E. Torres

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

2002

Linda & Peter Biehl
Willard V. Harris, Jr.
Norman Y. Mineta

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

2003

Charles Johnson
Rosario Marin
Alice Newsom
Daniel Schorr
Lisbeth Schorr

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

2004

Simon A. Levin
Rev. Cecil L. "Chip"Murray
Martin Ortiz '48
B. LaRae Orullian

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

2005

Alfred J. Gobar '53
Rafer Johnson
Ruben Martinez
Gordon Sato

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

2007

Antonio Villaraigosa
Isabel Allende
William C. Gordon

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

2008

Justice Richard Goldstone
Dr. Michael Shermer
Venerable Grand Master Hsing Yun

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

2009

Marian Wright Edelman
Al Young
Bharati Mukherjee

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

2010

Nilo Cruz
Luc Montagnier
Keith Jackson
Tim O'Brien
Bill McKibben

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

2011

Bill Moyers
Judith Davidson Moyers

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

2012

David Bohnett
Richard Solomon
Dr. Mario J. Molina
Dr. Rosemary Radford Ruether
​Chauncey Veatch

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)
Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)

2013

Sonia Nazario

Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.)