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Deceased Student Policy

Posthumous Degree

When a student dies in the senior year, that event will be recognized at commencement with the consent of the family. If a student has completed seven semesters and is registered in courses that would complete all degree requirements, a posthumous degree may be awarded.

Posthumous Degree Policy:

Students who die while actively pursuing a degree may be considered for a posthumous degree based on the following criteria:

  • Progressing satisfactorily and registered in the last semester of the degree program.
  • In good academic and social standing.
  • Completed or nearly completed all coursework and other degree requirements.
  • If all coursework has not been completed, approval is required by special faculty vote that the student should receive a degree posthumously.

Posthumous Degree Procedures:

  • University staff members, family or friends of the deceased contact a faculty member (such as the student’s advisor or department chair/program director) or the Office of the Registrar to request award of a posthumous degree.
  • The Registrar reviews the student’s record in consultation with the department chair or major program director, student’s advisor and current instructors to determine if the student was likely to complete the work satisfactorily and determines that the student is in good academic and social standing.
  • On behalf of the student, the Registrar completes the Application for Graduation.
  • Faculty vote final approval (with the support of the Board of Trustees).
  • The Registrar notifies the individual who made the original request.

If a posthumous degree is approved:

  • The deceased student’s name will be listed in the next commencement program parenthetically noted “Posthumous.” Posthumous degrees will be awarded at the next commencement date after approval.
  • On the diploma and transcript, the words “Awarded Posthumously” will be printed.
  • The diploma will be presented during commencement exercises, or if presentation is not appropriate, the diploma may be mailed from the Registrar’s Office with an appropriate letter to the family.
  • The script for the next commencement will ensure that the President acknowledges the name(s) of each student who died during the senior year. (Students in the class who die earlier may be memorialized in other ways, but would not be specifically named during commencement ceremonies.)

Posthumous Award

In cases where it is determined that the student did not meet the above requirements for a degree but was in good standing while attending DePauw, a posthumous certificate may be awarded (if the family wishes). Consent for certificates will be given with the approval of the Dean of Students.

The person requesting the certificate will provide the student’s full name and proof of death. In addition, the person requesting the certificate will provide the following personal information: name, address, phone number, and relationship to the deceased.

The request should be addressed in writing to the Registrar and signed and dated.