Doctor of Humane Letters

The degree of Doctor of Humane Letters (Latin: Litterarum humanarum doctor; DHumLitt; DHL; or LHD) is an honorary degree awarded to those who have distinguished themselves through humanitarian and philanthropic contributions to society.[1]

The criteria for awarding the degree differ from institution to institution; however, it is typically given to persons outside the university invited to be keynote speakers at the most important university events, or to faculty members or alumni of the institution who have, in the eyes of the institution or the wider world, distinguished themselves in some way.[2]

The flexibility in interpretation has resulted in universities awarding unique variants of the degree. For example, in 1996 Southampton College awarded Kermit the Frog an honorary "doctorate of Amphibious Letters" in recognition for his contribution to children's education.[3][4]


  1. Eells, Walter Crosby; Haswell, Harold (1960). Academic degrees: earned and honorary degrees conferred by institutions of higher education in the United States. [United States. Office of Education] Bulletin ;1960, no. 28. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare, Office of Education. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  2. "Doctor of Humane Letters". International Institute of Philanthropy. Archived from the original on 2017-04-16. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  3. "Dr. Kermit". 20 May 1996. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  4. Carlin, Romano (11 July 2008). "Dishonorary Degrees". The Chronicle of Higher Education. No. v. 54 i. 44. Retrieved 12 August 2021.

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