Toward a Concept of “Emeritus”

  • Each year, the university confers the title “Emeritus” on qualified retired faculty and academic administrators who have been recommended through a department-based process.

    What does it mean to be “professor emeritus”? “Emeritus” is rooted in Latin e (from) and meritus (deserve, earn). Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary gives these definitions of emeritus:

    adj. 1. holding after retirement an honorary title corresponding to that held last during active service. 2. retired from an office or position <professor ~>

    n. one retired from professional life but permitted to hold the rank of his last office as an honorary title

    Emeritus status is an honor conferred by the university to show respect for a distinguished career. It says “even though you are no longer an official part of this organization, you have shown such merit that we claim you as a continuing part of our professional group; we gather glory from your reflected glory.”