Professor Emeritus is a title of honor conferred on a full professor who is no longer in service to a university. The professor may have retired, either for good or to take a different teaching position.

The title is generally given to someone who has continued to make distinguished contributions to his field of study, not just any old guy who quit teaching. Each university has its own regulations, but most require a professor to have taught there for at least ten continuous years. Exceptions are made, and of course there are boards and committees to decide who should get the title.

A Professor Emeritus generally does not serve the university even in a limited function - no committee meetings or administrative duties - but is recognized on all ceremonial occasions, and may march in graduation processions, etc.

Webster1913 would like you to know that emeritus comes from the Latin emerere, which is e + merere, out + serve = basically, to complete one's term of service; to merit; to earn.


thanks to:
http://www.adelaide.edu.au/HR/policies/typeappt/emerprof.htm
http://www.cqu.edu.au/documents/unipol/professor_emeritus.htm
http://www.usask.ca/vpacademic/policies/professor_emeritus.html
Webster1913

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