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Information about honorary degree recipients at UNB from the orators' presentations at the encaenia and convocation ceremonies are a significant resource for university staff, alumni, and external researchers. Since 1828, the university has bestowed many honorary degrees on notable New Brunswickers, Canadians, and international guests from various walks of life: academics (William Brydone Jack, Natalie Zemon Davis), politicians ( R.B. Bennett, John Diefenbaker, Margaret Chase Smith, John F. Kennedy, Frank McKenna), artists ( Rita MacNeill; Peter Gzowski, Bruno and Molly Bobak, Anne Murray), authors (Alden Nowlan, David Walker, Bliss Carman and Charles G.D. Roberts), scientists (Wilder Penfield, Linus Pauling), and social & community activists (June Callwood , Stephen Lewis).

The University of New Brunswick's Saint John campus also bestows honorary degrees. This tradition began in 1976 at its second Spring Convocation. Honorary degrees have also been awarded during fall Convocation, since 1982. Recipients from UNBSJ have included author and humourist Stuart Trueman, politician Elizabeth Weir, writer David Adams Richards, and poet and editor, Douglas Lochhead.