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UCLA Protocol for Dignitary Introductions

Dignitaries visiting UCLA, regardless of rank, should be greeted curbside as they arrive and accompanied by their host, or appropriate staff member, for the entire duration of their visit. For high-level dignitary visits, there is a formal protocol on who should greet the visitor. High-level dignitaries include:

Current or former chiefs of state/heads of government or their spouses

High-ranking members of royalty

United Nations secretary general

High-ranking representatives of foreign governments

Religious or spiritual leaders, such as the Pope

United States Cabinet members

United States members of Congress (senators and representatives)

California governor and/or first spouse

Mayor of Los Angeles

When a high-level dignitary visits UCLA, one or more of the following university administrators should attend the formal greeting:

Gene Block, Chancellor

Emily Carter, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

C. Cindy Fan, Vice Provost, International Studies (for international dignitaries)

Roger Wakimoto, Vice Chancellor for Research

Rhea Turteltaub, Vice Chancellor, External Affairs

Dean of hosting/sponsoring Division/School

Academic Director/Chair of Center/Department

For any meet and greet involving a high-level member of the legislature, check with the Executive Director of Federal Relations and/or the Executive Director of State Relations to determine if the appropriate UCLA administrator is doing the meet and greet.

If there is a formal “meet and greet” with additional guests, that may take place in a “green room” or office, as appropriate. The host or staff member should bring the dignitary to the additional guests and conduct additional introductions at that time.

Format for Introduction and Samples

Introductions are based on precedence, not gender. The lower-ranking person is introduced to the higher-ranking person. Persons in official office or visitors to campus are given the higher ranking, as a sign of courtesy and respect. In general, first names are not used in formal introductions.

Appropriate wording variations:

“(Higher-ranking Person), may I present (Lower-ranking Person)?”

“(Higher-ranking Person), may I introduce (Lower-ranking Person)?”

“(Higher-ranking Person), may I introduce to you (Lower-ranking Person)?”

Do not say:

“(Higher-ranking Person), may I introduce you to (Lower-ranking Person)?”

Reciprocate introductions by telling the lower-ranking person, who the higher-ranking person is.


“Mr. Ambassador, may I present Chancellor Block of UCLA? Chancellor Block, this is Ambassador Smith of Sweden.”

“Senator Smith, may I present to you Dean Joe Bruin of the UCLA Anderson School of Management? Dean Bruin, this is Senator Smith from California.”

“Chancellor Christ, I’d like to introduce to you Chancellor Block. Chancellor Block, this is Chancellor Christ from UC Berkeley.”

Note: In this example, even though he is of equal rank to Chancellor Block, as a courtesy Chancellor Christ would be extended the higher ranking as a visitor to UCLA.

Additional Notes for Introductions

Check the protocol on the person’s name and title and be prepared to use titles correctly. International protocol for names and titles may differ. Always stand for introductions. Respond to an introduction by repeating the person’s name. If you use an honorific with one person’s name, use an honorific for everyone. Don’t give yourself an honorific.

Dignitary Gifts

If there is to be an exchange of gifts, at UCLA we generally present them at the beginning of the meet and greet or at the end of the visit – generally not during the course of the program. Check the gift-giving practices of the visiting country or government office. For example, in some cultures, it is not appropriate to present gifts in a business setting. Also, some government officials have limits on the dollar amount of the gifts they may receive.

For more details, please visit the UCLA Dignitary Gift website, or contact Christine Larson, International Institute, or Tricia Lippert, Special Events and Protocol.

UCLA Dignitary Gifts.


Harris, April, Etiquette and Protocol: A Guide for Campus Events, CASE Books, Washington D.C., 1999.

Holberg, Andrea, Forms of Address: A Guide for Business & Social Use, Rice University Press, Houston, 1994.

McCaffree, Mary Jane, Protocol: the Complete Handbook of Diplomatic, Official and Social Usage, Devon Publishing Company, Inc., Washington, D.C., 1989.

Note: According to protocol books, when introducing two individuals follow the protocol found in the above books for “Conversation” as opposed to “Introductions”. If you are introducing the person to an audience, you should use “Introductions”.