The Society's by-laws provide for the recognition of "persons distinguished for their interest in the Society's mission or who have rendered valuable services to the Society." Over the years, the Society's Council has designated as "honorary members" a number of prominent scholars, usually active outside North America, whose contributions the membership has deemed particularly valuable to supporting the Society's goals. In addition, members have proposed and the Council has recognized as "fellows" writers and artists whose creative work has contributed significantly to the appreciation of Dante.
Since 2018, Council has also periodically conferred a "distinguished service award" on members who have provided the Society with an extraordinary degree of service over their careers.
Honorary Members and Fellows may be proposed to the Honors and Awards Committee by any member of the Society by submitting an advocacy statement (under 500 words), co-signed by two other active members of the Society, and an abbreviated curriculum vitae of the candidate. The materials may be sent as email attachments to email@example.com. The Committee will make a recommendation to Council to approve particular candidates they deem most worthy.
There is no formal process for proposing candidates for the distinguished service award, as nominations are normally proposed by the Society's officers and Council members. Nevertheless, any member of the Society may recommend a candidate for consideration by sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Listings of current honorary members, fellows, and recipients of the distinguished service award follow below. All three honors are for exceptional individuals, and there is no expectation of a regular pace of nominations or conferrals.