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Lucinda Williams Receives Honorary Doctorate From Berklee College of Music

Lucinda Williams Berklee honorary doctorate
Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

Berklee College of Music presented Lucinda Williams with an honorary doctor of music degree during its 2017 commencement ceremony on Saturday (May 13). The singer-songwriter was one of five honorees given honorary degrees by Berklee during its 2017 commencement.

“As someone whose life has been dedicated to writing and playing music — and the long path of continuing to try to master both crafts — being honored by an institution that helps others find their way to a life in music is the truest honor of all,” Williams says on her Facebook page.

Also among Berklee’s 2017 honorary degree recipients were Lionel Richie, Todd Rundgren, Neil Portnow and Shin Joong Hyun; Rundgren also gave the commencement address to this year’s graduates of the renowned Boston-based music school. The evening before commencement (May 12), Berklee students paid tribute to the 2017 honorary degree honorees with performances of their music at Boston University’s Agganis Arena, which is also where Berklee’s commencement took place.

Past recipients of honorary degrees from Berklee College of Music include Duke Ellington, who was the first to receive an honorary doctorate from the school in 1971, Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gillespie, Smokey Robinson, Steven Tyler, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Carole King, Alison Krauss and more.

Williams has won three Grammy Awards and two Americana Music Awards, including the Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, in 2011. She has released 13 albums since she first hit the scene with 1979’s Ramblin’; her most recent project, The Ghosts of Highway 20, was released in February of 2016.

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