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Willie Nelson, Darius Rucker Awarded Honorary Doctorates

Darius Rucker Willie Nelson
John Sciulli, Getty Images for American Giving Awards / Paul Marotta, Getty Images

It proved an interesting weekend for higher education in country music circles last weekend, as country stars Willie Nelson and Darius Rucker both became honorary doctors of music.

80-year-old Nelson was honored by Berklee College of Music in Boston on Saturday night (May 11), alongside Carole King and Annie Lennox. “I was going to ask them if I could write my own medication,” Nelson quipped to the Boston Globe before the ceremony. “Probably not, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.” Nelson is a longtime advocate of marijuana legalization.

Berklee has previously given the honor to artists including Smokey Robinson, Aretha Franklin and David Bowie.

Rucker received his honor on Saturday at the University of South Carolina, where he has longstanding ties. According to the State, he recalled singing a Billy Joel song in the men’s shower during his stint there, where another student heard him and suggested they form a band. That group became Hootie and the Blowfish, which launched Rucker to worldwide fame. He has since carved out a successful solo career in country music.

In his address, Rucker stressed to assembled graduates the importance of finding time to be of service to others and told them to become people “who are not afraid to chase their dreams,” adding, “all my dreams started to come true right here.”

Next: Vince Gill Receives an Honorary Doctorate

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