Tom Petty Receives Honorary Posthumous Doctorate of Music

Tom Petty He was posthumously recognized by the University of Florida with an honorary Doctor of Music degree, and to celebrate, the estate of the late Heartbreakers frontman announced an endowment to the school’s music program.

Dr. got Petty the academic distinction after the board of trustees of UF unanimously voted in 2021 to recognize the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, who is from the same city the university is home to in Gainesville. His younger brother, Bruce Petty, was invited to receive a degree in his name at the spring commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 4.

“I don’t think anyone in our family, including him, thought he would be linked to the University of Florida in this way,” junior Petty shared in a statement. “It’s a very powerful thing, it’s been his lifelong dream, and I know he’s going to be over the top, crazy happy about it.”

UF School of Music director Kevin Orr added that they are “privileged to award Tom Petty an honorary doctorate degree in Music, celebrating not only his extraordinary achievements as an artist, but the ways in which the his music has and continues to unite us as a community.” The “I Won’t Back Down” singer was previously awarded the university’s Distinguished Achievement Award in 2006.

Meanwhile, Petty’s estate, in partnership with UF, opened The Tom Petty Endowment for Guitars & Innovation, which aims to support students enrolled in Guitar and Music Business & Entrepreneurship programs at UF’s School of Music. The estate established the foundation with a $100,000 donation, while interested parties can contribute to the endowment. HERE.

In conjunction with Tom Petty’s posthumous music doctorate, the estate was released exclusively reprinted at Shepard Fairey’s “An American Treasure” poster, while Gainesville’s Cade Museum will host a screening of the Tom Petty: Wherever You Feel Freethe 2021 documentary centered around the making of his 1994 solo album Wild flowerson the night of commencement.

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