Give Aretha Franklin RESPECT For Getting An Honorary Doctorate DegreeBy Jane Reed, UniversityHerald Reporter
When Aretha Franklin steps on stage, the audience may be expecting her most recent rendition of RESPECT. But not at Harvard. The iconic singer was there to receive an honorary doctorate degree.
In total, according to Business Insider, the Queen of Soul holds more than 12 honorary degrees. To count a few, she has a Doctorate of Music and Arts from Princeton. Another one from the University of Pennsylvania, too. In 2010, she received an honorary degree from Yale University, one from Berklee College of Music in 2006, another from New England Conservatory of Music in 1995, and one from University of Michigan in 1987. A different honorary doctorate degree was granted to her by the Wayne State University. It was in 1990 that she received the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Wayne State. She also received an honorary doctorate for law. She is officially a Doctor of Law by Bethune-Cookman College in 1975.
But her most recent one was from Harvard. There, she delivered a commencement speech in 2014 to accept her honor. No, she did not sing RESPECT or any of her hit songs. In fact, she sang the national anthem.
Born in 1942, the American artist began her singing career at home and in church. Her father was a minister and gospel choir was in her blood. Born in Memphis, Tennessee, she saw her family's love for music at an early age. Her mother was an accomplished piano player and vocalist. She studied classical piano at Julliard School of Music, 1998 Later on, the family moved to Buffalo, New York. Her father managed her singing career and assisted her in getting signed on to labels. She did not have time to get a higher education, it appears. At a young age she was already into her career and had her fair share of struggles. However, in 1987, she became the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2008 she won her 18th Grammy Award, making her one of the most honored artists in Grammy history.
Watch Aretha Franklin sing the national anthem below: