Happy 40th Birthday! Tom Petty Honored with Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree at University of Florida

Veteran rocker and songwriter Tom Petty has been awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by his alma mater, the University of Florida. Petty was a UF graduate and the university says he is…

Happy 40th Birthday! Tom Petty Honored with Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree at University of Florida

Veteran rocker and songwriter Tom Petty has been awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by his alma mater, the University of Florida.

Petty was a UF graduate and the university says he is an “American icon who blazed a trail for generations of musicians.”

UF awarded Petty the Doctor of Laws degree Wednesday during a ceremony at the school’s athletics complex. The university says Petty was honored for his lifetime of contributions to music and to Florida.

Petty died in October at age 66 after a fall on his staircase at his Malibu home. The Recording Academy announced this month that Petty will be posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Tom Petty Album of the Year Nomination I Am The Highway and I Killed The Music and I’m Losing You were nominated for this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Petty was a founding member of the band the Heartbreakers, which he co-founded in 1970. The band achieved a major commercial success in the mid-to-late 1980s.

Petty’s full statement on the honorary degree was posted online by the University of Florida’s Office of Engagement and Public Affairs.

Music’s biggest label finally gets it: Your vinyl is better than our digital product!

The Grammy-winning rock star who passed away in October is now posthumously honoured at the University of Florida with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Read Petty’s complete statement to UF

To my UF family:

I’m delighted and honored to receive the Doctor of Laws in Honor of Tom Petty. This honour is a gift from the UF community, my former students, and the students of today, that I could not have done this without their support, belief, and friendship.

I’m a Florida boy with a large heart and a huge love for the Sunshine State and its incredible natural resources. As a native Floridian, UF is what gave me the courage and the chance to dream as hard as I could, tell stories like I could, and continue to sing as I dreamt. Like all of you, I’m proud of my accomplishment, but none of it would have been possible without you.

Music is a critical component of my life’s work. You’ll find my songs reflect my deepest feelings about life, life’s lessons, beauty, and fragility.

“You’ve got to know how to dance to what the rest of the world is doing/ to come up with your own dance steps and own beats/ just dance to what you want to dance to.”

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