Tom Petty getting honorary doctorate degree


The late Tom Petty is getting a new title this week. The Rock & Roll Hall of Famer can soon be referred to as doctor, now that he’s being awarded a posthumous doctorate by the University of Florida School of Music.

A member of Petty’s family will be on hand to accept the Gainesville native’s Doctor of Music degree during the UF spring doctoral ceremony on Thursday, May 4.

“We in the UF School of Music and College of the Arts are privileged to honor Tom Petty with an honorary doctorate degree in Music, celebrating not only his extraordinary achievements as an artist, but the ways in which his music has and continues to unite us as a community,” UF School of Music director Kevin Orr shares.

To celebrate the honor, the Petty family has established the Tom Petty Endowment for Guitars & Innovation at UF College of the Arts, pledging $100,000 to expand the school’s guitar program. It will also go toward the new Music Business & Entrepreneurship program. 

“It is so incredible for everyone in the family that UF is honoring our dad in his hometown this way,” Petty’s daughter Adria says. “He loved the Gators, and he loved Gainesville. He always talked about wanting a doctorate from UF and he would have been totally blown away by all this.”

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