Tom Petty Awarded Musical Doctorate

Tom Petty is being awarded a posthumous doctorate by the University of Florida.

The late musician was selected for an honorary doctorate of music by the school’s board of trustees on Friday, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

“Petty…is widely considered among the most distinctive and influential musicians of the past 50 years,” University provost Joseph Glover said. “His presence remains significant as seen by abundant radio airplay and the popularity of events in his honor, such as the Tom Petty birthday bash held annually in Gainesville.”

Petty’s credentials include Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, three Grammy awards, a MusiCares Person of the Year honor, the ASCAP organization’s Golden Note Award, Billboard magazine’s Century Award, and a U. of Florida Distinguished Achievement Award.

The Florida native’s hit, “I Won’t Back Down” “has become a mantra at athletic events” at the university, Glover said, adding that he heard the school’s president, Kent Fuchs, sing it.

Later on during the meeting, Fuchs announced that Petty’s music will be played after the university’s fall commencement events later in December.

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