On Saturday, May 7, five notable musicians will be presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Music degree from Berklee College of Music at the college’s annual commencement ceremony. The honorees are Kenny Garrett, Chucho Valdés, Bebo Valdés, Mavis Staples, and Michael McDonald. In addition, Garrett will be the school’s commencement speaker, addressing more than 900 Berklee graduates, their parents, and invited guests, hopefully with words of inspiration. Other musicians to receive an honorary degree with Garrett include: Chucho Valdés, Bebo Valdés, Mavis Staples, and Michael McDonald.
“I was totally elated when I was advised that I’d be receiving an Honorary Doctorate from the world’s largest college of contemporary music!” said saxophonist Garrett, in a press release received at JT. “This is a dream come true and I’m deeply appreciative and honored to be a member of this illustrious group of recipients.”
According to the same press release, “this year’s honorary doctorate recipients are being recognized for their achievements and influence in music, and for their enduring contributions to American and international culture.” Since 1971, when Duke Ellington was the first to receive the honor, Berklee has recognized many notable musicians and executives, including several jazz musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Nancy Wilson and Wayne Shorter.