The Queen of Soul is now a doctor of music.
Legendary singer-songwriter Aretha Franklin received an honorary doctorate degree from Princeton University, making her just one of a half-dozen people to be so honored.
Franklin traded her usual “sassy but classy” attire for the all-black traditional graduation gown and cap as an honorary graduation stole was placed on her shoulders. Stephen Oxman, university orator and trustee, offered a long and passionate tribute to Franklin during which he praised her for her “impeccably bold and fearless” performance style that took listeners on a “journey to the depths of her soul.”
The 70-year-old artist from Detroit smiled broadly Oxman’s speech. She never attended college, but now has three honorary degrees from prestigious colleges. In 2006, she received an honorary degree from the Berklee College of Music in Boston and in 2010 she earned another honorary degree from Yale.
In addition to three degrees, the iconic soul singer has earned 18 Grammy Awards and countless other of other honors and distinctions.
In 1968, Franklin became only the second African American woman to be featured on the cover of TIME magazine. In 1987, she was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
More recently, in 2008, she ranked No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists list. That same year she paired up with Mary J. Blige to take home the title of Best Gospel-Soul Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for the Gospel hit “Never Gonna Break My Faith.”
Just last year Franklin released her 38th studio album entitled “A Woman Falling Out Of Love.” Later this year, Franklin will also be honored by the Gospel Music Hall of Fame for her contribution to popular music.
As Oxman said during his tribute that Franklin reminds “. . . us to think, do right, and call on her, the Queen of Soul will forever command the world’s R-E-S-P-E-C-T.”