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Home : Aretha Franklin was presented
Aretha Franklin was presented
Aretha Franklin presented honorary degree from Berklee and Princeton
Aretha Franklin was presented with an honorary degree from berklee colloege of music in 2006 and princeton university in 2012. If there’s one thing that commands R-E-S-P-E-C-T, it’s an Ivy League diploma.

Aretha Franklin has two.

The Queen of Soul received her second honorary degree from an Ivy League school yesterday when she accepted a doctorate in music from Princeton University. She received the first from Yale in 2010.

Franklin joined more than 2,000 graduates at Princeton yesterday during the university’s 265th annual commencement, beaming and mouthing “thank you” as university trustee Stephen Oxman presented her with the degree.

“With her singular ‘Amazing Grace,’ Franklin continues to traverse musical bridges ‘over troubled water,’” Oxman said, alluding to two Franklin hits.

Five other people received honorary degrees during yesterday’s commencement, held on the university’s front lawn in crisp, clear weather.

Pete Carril, the 81-year-old former basketball coach who led Princeton to 13 Ivy League championships, teared up as he received his honorary doctorate of humanities. Also honored were Miami Dade College President Eduardo Padron, mathematician Karen Uhlenbeck, historian Joan Scott and physicist Joseph Taylor.

The ceremony also recognized those who earned their degrees the old-fashioned way: the 1,235 undergraduates and 832 graduate students who received degrees in subjects as diverse as geosciences, classics and archeology.

President Shirley Tilghman noted that Princeton still confers such degrees, even as some universities have eliminated niche offerings in the humanities amid budget cuts. She told graduates the liberal arts degree isn’t dead.

“Both this country and the dozens of others represented on this lawn today need thoughtful, open-minded and well-informed citizens to chart their course and influence their future,” Tilghman said. “No, we are not about to administer the last rites for a liberal education.”

Tilghman presided over the ceremony, giving closing remarks and translating portions of the ceremony into Latin.

Latin plays a traditional role in Princeton’s graduation. Salutatorian Elizabeth Butterworth, who received a bachelor’s degree in classics, read her speech in the ancient language as students followed along, reading from English translations. Parents and guests were not given translations. As the program explained, the humorous speech was meant only for students to understand.

“Today, we come to a sad parting, but not to the end of our friendships,” Butterworth said in Latin, according to the translation. “Daily, I will see your images on Facebook!” Butterworth, who has won a Rhodes Scholarship to study in Oxford, England, ended with the popular Latin phrase “tempus fugit,” which means “time flies.”

In her speech, Tilghman congratulated the students and reminded them a famous graduate who took a while to find his way after leaving Princeton: future U.S. president James Madison.

“Still not knowing what he wanted to do ... he lived with his parents for another four years,” Tilghman said. “Now, I can’t claim that he lived in a basement, but other than that missing detail, the story certainly sounds like a contemporary one.”