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U of M to award honorary degree to Prince

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Today, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents voted unanimously to award Prince with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the College of Liberal Arts. Prince Rogers Nelson, a Minneapolis native and American singer, songwriter, musician, producer and actor passed away on April 21, 2016. The degree will be formally presented to Prince’s family at a program later this year. Details will be announced at a later date.

“As Minnesotans and people around the world continue to celebrate Prince's life and contributions to society, the University is privileged to award the honorary degree posthumously,” said President Eric Kaler. “Prince was transformational in American music and culture, and we are extremely proud of his many accomplishments, as well as his efforts to give back to his home state, a legacy we hope to continue.”

Prior to his untimely passing, the University of Minnesota was in the process of considering a nomination to award Prince an honorary Doctor of Musical Arts. In nominating Prince, the College of Liberal Arts sought to not only honor Prince's transcendent talent as a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, but also to highlight his remarkable contributions off stage: fostering musical talent, and supporting the local music industry, as well as his influence in the realms of gender identity, fashion, and socio-political activism.

"He changed the world’s view of what it meant to be Minnesotan," says Michael Kim, Director of the University of Minnesota's School of Music. "He demonstrated that far from provincial and unassuming, Minnesota’s creative talents were cutting-edge and brilliant. I can think of no better way to express the University's esteem for one of Minnesota’s own sons, and one of the most talented and influential performing artists of all time."

The honorary degree is the highest award conferred by the University of Minnesota, and may be presented to an individual who has achieved acknowledged eminence in cultural affairs, in public service, or in a field of knowledge and scholarship. Since 1925, the U has awarded 270 honorary degrees.

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