This weekend was a grand one for honorary doctorates. On Friday, the evening before Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs delivered the commencement address and received an honorary degree in humanities from his alma mater Howard University, Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page received a similar honor at Boston’s Berklee College of Music.
“What a spirit there is here,” the guitar legend said in his brief remarks after receiving the doctoral degree in music at the 7,000 seat Agganis Arena at Boston University. “Music has so much power across so many avenues. To be in a position to do the thing you’re best at, which is making music, and bringing joy and pleasure to other people, it can’t be much better than that. I wish to pass that on to all of you. Congratulations with your degrees and lots of success in the future.”
Berklee also presented honorary doctorates this year to R&B songwriter Valerie Simpson, jazz pianist Geri Allen and American Music Program youth jazz orchestra founder Thara Memory. Past honorees have included Willie Nelson, Steven Tyler and Annie Lennox.
“It’s truly an honour to be the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate at Berklee as the music of America has been a primary driving force in my early years and pivotal to my musical development,” Page said in an e-mail to Rolling Stone when the degree was announced in March.