Princeton University Tuesday turned the “Queen of Soul” into a doctor.
During its 265th commencement, the school bestowed an honorary doctoral degree on legendary vocalist Aretha Franklin, 70, and five others, including a Hall of Fame college basketball coach and a community college president.
“She pioneered an impeccably bold and fearless, affective and affecting style of performance that calls upon listeners to journey to the depths of her soul and, in so doing, discover their own,” university orator Stephen Oxman said of Franklin.
Franklin’s list of qualifications for a doctor of music degree is extensive. She has recorded 223 albums and earned 21 Grammy awards in her 50-year career as a performer. She was also the first woman honored by the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
Wearing a black robe and a black graduation cap adorned with a gold tassel, Franklin stood and smiled while waiting to receive her pink doctoral hood from Oxman.
“With her singular ‘Amazing Grace,’ she continues to traverse musical ‘bridges over troubled water,’ and by reminding 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,’ ” Oxman said, alluding to some of Franklin’s greatest hits.