It's now Dr. Tom Petty thanks to the University of Florida

'It was his life-long dream'
Tom Petty
Photo credit Jerod Harris/Getty Images

Gainesville, FL native, Tom Petty, is being honored by his hometown college, University of Florida, with a an honorary Doctor of Music degree.

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The tribute is bestowed upon the the late Rocker, who died at the age of 66 in 2017, in recognition of not only his notable accomplishments throughout his music career, but also the legacy he left behind.

“We in the UF School of Music and College of the Arts are privileged to honor Tom Petty with an honorary doctorate degree in Music, celebrating not only his extraordinary achievements as an artist, but the ways in which his music has and continues to unite us as a community,” said University of Florida’s School of Music Director, Kevin Orr.

“Tom Petty’s tireless defense of the rights of performing artists, and his compassionate advocacy for the wellbeing of his neighbors in every community where he lived, are embodied by the students and faculty of the UF School of Music: commitment to one’s artistic passions, even in the face of challenges; the safeguarding of creative work to ensure unique and lasting impact; and indeed, the power of music to advance causes for the greater good in society.”

Petty’s brother, Bruce Petty, was expected to be on site at the department’s 2023 Spring commencement ceremony on May 4 to accept the doctorate on behalf of Tom.

“I don’t think anyone in our family, including him, thought that he would be linked with the UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA this way,” shared Bruce. “It’s such a powerful thing, it was his life-long dream, and I know he would just be over-the-top, crazy happy about it.”

In addition to the degree, Petty’s family donated $100,000 to launch the Tom Petty Endowment for Guitars and Innovation. The fund will help support the next generation of artists in the University’s School of Music’s Guitar and new Music Business & Entrepreneurship programs.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Jerod Harris/Getty Images