Nearly two decades after earning a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and more than four years after his death, the rock icon Tom Petty was awarded an honorary doctorate. from the University of Florida.
The school’s board of trustees unanimously voted to award a doctorate in music to Thomas Earl Petty in a meeting Friday (December 3). Born and raised in Gainesville, Petty worked as a stage manager at UF as he tried to break into music, but he was never enrolled.
Petty passed away after a accidental drug overdose in October 2017. Days later, during a UF home football game, the song “I’m going Back Down” was played at the stadium as a tribute to Petty. Songs have become a regular feature in Gators games.
Often backed by the Heartbreakers, Petty broke through in the 1970s and went on to sell more than 80 million records, with hits like “Free Fallin,” “Refugee,” and “American Girl.” Petty and the Heartbreakers was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
https://www.billboard.com/music/music-news/tom-petty-phd-university-of-florida-1235005884/ Tom Petty Receives Doctorate of Posture for Music – Billboard