‘College Dropout’ No More: Kanye West Receives Honorary Doctoral Degree
Prior to this weekend, Kanye West had a gaping hole in his resume: no college degree.
That obviously hasn't stopped him from accomplishing anything he's wanted to — hell, he based his first album, College Dropout, on the idea — but regardless, Kanye tied up that loose end this weekend when he received an honorary doctoral degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Kanye even donned a cap and gown and spoke at the commencement ceremony.
His brief speech, which you can watch below, was wide-ranging and showcased Kanye's newfound humility. The visibly nervous but clearly happy and humbled Kanye began by talking about pop music, saying, "I am a pop artist, so my medium is public opinion, and the world is my canvas. 'I'm sorry' is something you can use a lot. It gives you the opportunity to give your opinion, apologize for it, and give your opinion again. People say you should not be sorry for your opinions."
"George Bush," Kanye said before pausing to let the audience laugh as they remembered how uncomfortable he made Mike Myers — and the country — when he stood next time him on live television in 2005 and said that the then-president "doesn't care about black people." He continued, "... has some very cool self-portraits. I didn't know he was an artist."
Lisa Wainwright, dean of faculty and vice president of academic administration at SAIC, said the school became interested in giving Chicago-native Kanye an honorary degree when they heard that he said he would have like to attended the university.
“I read it and thought, ‘Wow, this is a fantastic moment,’ she told the Chicago Tribune. “Here is this major figure in the cultural landscape promoting art school, this guy from Chicago saying art school is cool. So we thought, ‘This man deserves an honorary doctorate from us!’ He should have gone here.”
Kanye expressed a deep appreciation for the honorary degree, declaring that it would make "all our lives easier."
"This honor is going to make your lives easier," he said. "Two reasons: you don't have to defend me as much, and I'm going to make all of our lives easier, and it's these Floyd Mayweather belts that are needed to prove what I've been saying my entire life, whether it's the co-sign of Paul McCartney grabbing me and saying, 'It's OK, he doesn't bite white people,' or the New York Times cover, or the Time 'Most Influential' cover, and now, a doctorate at the Art Institute of Chicago"
Kanye had previously attended school at the American Academy of Art and Chicago State University before dropping out to pursue a career in music, which seems to have worked out well enough for him thus far.