Photo: Takahiro Kyono

Tom Petty Receives Posthumous PH.D For Music

Some two decades after being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and more than four years following his untimely passing, rock icon Tom Petty has been awarded an honorary Ph.D. from the University of Florida.

On Friday (12.03), the school’s board of trustees unanimously voted to award the legendary singer/songwriter (born Thomas Earl Petty) a posthumous doctoral degree in music. Born and raised in Gainesville, Florida Petty once worked as a groundskeeper at UF as he tried to make it in the music industry, though he was never enrolled.

On October 2, 2017, Tom Petty passed away from an accidental drug overdose and days later during a UF home football game, the song “I Won’t Back Down” was played at the stadium as a memorial to the fallen musician. The song has since become a regular feature at Gators games.

Usually backed by the Heartbreakers, Petty broke through in the 1970s and went on to sell more than 80 million records, featuring hits like “Free Fallin,’” “Refugee” and “American Girl.” Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

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Author: Al Denté

Photo: Takahiro Kyono