Prince Rogers Nelson

Honorary Degree Recipient

Doctor of Humane Letters

School of Music, College of Liberal Arts, September 26, 2018

Prince Rogers Nelson, considered to be one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, died unexpectedly on April 21, 2016. His abilities in song writing, composition, and multiple instrumental performances were extraordinary. He released 39 studio albums, four movie soundtrack albums, four live albums, six compilation albums, 136 music videos, 13 EPs, and 104 singles. According to the website for the Recording Industry of America, Prince has sold 20.5 million albums in the U.S. alone. He received seven Grammy Awards (for albums and tracks on albums from Purple Rain to Planet Earth) and an Academy Award for Purple Rain. He was among the first to integrate performers in his band across racial, sexual, and just about any other distinguishing category one might imagine. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. In 2007, he gave an unforgettable half-time performance at the Super Bowl. Shortly after his death, Billboard magazine characterized him as “The greatest musical talent of his generation.” Prince is described as a proud Minnesotan who fostered Minnesota musical talent and supported the local music industry that he helped create. Dean John Coleman wrote, “His life’s work did what all great art does: it made us face difficult questions, inspired fresh talent, and celebrated creativity in all its diverse, exuberant, and challenging forms.”