The world’s most famous college dropout has finally received his degree. On Tuesday afternoon, Kanye West was given an honorary doctoral degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Kanye appeared at the commencement to accept his degree, and even donned a cap and gown.
The Chicago native attended both the American Academy of Art and Chicago State University for brief periods, but left at 20 years old to pursue music. Some four years later, of course, he’d release The College Dropout.
Lisa Wainwright, dean of faculty and vice president of academic administration at SAIC, said the university was compelled to give Kanye an honorary degree after he mentioned a desire to have attended.
“I read it and thought, ‘Wow, this is a fantastic moment,’ Wainwright 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.”
Prior to today’s commencement, Kanye gave a lecture at SAIC last night, which you can listen to in full below. During the Q&A portion, a student asked Kanye about the violence plaguing Chicago. Via Complex:
Question: I’m from the West Side of Chicago—this is gonna get a little emotional—I’ve lost two of my friends to violence. They got shot and killed. I made all the right decisions—never did drugs, never did anything, but… I’m scared. I’m scared I’m next. My family and I we live on a corner street, and we’re scared for bullets to come through the window and hit my sister, but like… I’m the last hope. I’m the first one to ever make it, and I’m so hungry, and I need something now. Just hoping you give some guidance, to all of us… We need something to keep on in this city… because I don’t know if somebody else is gonna end my life or… if I’ll never get out.
KW: I’m speechless. I don’t have the answer to that. I can only just listen to you and feel and understand what we’re dealing with here. And I can’t say that anything that I do or say will be the end-all be-all difference. I mean, we could just try. Yeah, I’m not even gonna try to give any politically correct answer that makes it seem like, after I say it, it’s all good—‘cause it’s not all good; it’s fucked up out here.