Dr. Swift: Honorary NYU doctorate another notch in Taylor’s belt


@taylornation13 // Twitter

Taylor swift fans tweet about her recent accomplishment of an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts.

Between 11 Grammys, six Artist of the Year titles and a list full of awards, Taylor Swift has no shortage of accomplishments. Her nine albums and two re-recordings have pushed her to be one of the top artists globally, and she is set to add another accomplishment when she becomes Dr. Swift.

In May, the singer and songwriter will be speaking to graduates at New York University’s commencement, where she will also receive an honorary doctorate of fine arts. This semester, NYU first made the connection between themselves and Swift when they included a class that focused on her in their curriculum, taught by a writer from Rolling Stone Magazine.

“For such an accredited university to present her with this honor speaks volumes to the hard work and time she has spent pouring into her music,” DePaul senior Madelyn Sheena said. “When you look at a typical doctorate, a student takes years of classes before they are deemed a doctor. Taylor’s writing and producing has been on such an excessive level, that her own time spent working hard equates to becoming Dr. Swift.”

In 2016, Swift joked in a 73 Questions interview with Vogue Magazine that she wanted to get an honorary doctorate because her friend Ed Sheeran had one, which he received in 2015 from University Campus Suffolk. Now, Swift will have a doctorate degree to call her own.

“I really think that before, she wasn’t taken as seriously despite all her groundbreaking records that she’s created and just like breaking records in general,” DePaul junior Jessica Forristall said. “So, I think it kind of helps her get more seen in the media as serious because for a while, she was really getting seen as a real professional artist.”

Since Swift stepped into the spotlight in 2006 with her debut album, “Taylor Swift,” her career has gone in many different directions. She began as a country singer before trending towards pop and going full pop in her album, “1989” and has included folk influences in her most recent albums, “folklore” and “evermore.”

Along with releasing 11 albums, she has become a prolific songwriter for herself and for other artists.

“In many ways, she is a modern-day folk singer,” said Jacqueline Kelly McHale, chair of musical studies at DePaul. “She has always sought to bring her experiences in her music and in doing so she has shaped popular music and popular culture. From this perspective, she is very deserving of this award.”

For DePaul’s commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients, university staff can nominate who they think is a strong choice to speak at commencement or earn an honorary degree. Each nomination goes to the dean, which is sent to the provost and works its way up to the president’s office, or to the Board of Trustees for honorary degree candidates.

The commencement speaker is not always awarded with an honorary degree, and the recipient of an honorary degree does not always speak at commencement.

“I think it’s absolutely iconic,” sophomore Mary Peterson said of Swift’s newest honor. “It adds a little bit of legitimacy. Some people still count her as the teenager who got stood up by so many boys and wrote breakup songs, so I think the doctorate kind of adds a little bit of, ‘She’s out of that phase, she’s really accomplished,’ so it proves that to more people.”

Earlier in her career, Swift was known mainly for her relationships and the music that she created based on those experiences. In recent years, as she has released more albums, the media and others have begun to focus on her work and what she has done for the music industry.

She continues to be a figure people can relate to, along with her music, and has used not her platform and status to share her opinions and speak up about issues that she has faced in her career.

“Taylor is a really honest person with her songwriting and tells stories that are very, very relatable,” DePaul student Claire Rooney said. “She’s chosen to share those stories with millions of people who can understand them deeply.”

Swift has shown no sign of slowing down, releasing four albums in the span of two years, and serving as a figure that people have been able to look up to for a decade and a half.

“Eight-year-old me and 23-year-old me do not have much in common,” Sheena said. “But when I think about it, Taylor seems to be a common denominator, always.”