Legendary singer Prince posthumously received a major honor from the University of Minnesota. The institution—which is based in his hometown—awarded him with an honorary degree for his contributions to the music industry and the city of Minneapolis, Rolling Stone reported.
According to the news outlet, the university held a ceremony on Wednesday where they awarded him with a Doctor of Humane Letters degree. The University of Minnesota had made the decision to give the “Purple Rain” singer an honorary degree long before he passed away. “Prince emulates everything a musician should be,” Michael Kim, director of the university’s School of Music, said in a statement according to CNN. “Society pressures young people to conform to certain standards, and Prince was anything but standardized. Be yourself, know who you are and good things are going to happen.”
During the ceremony, his sister Tyka Nelson accepted the award on his behalf and there were performances by music artists Jellybean Johnson, Cameron Kinghorn, St. Paul Peterson, and other special guests.
Prince’s loved ones are humbled by the university’s decision to honor the late singer and say the degree would have meant a lot to him. “This award ranks higher than all of them,” Prince’s brother Omarr Baker told NME. “Because Prince didn’t even like award shows. Those are bought and sold. This was earned. It’s a lifetime achievement. He’d think this award is on top.”
The honorary degree comes shortly after Prince’s first posthumous album—Piano & a Microphone 1983—was released. The album was recorded before his career took off and was discovered at the studio inside of his Chanhassen, Minnesota home.