Stevie Wonder has yet another accomplishment to celebrate, having received an honorary degree from Wayne State University this past Saturday (May 7).
The Detroit Free Press reports that Wonder, born Stevland Hardaway Morris, received his doctor of humane letters from the WSU Board of Governors just two miles shy of Motown’s Hitsville, U.S.A. — the place responsible for the hits by the renowned musician that the world knows and loves today.
“Even though I’ve been in this profession for a few minutes, it is not impossible for me to feel a little shy about now,” said the “Isn’t She Lovely” crooner.
Once he received his diploma and ceremonial hood, Wonder stood in front of his fellow WSU college of liberal arts and sciences graduates to express his gratitude for the esteemed honor. He also took some time to dedicate the degree to organizations that have remained near and dear to his heart.
“This really doesn’t just belong to me,” said the 71-year-old entertainer. “It belongs to Motown, [where] so many people allowed me to discover and learn music and express my feelings. But most of all, it belongs to you, Detroit, because you allowed me, by embracing me, to really have the opportunity of discovery.”
The speech was completely improvised after the entertainer, who was born blind, was unable to access his prepared notes ahead of the speech on his electronic Braille tablet.
Stevie Wonder, The Activist
Wonder, who has also been known for his social justice work, including his involvement in making Martin Luther King Jr. Day a national holiday, also took a moment to reflect on his efforts over the years.
On the heels of last week’s Roe v. Wade news, he shared that he is also currently “fighting for the rights of women to choose what to do with their lives and bodies.”
What’s more, he left the graduates with this.
“In using the gift of love, using the gift of fairness, using the opportunity to move as we need to move, as a united people of these United States to make the world better — I challenge you all to that,” Wonder said, according to the Detroit outlet. “I’ve written most of my life’s song about that, to encourage people to do that. I challenge you not to just talk about it. Be about it. And then you will truly be the sunshine of my life.”