By Associated Press
Monday, May 28, 2007
PROVIDENCE – Blues legend B.B. King received an honorary doctor of music degree at Brown University’s commencement ceremony today and then took the microphone to serenade the graduating class.
“I didn’t bring Lucille; she’s asleep today,” said King, referring to the name he’s given his guitars that made him famous.
“I would like to do something I’ve never done before,” he said. “I’ve played in 90 different countries around the world, but I’ve never tried to do what I’m going to try to do for you, because I think you are the future, you are the ingredients that I think will make the world better.”
He then launched into an a cappella version of “Guess Who,” dedicating the song to the more than 2,000 graduating students, who responded by giving King a standing ovation.
Brown also awarded honorary doctor of law degrees to three New Orleans university presidents: Scott Cowen of Tulane, Norman Francis of Xavier and Marvalene Hughes of Dillard.
“These three beautiful people are helping, in incredible ways, the rebuilding of New Orleans. They’re here to say, ‘Do not forget this city,”‘ said Brown University President Ruth Simmons, prompting another standing ovation from the crowd.
Also receiving honorary degrees were Brown medical school founding dean Stanley Aronson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Samantha Power, and three Brown alums: sportscaster Chris Berman, actress Kate Burton and Craig Mello, who shared the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine.
Mello, a researcher at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, helped discover a way to silence specific genes, a revolutionary finding that scientists are scrambling to harness for fighting illnesses including cancer and AIDS.