Stevie Wonder, John Hopkins University

Stevie Wonder Receives Honorary Degree From Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins grads received a big surprise from Stevie Wonder.

Beloved musician Stevie Wonder received an honorary degree from Johns Hopkins University June 13, an event that turned into a concert shortly after the honorary degrees were presented, 

University president Ron Daniels invited the legendary singer to the stage. “We have a piano. We have a microphone. Do you think there’s any chance?” he asked. 

“Show me the money,” Wonder quipped. 

The singer-songwriter played chords to “The Secret Life Of Plants” while he encouraged the audience to use their voices to end “all wars forever.” Wonder sang a medley of some of his hit songs, including “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” and “I Just Called To Say I Love You.” 

The “Ribbon In The Sky” singer also spoke at The Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute, the music conservatory for graduate students. At the end of his nearly 16-minute speech, he asked the students to use their musical gifts to bring “unity to the world.” He also surprised the graduates with an impromptu rendition of “Sir Duke.”

The Duke Ellington School Of The Arts congratulated Wonder in a press release. 

“April Ellington & Edward Ellington Jr., along with Sandi Logan, Principal at Duke Ellington School Of The Arts (DESA), would like to take a moment to celebrate The Ellington’s family friend and longtime DESA supporter—music icon Stevie Wonder for receiving an Honorary Doctorate degree from Johns Hopkins University…Congratulations, Dr. Stevie Wonder! We love you madly.” 

Wonder, who credits Duke Ellington  as a major influence on his musicianship, has been a longtime supporter of the arts school. He famously donated $500,000 worth of state-of-the-art recording equipment there.  

Stevie Wonder also received the George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music and Dance in America at the graduation ceremony. The songwriter also has honorary doctorates from Oberlin College, Yale, Tulane, Brown, and Wayne universities. 

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