Music/Lists

10 musicians who dropped out of college, then received an honorary degree

You might want to avoid this list next time you're cramming for midterms.

May 6, 2019

Jack White is a man of many talents: solo musician, band member (of many, many groups), record label head, and now, Ph.D. The former White Stripes frontman earned himself an honorary doctorate from Detroit’s Wayne State University this past weekend for his “dedication to the city of Detroit and [his] significant contribution to the arts.” What makes the story even more wilder is that White’s degree from Wayne State was decades in the making.

White spent some time taking film classes at Wayne State in the mid-90s before dropping out to pursue his music career full time, though it’s clearly his work outside of the classroom that earned him his long-awaited degree.

Look, we’re not telling you to ditch the textbooks, but White is far from the first musician to leave the dorms behind only to receive an honorary degree for their influence and legacy. Though we suggest to maybe avoid looking at this list the next time you’re cramming for an exam or watching your student loans pile up, here are 10 college dropout musicians whose art earned them that degree anyway.

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