Make that Dr. Stevie: Van Zandt will receive honorary doctorate from Rutgers

by JAY LUSTIG

Steven Van Zandt, who has taken an interest in education through his Rock and Roll Forever Foundation, will receive an honorary doctorate from Rutgers University, and give a commencement speech. The ceremony will take place May 14 at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway.

According to a press release on rutgersedu, Van Zandt was chosen “as part of a yearlong selection process that involved students, faculty and staff.” He will be named a Doctor of Fine Arts.

The release also states that in addition to Van Zandt’s accomplishments as a musician and actor, he “has used his worldwide presence to address domestic and international causes. In 1985, he established Artists United Against Apartheid and enlisted other musicians — including Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Hall & Oates, Run-D.M.C., Miles Davis, Bono and Springsteen — to record the album Sun City, which protested South Africa’s policy of racial segregation. That same year, he established the Solidarity Foundation to promote the sovereignty of indigenous peoples. Lamenting the trend of funding cuts for arts education in local schools, Van Zandt established the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation to provide no-cost lesson plans and educational materials to middle- and high-school teachers through its curriculum initiative, TeachRock.org.”

Van Zandt’s longtime boss, Bruce Springsteen, has never received an honorary doctorate — presumably not because no institute of higher learning finds him a worthy candidate, but because he has never agreed to show up to accept one.

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