Stevland Hardaway Morris, otherwise known as the iconic Stevie Wonder, is set to be awarded an honorary doctorate degree during the spring 2022 commencement ceremony at Wayne State University in Detroit on May 7.
Born in Saginaw, Michigan, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend will be honored with a Doctor of Humane Letters degree, honoris causa, for his musical success and contributions, per a press release by the university. Additionally, Morris is celebrated for his advocacy work in civil rights and the disabled community.
Although the 71-year-old musician has faced visual impairment his entire life, that didn’t deter him from selling over 100 million records worldwide, earning him a spot as one of the best-selling artists in the world.
Morris has previously been presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Civil Rights Museum and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The school also recognizes his triumph in having Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday declared a national holiday after an 18-year effort, as well as his continued support of Black Lives Matter.
Morris saw success as an 11-year-old child prodigy, renamed Little Stevie Wonder by Berry Gordy, Jr., president of Motown Records, after being discovered by Ronnie White of the Motown band The Miracles.
In 1962, he released his first album, The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie Wonder. The following year, the child savant released a live album titled Little Stevie Wonder Recorded Live: the 12 Year Old Genius, which solidified his rise to stardom. He soon made the transition of a child musician to one of the most influential singer-songwriters of the late 20th century.
The commencement festivities at Wayne State University are set to begin at 1 p.m. EST on May 7.
Detroit native, comedian, and actor Tim Meadows is also slated to receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the school, for all the accomplishments in his career spanning nearly 40 years.