The University of Missouri -- Kansas City will bestow an honorary doctorate degree on singer-songwriter Chely Wright on Saturday (May 13), during the university's 2017 commencement ceremonies. The school is recognizing the award-winning artist for her dedication to both U.S. military members and LGBTQ causes.

"Wright is an unwavering advocate of the LGBTQIA community and a supporter of U.S. military veterans," UMKC says. "Wright is recognized for her support of military service members, their families and veterans ... Wright has used her celebrity status to build awareness around LGBT issues around the world, and here in Kansas City."

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Wright officially came out as gay in May of 2010; she was the first well-known country music star to do so. The singer has founded two charities as well as performed for deployed U.S. troops all over the world; Wright has also used her success as a musician to serve and promote causes that she holds dear.

"In addition to her musical career, Wright is the founder of Reading, Writing and Rhythm, a charity dedicated to keeping musical education alive in schools and [that] helps supply instruments and equipment," UMKC explains. "Wright founded her second charity in 2010; the LIKEME Organization provides assistance, resources and education to LGBT individuals, their family and friends."

In addition to Wright, video game pioneer John Carmack, actress and comedian Edie McClurg and automobile innovator William Reinart will all receive honorary degrees from UMKC this year. Other country artists who have received honorary doctorate degrees include Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Darius Rucker, Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Ralph Stanley and Willie Nelson.

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