Forty-one years ago today, on May 8, 1976, Johnny Cash received an honorary degree from National University in San Diego, Calif. The Man in Black, who also received a Doctor of Humanities degree in 1971 from Gardner-Webb, was given a Doctorate of Humane Letters from National.

Cash was joined by his wife, June Carter Cash, and his four daughters for the National University ceremony. San Diego's mayor at the time, Mayor Frank Curran, also declared the day National Johnny Cash Day.

At the time of the National University ceremony, Cash was only a few weeks away from earning his 13th and final No. 1 single, with "One Piece at a Time," which was the title track of his 54th album. By that time, he had already won six Grammys, six CMA Awards and two ACM Awards.

Over the course of Cash's extraordinary life and career, he received numerous other non-musical awards, honoring his contributions to the arts and entertainment: He was the recipient of the prestigious Horatio Alger Award in 1977 and the United Nations Humanitarian Award in 1979, and he was presented with the Shalom Peace Award by the Jewish National Fund in 1986.

In 1996, Cash was lauded at the Kennedy Center Honors. Cash was also inducted into several notable Halls of Fame, including the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame.

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