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16 Years Ago: Tim McGraw Earns Honorary Doctorate

Tim McGraw honorary doctorate
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Sixteen years ago today, on May 12, 2001, Tim McGraw became a doctor — sort of. It was on that date that the singer received an honorary doctorate degree in humanities from the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

McGraw was briefly enrolled at the University of Louisiana at Monroe before moving to Nashville; the future country star received a baseball scholarship to the college and, while there, pledged the Eta Omicron Chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha. McGraw attended his honorary degree ceremony with his wife, Faith Hill, who was pregnant with their third daughter at the time.

“I feel very humbled to be receiving this honorary degree,” McGraw said of the accolade (quote via Billboard). “It will be good to be home and have my family there with me.”

A Delhi, La., native, McGraw contributed to several philanthropic endeavors in the Pelican State prior to receiving his honorary degree: In 1994, the singer organized the first Swampstock, to raise money for Little League programs in Rayville, La. He also hosted several benefit concerts for various causes, including the Jackson Zoo in nearby Jackson, Miss.

The year 2001 was a big one for McGraw: He released his sixth studio album, Set This Circus Down, which became his fifth consecutive multi-platinum record, and by the end of the year, he had earned his 24th Top 10 hit, with “Angry All the Time.” At the time of his honorary degree ceremony, McGraw was also the recipient of seven CMA Awards, 10 ACM Awards and one Grammys trophy, Best Country Collaboration, for “Let’s Make Love,” which he sang with Hill.

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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