Ralph Stanley Receives Doctorate From Yale
Ralph Stanley has received an honorary doctorate from Yale University.
The bluegrass icon was honored with a Doctor of Music degree at a ceremony on May 19, along with other honorary degree recipients World Wide Web founder Tim Berners-Lee, poet Rita Dove and actor Anna Deavere Smith.
"You are the patriarch of traditional mountain and bluegrass music," reads Stanley's citation. "From the Clinch Mountains of southwest Virginia to the concert halls of the world, you have taken a distinct American sound and made it your own. Your music has its roots in the gospel songs of your childhood and in the banjo playing you learned from your mother. The Stanley style of picking produces a distinctive and characteristic rhythm, and generations of singers have been influenced by your signature voice with its mournful sounds and raw emotional power. You are a living legend, and we sing your praises as we award you this degree."
The honor was presented by Yale President Peter Salovey, who plays in a bluegrass band called Professors of Bluegrass.
The ceremony wrapped with a professor playing banjo to kick off Stanley's 'Man of Constant Sorrow,' to the accompaniment of an orchestra.
Stanley also received an honorary doctorate in 1976 from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn.