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Aretha Franklin has worn some memorable ensembles in her day, and she’ll be unusually dressed at the upcoming American Music Masters tribute concert honoring her achievements: the 18-time Grammy Award winner will don academic regalia as she accepts an honorary degree from Case Western Reserve University.

Case Western Reserve President Barbara R. Snyder will confer the Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of Franklin’s contributions to and achievement in American culture.

While honorary degrees typically are awarded during the university’s spring Commencement ceremonies, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s first female inductee will receive her degree at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, during the American Music Master’s tribute concert at the PlayhouseSquare State Theatre. The concert concludes the weeklong celebration, “Lady Soul: the Life and Music of Aretha Franklin,” a reflection on Franklin’s legacy and contributions to popular music.

Witnessing the event will be concert performers, including Hall of Fame Inductees Dennis Edwards (of the Temptations), Ronald Isley (of the Isley Brothers), and Spooner Oldham, 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee Chaka Khan, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Patti Austin, Carla Cook, Melinda Doolittle, Mike Farris and Cissy Houston. 

The honorary degree is reflective of the long-standing collaboration between the Rock Hall and Case Western Reserve. For 16 years, the university’s College of Arts and Sciences has partnered with the Rock Hall to provide an educational tribute to American Music Masters honorees. The College of Arts and Sciences continues its commitment to the study of popular music with the recent establishment of a Rock and Popular Music Institute.

The university’s Board of Trustees approved Franklin as an honorary degree candidate during its meeting on Oct. 15 in recognition of her excellence in the performing arts. She also is being recognized for her valuable work during the civil rights movement.

Mary E. Davis, chair of the university’s Department of Music, nominated Franklin for the degree, citing Franklin as a voice in American social, political and cultural history.

Courtesy Of WOIO.COM

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