From now on, we can refer to the rocker behind such hits as “Seven Nation Army” and “Love Interruption” as Dr. Jack White after the former White Stripes frontman received an honourary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Michigan’s Wayne State University in recognition of his “dedication to the city of Detroit and significant contribution to the arts.”
As Rolling Stone reports, White attended film classes at Wayne State in 1994, and was presented with the degree during the university’s commencement ceremony on Friday, May 3
“As a teenager, I was a busboy in this building, so it’s nice to be back here for a different reason,” White joked of the ceremony’s venue, Detroit’s Fox Theatre, in his address to graduates.
Discussing his brief time at Wayne State, White revealed that studying the 1969 film “The Graduate” had a huge impact on him, ultimately leading him down an artistic path.
“I had an epiphany that has stayed with me to this day: That not all of art and creation was by happy accident,” White told graduates. “That much of it was done with purpose and it was not only okay to do this, but the fulfillment of creativity to be able to convey ideas and metaphors at every possible moment.”
He also recalled the class studying Orson Welles’ acclaimed “Citizen Kane”, which likewise left an impression.
“I learned more from that one film and one scene in ‘The Graduate’, about expression and purpose, to last me a lifetime,” he declared.
You can watch the entire ceremony below; White’s commencement speech begins just after the 50-minute mark: