One of the things I am most proud of (from my time at LSU (2009-2014) was authoring the large document that requested awarding an honorary doctorate to blues legend Buddy Guy:
I would like to nominate George “Buddy” Guy for a long-overdue honorary Doctorate from the LSU School of Music within the College of Music & Dramatic Arts.
Having recently become aware that this internationally renowned and influential musician once served as an LSU employee, it seems only fitting that he be honored at the May 2013 commencement ceremony. Having worked in what eventually became known as the Office of Facility Services from 1955-57, Mr. Guy went on to become a six-time Grammy Award winning blues guitarist, influencing generations of musicians. He is just the type of distinguished musician that the School of Music would be proud to award with this high academic honor.
Born to a sharecropper family in Lettsworth, La., Buddy Guy worked at LSU during a period that he would not have been allowed to attend the university as a student due to legalized racial segregation at that time. Yet, he has fond memories of his time as an employee, even saying in an interview that when he left in 1958 to pursue a musical career in Chicago, his supervisor told him that he would always have a job here if his musical career didn’t pan out.
But, “pan out” it did as Mr. Guy quickly established himself as one of Chicago’s greatest bluesmen and a hero to multiple generations of guitarists such as Eric Clapton, who inducted Guy into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 along with B.B. King, to John Mayer. Guy has earned multiple honors throughout his decades in music. In 2008, he was named to the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. In December 2012, he received the Kennedy Center honor along with Academy Award winner Dustin Hoffman, Emmy Award winner David Letterman, and the iconic musical group Led Zepplin.