The iconic musician silently accepts an honorary degree from Scotland's St. Andrew's

By Natalie Finn
Updated June 24, 2004 12:00 PM

Until his abrupt departure, Bob Dylan looked more like a resting stone than a rolling stone on Wednesday, as he was awarded an honorary doctorate in music from Prince William’s alma mater, Scotland’s St. Andrew’s University.

Dressed in a traditional, full-length graduation gown, Dylan, 63, sat heavy-lidded through an a cappella performance of “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

This was followed by opening remarks from English professor Neil Corcoran, an academic expert on Dylan’s lyrics and editor of Do You, Mr. Jones?: Bob Dylan with the Poets and Professors.

“It goes without saying that his acceptance of our invitation deeply honors us,” Corcoran said. “I feel incapable when I’m asked to say what Bob Dylan means to me in a few minutes. … He keeps on keeping on.”

The accredited Dylan fan went on to call the musician “one of the great writers of the drama of human relationship,” noting such hits as “Lay, Lady, Lay” and “Tangled Up in Blue.”

After hearing 20 minutes’ worth of faculty members singing his praises, Dylan knelt down to accept a tap on the head from Chancellor Sir Kenneth Dover, making the degree official. The iconic musician bowed and took his seat without comment — and soon after, slipped out through a side door.

A rep from the university press office had no comment on Dylan’s reaction to the ceremony, saying it was a private affair.

Dylan has accepted only one other honorary degree before, from Princeton University in 1970. He was in Scotland to perform two concerts in Glasgow.