Lionel Richie joined students on stage to perform "We Are the World" at the annual commencement concert on Friday

By Karen Mizoguchi
May 15, 2017 11:51 PM
Credit: Alan Silfen Photographer

He already has five Grammys, an Oscar, a Golden Globe and 16 American Music Awards — and now Lionel Richie has an honorary doctorate degree!

The legendary music icon was honored at Boston’s Agganis Arena on Saturday alongside Lucinda Williams, Todd Rundgren, Shin Joong Hyun, and Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

“For his contributions to contemporary culture, his humanitarian efforts, and the joy his music brings to so many, it is my pleasure to present Berklee’s honorary doctorate of music to Lionel Richie,” Berklee President Roger H. Brown said in his introduction for the 67-year-old singer/songwriter.

Credit: Alan Silfen Photographer
Credit: Alan Silfen Photographer

Pharrell Williams sent kind words to Richie, which Brown read: “Lionel is the ultimate musical alchemist! Any time you hear a Lionel Richie song, it takes you back to the moment you first heard it.”

Brown also shared comments from Stevie Wonder, David Foster and Quincy Jones.

“You are in the prime seat to tell the world what they need to know,” Richie said to the graduating student artists.

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Multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and record producer Rundgren delivered the class of 2017 commencement address.

Credit: Alan Silfen Photographer
Credit: Alan Silfen Photographer

The night before, Richie joined graduating students on stage at the annual commencement concert to perform his anthemic charity hit, “We Are the World.”

“I wish Michael Jackson would have been with me to share that moment, because what I saw on your faces was the enthusiasm, the passion, the drive, the love, and the dreams,” Richie told the audience.