Country music superstar George Strait was presented an honorary doctoral degree by his alma mater – Texas State University-San Marcos – in a private ceremony on Friday, May 26.
Strait, who graduated from Texas State in 1979 with a bachelor of science degree in agriculture, was presented with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by university President Denise M. Trauth.
“George Strait is the most famous and successful country music singer in the world. He has had more Number One hits than any singer of any kind in history. And he’s our most prominent living graduate. The university is delighted to be able to honor him in this way,” said Trauth.
“Doctor Strait? I like the sound of that,” Strait said after the degree was conferred. “I am so proud to be a graduate of Texas State University and appreciate so much that you did this for me.”
“We present honorary degrees only to individuals who have reached extraordinary levels of achievement,” said Kent Adams, chairman of the Board of Regents of the Texas State University System, who was also present at the ceremony. “George Strait has truly attained the status of a living legend in country music and we are proud to bestow this honor on him.”
During his time in college, Strait and the Ace in the Hole band played their first performance in San Marcos. He established an enthusiastic regional following, while perfecting his skills as a performer. He has since become one of the nation’s most popular country and western music recording and concert artists and achieved worldwide acclaim.
Strait has recorded 52 Number One singles, more than any other artist in any genre. He leads the all-time Country Music Association (CMA) award nominations with 73. He has won more than 40 major industry awards, including recognition by both the CMA and the Academy of Country Music (ACM) as Vocalist of the Year on five occasions. He has been named Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year on multiple occasions and has been awarded a Special Achievement Award by the ACM.
In 2004, President George W. Bush presented him with the National Medal of the Arts, a lifetime achievement award recognizing the extraordinary accomplishments of individuals engaged in the creation and production of the arts in the United States. In 2003, Strait was inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame.
Texas State has conferred honorary doctoral degrees in the past to such individuals as President Lyndon B. Johnson, member of the class of 1930 at Texas State; Lady Bird Johnson, former First Lady of the United States; Gilbert M. Grosvenor, chairman of the board of the National Geographic Society; and Distinguished Alumni and Texas State benefactors Roy F. and Joann Cole Mitte.
Strait has been a loyal alumnus of Texas State and, in 1985, established an endowment fund for the development and operation of the Freeman Ranch for agricultural, land and wildlife management, and scholarships. He has been honored by Texas State on two previous occasions. In 1984, he was presented with the university’s President’s Excellence Award. In 1987, the Alumni Association Board of Directors named Strait a Distinguished Alumnus of the university.