Taylor Swift literally “welcome(d) you to New York” Wednesday during her commencement speech to New York University’s Class of 2022.
The three-time Grammy Album of the Year award winner received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the university, joking in her speech at Yankee Stadium, “I’m 90% sure the main reason I’m here is because I have a song called ‘22.’”
She entered the stadium to a cheering crowd, clad in a purple cap and gown with her signature red lipstick, blowing kisses to the stands.
Swift, whose music and persona were dissected in a class at the university’s Clive Davis Institute this year, encouraged the Gen-Z grads to embrace “cringe” and thank the “patchwork quilt” of loved ones who supported them.
Acknowledging that the pandemic may have robbed them of a normal college experience, she said, “You’ve worked and struggled and sacrificed and studied and dreamed your way here today and, so, you know what you’re doing.”
The queen of breakup songs shared personal anecdotes and her desire to never give anyone “unsolicited advice,” instead offering up “life hacks” and breathing tips for when the immensity of life gets overwhelming (“I’m a doctor now, so I know how breathing works,” she quipped).
Likening college experiences to her own songs (I mean, who hasn’t met a cute college boy reading on the quad, just like in the music video for “Love Story”?), she proclaimed that everyone there was a writer in their own right. “We are all literary chameleons,” she said, “so many things all at once.” And, Swift added, it was up to the graduates, now, to decide what they were.
The speech was live streamed and thousands of people tuned in on social media to watch Swift receive her doctorate, an honor previously awarded to Hillary Clinton, Sonia Sotomayor and Aretha Franklin.
“We select honorees whose talents, achievements and actions will serve as examples for our graduates,” the senior vice president of public affairs at NYU told the New York Times, adding that the selection process is confidential.
But the degree has been a long-held dream for Swift, USA Today reports, noting that the singer-songwriter said as much in an interview with Vogue back in 2016. Now, that degree is real, and Swift can officially call herself a doctor – “technically, on paper at least,” she joked.