Taylor Swift To Receive Honorary Doctorate from NYU

13 April 2022 | 2:01 pm | Mallory Arbour

Taylor Swift will address NYU graduates at the institution’s 189th Commencement Exercise for the Class of 2022, Wednesday, May 18.

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Taylor Swift will receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa, from New York University, after she addresses graduates at the institution’s 189th Commencement Exercise for the Class of 2022, Wednesday, May 18, at Yankee Stadium.

In a press release announcing the honour, New York University wrote: 

“An 11-time Grammy winner, Ms. Swift is one of the most prolific and celebrated artists of her generation. She is the only female artist in history to win the music industry’s highest honour, the Grammy Award for 'Album of the Year,' three times. Her many awards and distinctions include being the most awarded artist ever in American Music Awards’ history along with being named Artist of the Decade; winner of the BRIT Awards 'International Female Solo Artist of the Year' in 2015 and the 'Global Icon Award' in 2021; and Billboard’s first-ever and only two-time winner of the 'Woman of the Decade' Award. She is the only solo artist this century to have three albums reach No. 1 in one year.” 

For the first time since 2019, we'll be back at Yankee Stadium on May 18 for TWO Commencement ceremonies to celebrate...

Posted by New York University on Monday, March 28, 2022

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Earlier this year, NYU revealed Rolling Stone staff writer, Brittany Spanos would helm a Swift-centric course at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute directed at teaching an understanding of how the musician created a durable presence in the fast-moving musical landscape.

“To me, the class was a no-brainer when Brittany first suggested it,” the chair of the Clive Davis Institute, Jason King told Variety. “She’s a Taylor fan but also understands how to contextualize her culturally and get students to think more deeply about her and her music through the lens of gender, feminism, race, class, and other categories related to identity, and that deeper thinking is what this program is all about. She’s also an NYU alum and a former student of mine and I’ve watched her rise as a journalist and as a person and I’m so excited to bring her in.”

Spanos added, “Teaching a course at Clive Davis has been a dream of mine since I attended NYU. I took several of the Topics in Recorded Music courses in the program while an undergrad and they were foundational to my work as a music journalist. I’ve been covering Taylor Swift since I began my writing career a decade ago and have been a super fan of hers for even longer. It’s such an honour to be able to share my Swiftie expertise with a sharp group of students. I hope to help them rethink how to engage with one of the things world’s biggest and sometimes divisive stars, in the same way Clive professors like Jason King, Vivien Goldman and Joe Levy did for me when I took their courses.”

The course description reads in part:“This course proposes to deconstruct both the appeal and aversions to Taylor Swift through close readings of her music and public discourse as it relates to her own growth as an artist and a celebrity. Through readings, lectures and more, the class delves into analyses of the culture and politics of teen girlhood in pop music, fandom, media studies, whiteness and power as it relates to her image and the images of those who have both preceded and succeeded her. We’ll also consider topics like copyright and ownership, American nationalism and the ongoing impact of social media on the pop music industry.

  • Students will develop an understanding and appreciation for Taylor Swift as a creative music entrepreneur;
  • Students will learn to deconstruct the way her creativity and songwriting have made her a durable presence in a quickly evolving music industry;
  • Students will learn about the legacy of pop and country songwriters that have influenced Swift as well as the discourses around “prodigies” in pop music history;
  • Students will gain an understanding of how discourses of youth and girlhood are often exploited in the media and music industries;
  • Students will learn about the politics of race in contemporary popular music, and to interrogate whiteness as it relates to Swift’s politics, songwriting, world-view and interactions with the wider cultural world around her;
  • Students will develop greater sophistication in their artistic appreciation, critical thinking, research and writing skills.                                                           

The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music began in 2003. The school caters to students who dream of becoming music producers, record label company CEOs, and songwriters, among other music professions. Additional course offerings include ones that focus on Led Zeppelin, Aretha Franklin, Freddie Mercury, and many more iconic artists with Swift now making the list.


Keep up to date with Taylor Swift via her Facebook page here.