Sag Harbor Piano Man Billy Joel will be honored at Stony Brook University’s 55th commencement ceremony on May 22 when he is presented with an honorary Doctor of Music degree.
Tne number of awards Joel has received in the past year has become hard to count. Probably the most notable about them is the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from the Library of Congress. He also earned the ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) Centennial Award.
Also among his many achievements, Joel has won six Grammy awards, while his Broadway musical Movin’ Out earned two Tony Awards in 2004. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992 and he earned that organization’s highest honor, the Johnny Mercer Award, in 2001. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 and he received the Recording Industry Association of America Diamond Award. ASCAP presented him with their Founders Award in 1997 and he received the 36th Annual Kennedy Center Honor, one of the country’s top cultural awards, in 2013.
Joel became Madison Square Garden’s first-ever music franchise in 2013, performing monthly concerts indefinitely.
Also receiving honorary degreees in May will be renowned computer scientist Professor Ben Shneiderman and businessmen and philanthropist Charles B. Wang.
“This is a remarkable distinction for the class of 2015, to be joined in their celebration by such a highly accomplished trio,” said Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “It shows our new alumni how much can be achieved with vision, dedication and perseverance. These three individuals personify the relentless pursuit of excellence that Stony Brook embraces. I look forward to this commencement, as I’m sure does the entire class of 2015, as they prepare to celebrate the culmination of their dedication, hard work, and their vision for what lies ahead.”
Joel and Wang will speak at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 22, at LaValle Stadium. Shneiderman will speak at the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony on Thursday, May 21, at 1 p.m. in the Island Federal Credit Union Arena.