UF awards Gainesville music legend Tom Petty a posthumous doctorate in music
Even though he didn't attend UF, "Petty's famed ‘I Won’t Back Down’ has become a mantra at athletic events,” the nomination form read.
Nearly two decades after earning a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and more than four years after his death, rock icon Tom Petty has been awarded a honorary Ph.D. from the University of Florida.
The school’s board of trustees unanimously voted to award Thomas Earl Petty a posthumous doctoral degree in music during a Friday meeting.
A nomination form submitted to the trustees said that Petty’s “presence remains significant” after his death in 2017. “On the UF campus, Petty’s famed ‘I Won’t Back Down’ has become a mantra at athletic events,” the document said.
Born and raised in Gainesville, Petty once worked as a groundskeeper at UF as he tried to make it in the music industry, but he was never enrolled.
His "I Won't Back Down" is a signature rallying point at UF athletic events.
Petty passed away from an accidental drug overdose in October 2017.
Information from News Service of Florida was used in this report.