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UF awards Gainesville music legend Tom Petty a posthumous doctorate in music

Tom Petty's image on UF scoreboard
Amy Harris via AP
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Invision
The University of Florida Board of Trustees voted to honor iconic rock musician Tom Petty, who was born in Gainesville, with a posthumous honorary doctorate degree 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.

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