Kenny Chesney Receives Honorary Doctorate From Alma Mater

Kenny Chesney was presented with an honorary doctorate of letters when he returned to East Tennessee State University over this past Homecoming Weekend. Kenny, or should we say Dr. Chesney, was a surprise guest on hand to help honor the founder of his alma mater’s Bluegrass, Old-Time and Roots Music Studies Program, Jack Tottle.

The superstar was welcomed to the stage by ETSU President Brian Noland midway through the evening to shrieks from the audience, where he and Provost Kimberly McCorkle gave Kenny his honorary degree. Noland told the audience, “He is a paradigm-shifting artist who helped define country music in the 21st Century, selling out stadiums across the world… He is an inspiration, reminding the world — through his art and the example he sets — to live life with joy, humor, passion, and soul . . .”

Kenny said, “To say I wouldn’t dream this is an understatement. I was spending most of my time at Chucky’s Trading Post, the Downhome, Quarterback’s BBQ and in the rooms at the music building, practicing my guitar. All I wanted was to get a song on the radio, write some things I could be proud of and get out on the road and have some fun. My tour manager and a couple of my friends from back here are still out there with me, but I don’t think any of us would’ve seen this coming. But that’s why no matter what you dream, you have to just keep dreaming and believing.”