Triad native, multi-platinum selling singer Ben Folds to deliver commencement address, receive honorary degree from UNCG


GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – A multi-platinum singer-songwriter born in Winston-Salem will receive an honorary degree.

UNC Greensboro announced that UNCG School of Music alumnus Ben Folds will receive an honorary degree to be awarded at the commencement ceremony on Friday.

Folds will deliver the Commencement address.

According to their release, honorary degrees recognize individuals who demonstrate extraordinary achievement over their entire scholarly or artistic careers or who have performed distinguished public service in their lifetime.

Ben Folds is a Triad native and UNCG alumnus. He first found international success as frontman for Ben Folds Five.

Folds enrolled at the UNCG for the fall semester of 1985. It was while studying at UNCG that he met who he calls his “accidental mentor,” Professor of piano Robert Darnell. He credits Darnell for guiding him on his path to music.

“Ben has a remarkable résumé,” said Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. “From composing music for symphonies, movie soundtracks, albums, to acting and professional photography and philanthropy, Ben is a role model for our students, and a testament to where talent and determination can take you if you remain steadfast in your pursuit of your dreams. Inspiration can come in many forms, and I could not be happier that he found a campus and a professor here who guided him in the direction of his dreams.”

Previous Honorary Degree awardees include Grammy Award-winning artists, producers, and UNCG alumnae Rhiannon Giddens and Emmylou Harris; artist, philanthropist, and alumnus William Mangum; research pioneer Dr. Maunuskshi Wani; former Ambassador to Finland and businesswoman Bonnie McElveen-Hunter; NC Poet Laureate Fred Chappell; NC Chief Justice Henry Frye; former NC Governor Jim Hunt; and author Maya Angelou.

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