Name: Tony Bennett
Honorary Degree: Doctor of Music
Accomplishments: Grammy award-winning singer and artist
With more than 50 years in the music business, Tony Bennett has won nine Grammy Awards and was honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in this year’s ceremony. He has sold more than 50 million records worldwide. His 1995 MTV Unplugged album won two Grammy Awards, a World Music Award and was critically acclaimed for its appeal to a younger audience. Bennett recorded his most well known song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” in 1962.
Bennett is also a dedicated painter. He was the official artist of the 2001 Kentucky Derby and created two original paintings to celebrate the event. The United Nations has also commissioned two of his paintings, including one for its 50th anniversary in 1995.
Bennett was born in 1926 as Anthony Dominick Benedetto in Astoria, N.Y. He left high school at 16 to work and help his widowed mother pay bills. Bennett served in the army for three years during World War II and sang with the U.S. Army’s entertainment unit. After completing his military service, he joined a Pearl Bailey revue in Greenwich Village, where comedian Bob Hope discovered him. In 1950, he successfully auditioned at Columbia Records, where he began his musical career.