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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Salsa star to receive honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music

Gilberto Santa Rosa

By The Star Staff

In recognition of the extraordinary musical career of the “Caballero de la Salsa” (Gentleman of Salsa), Berklee College of Music in Boston announced Wednesday that it will award an honorary doctorate to Gilberto Santa Rosa.

The distinction will take place during the college’s 2024 graduation ceremony at Boston’s Agganis Arena. Along with Santa Rosa, Berklee will also award honorary doctoral degrees to R&B and hip-hop music superstars Ledisi and Q-Tip. Santa Rosa is the first Puerto Rican singer in history to receive an honorary doctorate from Berklee, the largest independent college of contemporary music in the world.

“This is a real honor for me,” Santa Rosa said in a written statement. “Receiving the important distinction that the Berklee College of Music gives me by awarding me an honorary doctorate is an invaluable recognition that I share with all Latin artists who strive to make music, and makes me strengthen the commitment to musical excellence in my career. To be recognized in this way by Berklee, a university that has been a beacon of the highest creative quality in the world of music and the arts, is a wonderful gift that life gives me.”

As part of the graduation ceremonies and the ceremony where Gilberto will be awarded his doctoral degree, the graduates will present a concert in which their more than 200 student vocalists, instrumentalists, dancers, arrangers and song producers will pay tribute to the three personalities who will be recognized for their artistic careers.

Berklee has previously awarded honorary doctoral degrees to music legends such as Duke Ellington, Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, Celine Dion, B.B. King, Joni Mitchell, Chaka Khan, Usher, Willie Nelson, Missy Elliott, Ringo Starr, Rita Moreno, Tito Puente, Gloria Estefan, Juan Luis Guerra, Roberta Flack and John Legend.

“I want to thank all the fans who have attended my concerts, purchased my records, shared my music and have been a constant presence in my music career,” Santa Rosa added. “Each of you motivates me every day to strive harder to live up to your love and support. You are an important part of my journey.”

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