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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Santa Rosa receives honorary degree from Berklee College of Music

Gilberto Santa Rosa is the first Puerto Rican singer to receive an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music, a world-renowned stateside university specializing in music.

By The Star Staff

Dr. Gilberto Santa Rosa on Saturday thanked Berklee College of Music in Boston for awarding him an honorary degree.

Santa Rosa is the first Puerto Rican singer to receive an honorary doctorate from the stateside university specializing in music.

“Despite my excellent teachers, I could never be the trumpet player I wanted to be. I’m not a musician, I’m just a man of music, and as a trumpet player, I’m an excellent singer,” Santa Rosa said in his message of thanks. “I’ve spent the last 56 years of my life singing and making music. Since I was born in Puerto Rico, an island in the Caribbean that you have surely heard mentioned many times because of the incredible amount of musical talent that has come out of there for the world, I was surrounded by the love and support of my family and the followers of the music I perform, building an intense career, full of fun and satisfaction.”

“Composers, musicians, arrangers, producers, people from the music industry in general have become the extended family and collaborators who contribute their talent to maintain this blessed career that keeps me alive and productive,” the singer added.

“Throughout the years I have seen how music scientifically has healing powers, changes people’s minds, has the strength to create political and social movements and even help create social changes,” Santa Rosa said. “When I received the news of this important distinction that is being awarded to me, all the feelings came together: surprise, gratitude, pride, nostalgia. … I am very honored that this school of music is Berklee College of Music, one of the most prestigious in the world, and from which some of the best musicians of my country have come, which makes me the recipient of such a high honor. To everyone who had to do with this decision, thank you.”

The Carolina native was accompanied by his father, his children Miredys Santa Rosa, Gilberto Joel Santa Rosa, Javier Santa Rosa, Omar Santa Rosa and Leilany Morales, as well as his wife Alexandra Malagón.

The honorary degree was conferred on Santa Rosa at the university’s 2024 graduation ceremony, at Agganis Arena in Boston, where 1,350 students graduated. Along with Santa Rosa, Berklee also awarded honorary doctoral degrees to R&B and jazz singer-songwriter Ledisi, and rapper and producer Q-Tip.

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