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  • (audience clapping)

  • - I would like now to introduce Jason King

  • Chair and Associate Professor

  • of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music,

  • Tisch School of the Arts,

  • who will present the candidate for Doctor of Fine Arts.

  • Will trustee, Brett Racon,

  • please escort the candidate to the lectern.

  • (audience applauding) (audience cheering)

  • - Taylor Swift

  • (audience cheering) (audience applauding)

  • blazing singer, songwriter, producer, director, actress,

  • pioneering and influential advocate for artists' rights

  • and philanthropist.

  • You have brought joy and resolve

  • to your hundreds of millions of fans throughout the world.

  • (audience cheering)

  • One of the best selling music artists in history.

  • You have crossed genres, demographics, age groups

  • and borders of all kinds

  • to touch lives around the globe.

  • With nine original studio albums

  • two re-recorded studio albums,

  • (audience applauding) (audience cheering)

  • five extended plays, three live albums and 14 compilations.

  • You have sold well over 100 million album units,

  • (audience applauding) (audience cheering)

  • earning awards and honors in every category.

  • You have used the remarkable platform you earned

  • to galvanize support for the Equality Act

  • to prevent discrimination

  • on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

  • (audience applauding) (audience cheering)

  • And you have spoken out

  • and you have supported initiatives

  • to protect women and girls

  • from harassment and sexual assaults.

  • (audience applauding) (audience cheering)

  • You have donated significantly

  • to victims of floods and tornadoes,

  • for cancer research, literacy programs for children

  • and public education.

  • You have fearlessly challenged the exploitation

  • of music artists

  • and successfully championed their right

  • to be compensated for their work.

  • (audience applauding) (audience cheering)

  • - Taylor Swift, (audience cheering)

  • you are a role model across the world

  • for your unprecedented talent and accomplishment,

  • your fierce advocacy

  • for protection of those facing discrimination

  • and your commitment to speaking out

  • forcefully, eloquently and effectively

  • on behalf of all artists.

  • (audience cheering) (audience applauding)

  • By virtue of the authority vested in me,

  • I am pleased to confer upon you

  • the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts honoris causa.

  • (audience cheering) (audience applauding)

  • (audience members cheering)

  • I am now pleased to introduce Taylor Swift,

  • who will respond

  • on behalf of the honorary degree recipients.

  • (audience applauding) (audience cheering)

  • - Hi, I'm Taylor.

  • (audience applauding) (audience cheering)

  • Last time I was in a stadium this size

  • I was dancing in heels and wearing a glittery leotard.

  • (podium members chuckling) (audience cheering)

  • This outfit is much more comfortable.

  • I would like to say a huge thank you

  • to NYU's Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Bill Berkeley

  • and all the trustees and members of the board.

  • NYU's President Andrew Hamilton, Provost Katherine Fleming

  • and the faculty and alumni here today,

  • who have made this day possible.

  • I feel so proud to share this day with my fellow honorees

  • Susan Hockfield andlix Matos Rodríguez,

  • who humble me with the ways they improve our world

  • with their work.

  • (audience applauding) (audience cheering)

  • As for me, I'm 90% sure, the main reason I'm here

  • is because I have a song called "22."

  • (audience cheering) (audience applauding)

  • And let me just say, I am elated to be here with you today,

  • as we celebrate and graduate

  • New York University's Class of 2022.

  • (audience cheering) (audience applauding)

  • Not a single one of us here today has done it alone.

  • We are each a patchwork quilt of those who have loved us,

  • those who have believed in our futures,

  • those who showed us empathy and kindness

  • or told us the truth, even when it wasn't easy to hear.

  • Those who told us we could do it

  • when there was absolutely no proof of that.

  • Someone read stories to you and taught you to dream

  • and offered up some moral code of right and wrong

  • for you to try and live by.

  • Someone, tried their best to explain every concept

  • in this insanely complex world,

  • to the child that was you,

  • as you asked a bazillion questions,

  • like how does the moon work

  • and why can we eat salad, but not grass?

  • (audience chuckles)

  • And maybe they didn't do it perfectly,

  • no one ever can.

  • Maybe they aren't with us anymore.

  • In that case, I hope you'll remember them today.

  • If they are in this stadium,

  • I hope you'll find your own way to express your gratitude

  • for all the steps and missteps

  • that have led us to this common destination.

  • (audience cheering) (audience applauding)

  • I know that words are supposed to be my thing

  • but I will never be able to find the words

  • to thank my mom and dad, my brother, Austin,

  • for the sacrifices they made every day,

  • so I could go from singing in coffee houses

  • to standing up here with you all today

  • because no words would ever be enough.

  • (audience cheering) (audience applauding)

  • To all the incredible parents, family members, mentors

  • teachers, allies, friends, and loved ones here today,

  • who have supported these students

  • in their pursuit of educational enrichment.

  • Let me say to you now welcome to New York,

  • it's been waiting for you.

  • (audience cheering) (audience applauding)

  • I'd like to thank NYU for making me

  • technically, on paper at least, a doctor.

  • (audience cheering) (audience applauding)

  • Not the type of doctor you would want around

  • in case of an emergency,

  • unless your specific emergency

  • was that you desperately needed to hear a song

  • with a catchy hook

  • and an intensely cathartic bridge section.

  • (audience cheering) (audience applauding)

  • Or if your emergency was that you needed a person

  • who can name over 50 breeds of cats in one minute.

  • (audience cheering)

  • I never got to have a normal college experience per se.

  • I went to public high school until 10th grade

  • and then finished my education,

  • doing homeschool work on the floors of airport terminals.

  • Then I went out on the road for radio tour

  • which sounds incredibly glamorous,

  • but in reality it consisted of a rental car, motels,

  • and my mom and I,

  • pretending to have loud mother-daughter fights

  • with each other during boarding,

  • so no one would want the empty seat between us on Southwest.

  • (audience chuckles)

  • As a kid, I always thought I would go away to college,

  • imagining the posters I would hang on the wall

  • of my freshman dorm.

  • I even set the ending of my music video

  • from my song "Love Story" at my fantasy imaginary college

  • where I meet a male model, reading a book on the grass.

  • And with one single glance

  • we realized we had been in love in our past lives

  • which is exactly what you guys all experienced

  • at some point in the last four years, right?

  • But I really can't complain

  • about not having a normal college experience to you

  • because you went to NYU during a global pandemic

  • being essentially locked into your dorms

  • and having to do classes over Zoom.

  • Everyone in college during normal times

  • stresses about test scores.

  • But on top of that

  • you also had to pass like a thousand COVID tests.

  • (audience chuckles)

  • I imagine the idea of a normal college experience