Stony Brook University to Bestow Honorary Music Degree on Billy Joel

Billy Joel, a Long Island native, will receive a an honorary doctor of music degree at Stony Brook University's commencement ceremony in May. Stony Brook University

Billy Joel’s long list of accolades includes six Grammy Awards, a Tony Award, and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In May, he’ll add one more: Stony Brook University will present him with an honorary doctor of music degree at this year’s commencement ceremony.

Mr. Joel – whose name appears as William Martin Joel in Stony Brook’s announcement – has donated two Steinway grand pianos to the university, including one valued at $250,000 that replaced a piano damaged by a flood at the Staller Center for the Arts.

A Long Island native who owns a house in Sag Harbor, he is known for iconic songs that capture life on Long Island and in New York. According to Stony Brook, he has sold more than 150 million records over the past 25 years and is “one of most popular recording artists and respected entertainers in history.”

Receiving honorary degrees alongside Mr. Joel will be Charles Wang, a noted businessman and philanthropist, and Ben Shneiderman, an internationally acclaimed computer scientist and professor. Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr., president of Stony Brook University, said the three honorees “personify the relentless pursuit of excellence that Stony Brook embraces.”

Billy Joel took a ride out to Montauk with one of his classic motorcycles back in 2007.Star Files