Ledisi, Q-Tip, and Gilberto Santa Rosa to Receive Honorary Doctorates at Berklee 2024 Commencement

The ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 11.

April 10, 2024

Berklee College of Music will present honorary Doctor of Music degrees to global superstars and Grammy Award–winning artists Ledisi, Q-Tip, and Gilberto Santa Rosa at its 2024 commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11, at 10:00 a.m. at Boston University’s Agganis Arena.

Commencement festivities will begin on the evening of Friday, May 10, at 7:30 p.m. with a reception and concert at Agganis Arena. The concert will feature a global cast of over 200 student vocalists, instrumentalists, dancers, arrangers, and track producers from the graduating class, who will perform a musical tribute to the work of each of the honorees.

This year’s honorary doctorate recipients will be celebrated and recognized for their invaluable contributions to the worlds of music and philanthropy. Past recipients from the college include Duke Ellington (the first, in 1971), Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones ’51, Celine Dion, B.B. King, Joni Mitchell, Chaka Khan, esperanza spalding B.M. ’05, Usher, Willie Nelson, Missy Elliott, Ringo Starr, Tito Puente, Gloria Estefan, Roberta Flack, Juan Luis Guerra ’82, Rita Moreno, and John Legend.


Ledisi, a Grammy Award–winning artist hailed as one of the most captivating vocalists of her generation, is a force to be reckoned with in the music industry. Over the course of her career, Ledisi has continually pushed boundaries and redefined the soul and R&B genres with her electrifying performances and powerful storytelling. Born in New Orleans and raised in Oakland, Ledisi's journey to stardom is a testament to her unwavering passion and dedication to her craft. From her early beginnings performing in local clubs to gracing the world's most prestigious stages, including a sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall, she has captivated audiences with her soul-stirring voice and magnetic stage presence.

Ledisi's remarkable talent has earned her critical acclaim and numerous accolades throughout her career. With 15 Grammy nominations, including a win for Best Traditional R&B Performance for “Anything for You,” her impact on the music industry is undeniable. Her chart-topping singles, including “Pieces of Me,” have solidified her status as a trailblazer in contemporary soul music. Ledisi's commitment to artistic excellence extends beyond the music industry. As an actress, author, and advocate, Ledisi has used her platform to uplift and inspire others. Her notable film roles in Leatherheads and Spinning Gold, along with her acclaimed portrayals of Mahalia Jackson in Remember Me and Selma, have showcased her versatility and talent.

In addition to her artistic endeavors, Ledisi has been inducted into Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and served as past president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Recording Academy, further solidifying her influence and impact in the entertainment industry. Ledisi has advocated many times on Capitol Hill for the rights of writers and performers. She is currently an artist in residence with the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice, which she joined in the fall of 2022.


Q-Tip, famously known for cofounding A Tribe Called Quest, has solidified his position as one of the most influential figures in hip-hop history. His innovative fusion of rap, jazz, and various other styles, paired with socially conscious lyrics, has earned him widespread acclaim. 

A Tribe Called Quest released their sixth and final album, We Got It from Here...Thank You 4 Your Service, in November 2016, receiving glowing reviews from critics and fans alike. Q-Tip's unorthodox approach to hip-hop and his appreciation for diverse genres have propelled him to success as both a solo artist and producer. Collaborating with an array of celebrated musicians including the Beastie Boys, Busta Rhymes, J Dilla, Janet Jackson, Queen Latifah, Pharrell Williams, Mark Ronson, and Mary J. Blige, he has continually pushed the boundaries of artistic expression. His recent collaborations include Solange, Kendrick Lamar, Arcade Fire, and the Chemical Brothers. 

His solo albums, including Amplified, the Grammy-nominated The Renaissance, and Kamaal the Abstract, have garnered critical acclaim, showcasing his versatility and innovation. Q-Tip is currently scheduled to release another solo album in late 2024.

Beyond music, Q-Tip's artistic exploration extends into acting, film production, advocacy, education, and ambassadorship of hip-hop culture. He brings his industry expertise to the Kennedy Center as an artistic director, curating a full season of hip-hop programming across disciplines, transforming the performing arts center into a beacon of hip-hop culture and history for years to come. Through his multifaceted contributions, Q-Tip continues to shape the landscape of contemporary music and cultural discourse. 

Gilberto Santa Rosa 

Gilberto Santa Rosa’s musical elegance and style has made him one of the most prominent figures in popular music. His countless accolades in the recording industry have reaffirmed his validity through the years, among them the 2002 American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers’ Latin Heritage Award, five Latin Grammys, and the 2021 Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He has made record sales history as an artist, including a multitude of gold, platinum, and multiplatinum album certifications, and is the Guinness World Record holder for the most number-one hits on Billboard’s Tropical Albums chart, making him one of the most successful Latin music vocalists in the world. 

Nicknamed "El Caballero de la Salsa" (the Gentleman of Salsa), Santa Rosa began singing at the age of 6. Over a storied career spanning over 40 years that has produced more than 25 albums, the Puerto Rican bandleader has had many firsts, including being the first tropical salsa singer to perform at Carnegie Hall.

Santa Rosa was awarded the Lifetime Culture Achievement Award in September 2012 by the South-South News, an agency ascribed to the United Nations. This important acknowledgment is given to individuals who have made significant contributions to cultural development. Santa Rosa was also the first musician to be honored among heads of state and politicians who have previously received this award.

In 2013, Santa Rosa debuted on Broadway, where he was an invited guest in the musical revival of Forever Tango at the Walter Kerr Theater. Santa Rosa has also participated as a coach on the reality show La Voz Colombia, a singing competition where his vast musical knowledge was on display. In 2015, he received the first Premio Estrella from Día Nacional de la Zalsa. In 2017, an HBO Latino performance of 40... y Contando (En Vivo Desde Puerto Rico) honored his 40-year anniversary in the music industry. 

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, Santa Rosa was one of the first artists to perform live during the economic recovery of the entertainment industry in markets such as Puerto Rico. He continues to tour widely in promotion of his Auténtico tour, performing in iconic venues such as the Teatro Nacional Eduardo Brito in the Dominican Republic, the Movistar Arenas in Chile and Colombia, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the Kia Center in Orlando, Radio City Music Hall in New York, and various locations in Europe.