Paul F. Simon
Paul F. Simon is one of the best-known and most successful American singers and songwriters of the last half-century, hailed by Time magazine as one of “100 People Who Shape Our World.”
His numerous honors and awards include the Kennedy Center Honor, the first Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for his artistry as half of the duo Simon and Garfunkel. He is the recipient of twelve Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year prizes for “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Still Crazy After All These Years,” and “Graceland.”
He has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame both as a member of Simon and Garfunkel and as a solo artist. Mr. Simon wrote the music for the film "The Graduate," a classic of the Baby Boomer generation, and his groundbreaking album “Graceland,” featuring South African musicians, helped fuel the anti-apartheid movement.
An advocate for human rights, he was the first American artist to perform in post-apartheid South Africa. Mr. Simon’s philanthropic work includes the cofounding of the Children’s Health Fund, which provided primary health care for the victims of hurricanes Andrew and Katrina. He is a supporter of AMFAR, the Nature Conservancy, Little Kids Rock, Autism Speaks, and the Fund for Imprisoned Children in South Africa.
Honorary Degree Citation
You told us Joe DiMaggio had left and gone away, and that we all would be received in Graceland. You taught us how to begin to remember, and that the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls. You warned us about the sounds of silence. And you did it all without lecturing, for you are one of the best-known and most successful American singers and songwriters of the last half-century. You wrote the music for The Graduate, capturing the hopes and frustrations of one generation, and then introduced America to the inspiring music of the South African townships, helping to fuel the anti-apartheid spirit of another. You are, as Time magazine recognized in 2007, one of “100 People Who Shape Our World.” Beyond your musical prowess—acknowledged by twelve Grammies, three songs of the year, and the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song—you are an activist and advocate for children. You support Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit organization that provides free musical instruments and free lessons to children in public schools throughout the United States. You are a cofounder and major benefactor of the Children’s Health Fund.
With gratitude and pride, Brandeis University bestows upon you its highest honor.