After gracing the stage alongside New York University’s class of 2022, Taylor Swift and her smash hit “22” takes on a whole new meaning.
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On Wednesday, the Grammy-winning singer and songwriter received a Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa, from the Manhattan-based university, where she delivered the commencement speech with a timely joke.
“I’m 90 percent sure the reason I’m here is because I have a song called ’22,'” Swift joked, adding that she was thrilled to be there.
The commencement ceremony was held at Yankee Stadium in a “doubleheader” event that honored the Classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022.
After receiving the accolade, Taylor Swift went up to the podium to deliver a 20-minute speech, during which she shared personal stories, imparted life lessons from her career, and reassured everyone that making mistakes is unavoidable.
“Hi, I’m Taylor,” Swift said as she began her commencement speech. “Last time I was in a stadium this size, I was dancing in heels and wearing a glittery leotard. This outfit is much more comfortable.”
Swift entered the stadium just like the other graduates, in a doctoral gown and a red lip while making peace signs and waving to everyone before taking her place among the rest of the commencement platform party.
The singer gave a speech to the class of 2022 on behalf of other honorary degree recipients, notably Judith Heumann, a lifetime disability rights activist who received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
Swift has been angling for an honorary doctorate degree for a long time. In a 2016 Vogue 73 Questions interview that was uploaded to YouTube, she was asked to name a goal she’s determined to accomplish during her life.
“I really want an honorary doctorate degree, because Ed Sheeran has one, and I feel like he looks down on me now ’cause I don’t have one,” said the “Wildest Dreams” singer in the video.
Swift also jokingly said, “I’d like to thank NYU for making me technically, on paper at least, a doctor. Not the type of doctor you would want around in the 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.”
At the conclusion of her speech, Taylor Swift offered encouragement, using her new degree as a co-sign of her qualifications.
“Hard things will happen to us, we will recover, we will learn from it. We will grow more resilient because of it,” Swift said. “As long as we are fortunate enough to be breathing, we will breathe in, breathe through, breathe deep, (and) breathe out — I’m a doctor now so I know how breathing works.”