Musician Kanye West and School of the Art Institute of Chicago Professor Nick Cave attend the school's annual commencement ceremony where West received an honorary doctorate degree in Chicago, Illinois on May 11, 2015
Jim Young—Reuters
May 12, 2015 12:00 AM EDT

On Monday, celebrated college drop-out Kanye West collected an honorary doctorate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where a rapt audience listened to the Chicago native’s expansive speech covering everything from George W. Bush’s self-portraits to his TIME 100 cover.

West — who briefly attended Chicago’s American Academy of Art and Chicago State University, but dropped out to pursue music — labeled the accolade a “humanization” and a “recognition.”

“When I was giving a lecture at Oxford, I brought up this school because when I went out on that mission to create other spaces — apparel, film, performance — it would’ve been easier if I could have said I had a degree at the Art Institute of Chicago,” he said.

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