Taylor Swift Speaks at the 2022 NYU Graduation Ceremony

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Devin Spizz, Contributing Writer

On May 18, violet banners took flight over Yankee Stadium as NYU (New York University) celebrated its 188th Commencement Exercises for the Class of 2022 along with the 189th Commencement Exercises for the Classes of 2020 and 2021.  NYU has a tradition of giving out honorary degrees every commencement celebration to recognize several distinguished individuals.  This year’s recipient in particular had the crowd going wild when she accepted an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa.   

Taylor Swift, 32-year-old singer-songwriter, was the official guest of honor at the graduation, delivering a 20-minute speech after accepting her doctorate.  She began by thanking the university for her degree.  

“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.  Or if your emergency was that you needed a person who can name over fifty breeds of cats in one minute,” said Taylor Swift.

She would then leave the graduates with valuable guidance.  

“We are led by our gut instincts, our intuition, our desires and fears, our scars and our dreams.  And you will screw it up sometimes.  So will I.  And when I do, you will most likely read about it on the internet.  Anyway…hard things will happen to us.  We will recover.  We will learn from it.  We will grow more resilient because of it,” said Swift.  

She urged the crowd not to be afraid to be enthusiastic, and reminded them that making mistakes is a natural part of life as you grow up.  

“I watched a video of the speech online and it was so heartwarming watching Taylor give advice to the graduates.  Her speech was so genuine and earnest,” said sophomore Tess Romero.  

Earlier this year, NYU introduced a Taylor Swift course at the Clive Davis Institute of Recording Arts.  The class, consisting of about 20 people, provided students with the opportunity to delve into the singer’s career and take a deeper look into how the artist got to where she is today.  The course looks at her impact through songwriting, musical influences, the music industry, feminism and race.  For example, one of the course objectives was to take a look at the influences of pop and country music on her songwriting.  The majority of those who signed up for the class were studying to become either recording artists or work in the music industry.  

“I think this class is such an interesting concept and would love the opportunity to take a course like this,” said sophomore Holly Sternlicht.   

Currently, Taylor Swift is working on re-recording her old albums, so she can own the masters to these songs.   Back in 2019, Swift claimed her record label was preventing her from performing a medley of her songs at the American Music Awards and using her music in a Netflix documentary. By recording all of her old music, she will have control of it, allowing her to choose how she wants it to appear in advertising.  

“The reason I’m re-recording my music next year is because I do want my music to live on.   I do want it to be in movies, I do want it to be in commercials.  But I only want that if I own it,” said Swift in an interview with Billboard in 2019.

So far, Swift has the masters to Lover (2019), Folklore (2020), Evermore (2020), Fearless (Taylor’s Version) (2021), and Red (Taylor’s Version) (2021).   Though she has yet to confirm which of her albums is set to be re-recorded next, fans suspect it will be 1989 or Speak Now.  

“I am really happy she is finally getting the rights to her music back, and I can’t wait to see what she does next,” said sophomore Taylor Schorr.