Internationally acclaimed musician Zac Brown, best known as the founder and lead singer of the Zac Brown Band, was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters by the University of West Georgia during its spring commencement ceremonies. Brown, a former UWG student and Georgia native, accepted the honorary degree before an audience of over 4,700 graduates on the university’s Carrollton campus.
In his acceptance speech, Brown, who attended UWG in the late 1990s, shared insights from his successful career. “Find something that you love to do and give it all you have because you win when you love what you do. Be yourself and see the world as you want it to be,” he said.
The honorary degree recognizes Brown’s significant contributions to the music industry and his commitment to philanthropy. The Grammy Award-winning Zac Brown Band, known for chart-topping singles like “Chicken Fried,” “Toes” and “Knee Deep,” has made Brown a household name.
UWG’s president, Dr. Brendan Kelly, commended Brown’s ongoing relationship with the institution. “Awarding him this honorary doctorate instills a sense of pride in the institution for everyone in our university community,” Kelly said. “His commitment to giving back and supporting the next generation of leaders is an inspiration to us all.”
Raised in Dahlonega, Georgia, Brown graduated from Lumpkin County High School and later attended what was then called West Georgia College. Brown’s connections to his home state and alma mater run deep, as evidenced by his time as a member of the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity’s Zeta Kappa chapter.
Brown expressed gratitude for the recognition. “As a former student, I have always valued my time at UWG and the impact it had on my life and career,” he said.
Besides his illustrious music career, Brown is known for his philanthropy, particularly through Camp Southern Ground. This world-class facility serves youth and veterans, hosting inclusive residential camps for children and various support programs for post-9/11 veterans.
Since its founding in 2002, the Zac Brown Band has released seven studio albums, two live albums, one greatest-hits album, and two extended plays. The band’s first album, “The Foundation,” is certified 6X-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, and subsequent albums have also achieved platinum status.
The Zac Brown Band is respected as a dynamic live performer, having won three Grammy Awards and sold more than 30 million singles and 9 million albums. The band’s songs have topped both the country and active rock charts, a feat matched by only one other act.
Kelly concluded, “Zac’s story is an incredible testament to the power of hard work, creativity and perseverance. We are proud to have played a role in that story, and on behalf of the entire UWG community, I wish him continued success and look forward to seeing all the great things he will continue to achieve.”