Chicago Art School Says Soon-To-Be Dr. Kanye West "...Is Smart"

Photo: Courtesy REX USA
Kanye West may have been a college dropout, but soon that minor detail won’t stop him from holding an advanced degree. Last month, the renowned School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) announced that they would be bestowing Yeezus with an honorary doctorate at the Class of 2015's commencement ceremony.  

When Kanye first broke the news to fans during an interview with Clique TV with one of the classic humble brags we have come to know and love him for—“I was a gifted artist since age five and won national competitions and went to art school. I’m actually getting an honorary doctorate on May 5th from the Art Institute of Chicago.”—reactions were, well, mixed, to say the least. Chicago Magazine approved, affectionately calling Kanye a “lifelong art, architecture and design nerd.” “Congratulations, Dr. West! We’re proud of you,” wrote MTV News.   

But students of the institution were not so easily impressed, with several posting flyers around campus lamenting the decision. Others took to Twitter to suggest someone recreate his infamous VMA-Taylor-Swift-Imma-Let-You-Finish moment during the doctorate’s presentation. (Fellow honorary degree-recipients, including AIC director Douglas Druick, gallerist Rhona Hoffman, artist and alum Janet Byrne Neiman and German painter Albert Oehlen, did not seem to provoke such a strong reaction. Shocking, we know.)   
Photo: Courtesy REX USA

But the haters aren’t intimidating SAIC President Walter E. Massey and Dean of Faculty Lisa Wainwright, who stand by their decision in a fascinating new interview with Fader.  

“The guy is smart,” Wainwright insists. ”The lyrics are smart, the music is beautiful, it’s complicated, it’s post-modern, it’s hip, it’s awakening, I couldn’t be happier.” She goes on to address Kanye’s relevance to arts education, specifically noting that “What art school teaches—what our art school teaches—is how to think creatively even outside of the field in which you operate, and Kanye does that. He slips between these disciplines in such interesting ways.” 

“We are a very interdisciplinary institution, and what he does cuts across so many disciplines…We have faculty members who use him as the subject of their teaching, so this is perfect,” adds Massey. 

And when it comes to the perceived pushback, Massey seems unconcerned, “That hasn’t been as widespread. They get maddened about it once they get on social media. People who have no connection with the school will comment on it,” he notes, before concluding wisely that “You can’t please all the people all the time.”  

So, how can we get tickets to this commencement ceremony? 

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