Last week the University of Minnesota bestowed an honorary, posthumous degree upon our sweet Prince.
We already reported on that, deciding to pour our resources into this delightfully satirical headline.
The Minnesota Daily, on the other hand, dug a little deeper. Their reporting unearthed a fascinating backstory replete with muddled bureaucracy, one determined Board of Regents member, and on-brand Prince quotes.
Let's go back to 1992. That's the first time the U first attempted to honor Prince with a degree, Regent Darrin Rosha tells the Daily. He spearheaded the idea with former Regent Alan Page, the longtime Minnesota Supreme Court Justice who also enjoyed a Hall of Fame career with the Vikings.
Prince responded to the offer through his management with a perfectly Prince-like answer: "cool."
But the U wasn't prepared to make things that easy.
Later that year, Northumbria University in England (???) handed Sting an honorary degree. The U (somehow) feared a similar gesture to a pop star might appear copycat-ish, Rosha tells the Daily. Plus, around the same time, Prince changed his name to a symbol, complicating what name — if any — should appear on the damn degree.
Rosha left the U in 1995, thus mothballing the plan for 20 years. He returned to the U in 2015 with hopes to finally get Prince that honorary degree. Plans for a ceremonial concert at Northrop were even in the works.
“The intent was to use the resources to establish a scholarship fund in Prince’s name to benefit kids from his old neighborhoods in north and south Minneapolis,” Rosha tells the Daily.
Sadly, Prince died in April before the plans could be finalized. The U does not normally award posthumous degrees, the Daily reports, but President Eric Kaler was persuaded to bend the rules since the process began while Prince was alive. Also, Kaler, it's fuckin' Prince, baby.
The kicker to the whole story?
When Rosha contacted Prince's camp again in 2015 about the prospect of an honorary degree, he received a familiar one-word response from the Purple One: