Jamey Johnson Receives Honorary Doctorate from Jacksonville State University During Jamey Johnson Day in Alabama

Jamey Johnson was awarded an honorary doctorate at Jacksonville State University, where he is launching a new annual series designed to bring cultural and educational opportunities to students at his alma mater.

 He also served as the commencement speaker during Friday’s graduation ceremony at Pete Mathews Coliseum. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey proclaimed that Dec. 15 would henceforth be known as Jamey Johnson Day in Alabama, the state in which he was born and raised.

(Video of the full commencement ceremony featuring Johnson (where he was awarded an honorary doctorate, learned of the governor’s proclamation and gave the commencement speech) is available online.)

He performed at the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday, and on Sunday sang “Georgia on My Mind” on the star-studded CBS primetime special Willie Nelson’s 90th Birthday Celebration.

“In my family, we have a rule about relationships: we only choose the ones that choose us back,” Johnson says. “Jacksonville State University and I chose each other 30 years ago and we still stand together today.

“I am proud to receive this honorary doctorate and I look forward to working with the faculty and students to raise money for scholarships and support local musicians and songwriters in their quests for success in the field of music. And I couldn’t be prouder of our Gamecocks for their recent win in New Orleans.”

On Thursday, Johnson took the stage at JSU’s Stone Center to help raise money for scholarships and the Randy Owen Center for the Performing Arts. He was joined by fellow JSU alumni Randy Owen, Riley Green, and Gordon Mote during the show, which was hosted by JSU alum Bill “Bubba” Bussey of The Rick and Bubba Show.

It was announced during the concert that Johnson has created the Jamey Johnson Music Series to allow JSU students to learn from successful recording artists and songwriters through performances, workshops, and lectures. Johnson is committed to assisting JSU in providing the best possible education for its students. 

Johnson enrolled at Jacksonville State University in 1993 and studied music education. He received a full scholarship to play French horn and mellophone in the Marching Southerners. He left JSU to join the U.S. Marines, where he served for eight years.  

He then moved to Nashville and launched a career in country music that includes 11 Grammy nominations and membership in the Grand Ole Opry. The Washington Post called him “one of the greatest country singers of our time.”

Johnson is one of only a few in the history of country music to win two Song of the Year Awards—for “Give It Away” and “In Color”—from both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association. His album called That Lonesome Song was certified platinum and his No. album, The Guitar Song, was certified gold. 

He has also written songs that have been recorded by artists including George Strait, Willie Nelson, Trace Adkins, James Otto, Joe Nichols and others.