Musician Little Richard performs during the halftime show of the game between the Louisville Cardinals and the Boise State Broncos in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl on December 31, 2004 at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee. Louisville defeated Boise State 44-40. (Getty Images/Andy Lyons)
Good Golly, Miss Molly: Just call Little Richard Dr. Penniman.
The musical pioneer and Macon native Richard "Little Richard" Wayne Penniman will receive an honorary Doctor of Humanities from Mercer University at the Macon campus' graduation Saturday, according to a release.
"Little Richard" is expected to receive his honorary degree in person, Mercer University spokesman Mark Vanderhoek confirms.
Retired Army Lieutenant General Claude M. Kicklighter and former inspector general of the Department of Defense, Mercer trustee and 1955 Mercer graduate will speak to the Class of 2013.
Earlier in the day, Mercer University Law School Class of 2013 graduates with a class of 165 students. New York Times best-selling author and Mercer Law graduate of 1980 is scheduled to speak.
Little Richard was born in Macon's Pleasant Hill neighborhood and just turned 80 years old last December.
Little Richard was inducted with the inaugural class of stars into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, and sits at #8 on Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Artists of All-Time list, having been a significant influence on Elvis, Tina Turner, Jimi Hendrix, Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson and fellow Maconite Otis Redding, who he would later induct into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame (1989).
He left rock music for evangelical Christianity, eventually combining his love for both, and had a late career revival thanks to film and TV appearances.