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‘Sugar Man’ Rodriguez Gets Honorary Degree

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BYRON BAY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 29:  performs on stage at Bluesfest Byron Bay 2013 - Day 2 on March 29, 2013 in Byron Bay, Australia.  (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

BYRON BAY, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 29: performs on stage at Bluesfest Byron Bay 2013 – Day 2 on March 29, 2013 in Byron Bay, Australia. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

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DETROIT (AP) – Wayne State University had no idea that a folk hero was in its midst when the Detroit school awarded Sixto Rodriguez a philosophy degree in 1981.

Then again, Rodriguez had no idea about his fame, either.

The Motor City musician received a Doctor of Humane Letters on Thursday during the university’s commencement ceremonies at Ford Field. He has been recognized for his “musical genius and commitment to social justice.”

Rodriguez’s two albums in the early 1970s received little attention in the United States but he unknowingly developed a cult following in South Africa during the apartheid era. He was the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary, “Searching for Sugar Man.”

After his music career fizzled stateside, Rodriguez worked various jobs around Detroit, ran for public office and obtained his bachelor’s degree.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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