Honorary Doctorates for bluegrass pioneers

Jesse McReynolds receives a letter of intent from Megan Darby for his honorary doctorate from Glenville State

Glenville State College in West Virginia, one of several institutes of higher learning to offer a bachelors degree in bluegrass music, has announced plans to confer honorary doctorates on a number of bluegrass pioneers deserving of the recognition.

Letters of intent have been delivered to Mac Wiseman, Jim and Jesse McReynolds (to Jim’s daughter), and Bobby and Sonny Osborne. The plan is to schedule a time in Nashville early in 2019 where a formal hooding ceremony can take place.

Glenville President, Dr. Tracy L. Pellett, made the announcement on December 15, but Megan Darby, Asst. Professor of Music and Director of the bluegrass music program at GSC, tells us that this has been in the works for several years.

“Our current administration understands the value in doing the right thing. The first generation bluegrass masters have left such a legacy for us to study, and it was an honor to be given the opportunity to hand deliver the invitations to participate. 

The most powerful thing for me about bluegrass music is that I have memories of watching and sharing the stage with many of these pioneers. Our students still have an opportunity to meet and learn from this amazing generation.”

As she mentioned, Dr. Darby traveled to Nashville with the letters and met privately with Mac at his Christmas party, visited Jesse at his home, met Jim’s daughter Janeen while she was out shopping, and stopped by Bobby’s home to present them with the letters of intent. She was unable to catch up with Sonny, but he has received his by mail.

Megan shared these photos that were taken on her trip.

Congratulations to Mac, Jim and Jesse, and Sonny and Bobby, and hats off to Glenville State for honoring these musical pioneers while most of them are still with us.

Well done all!

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.