Honorary doctorate for school drop-out Dion

TORONTO: Canadian singer Celine Dion, who is not even a high school graduate, has been given an honorary doctorate in music by Laval University in Quebec City. The honour on August 21 comes a day before Dion performs a free concert for the year-long 400th birthday celebrations of Quebec City — the oldest city in Canada and also the capital of Quebec province.

Receiving the honorary doctorate from Laval University superintendent Denis Briere at a ceremony attended by 800 people, Dion said the degree was a great honour for “a little girl from Charlemagne”.

Charlemagne is a small suburb of Montreal where Dion was born as the fourteenth child of poor parents in 1968.

Thanking the university for the honour, Dion said, “If there is something that has guided my life, it’s my wish to excel and go further, to the maximum of my abilities, to the top of my goals, my hopes and my dreams.” Referring to her unfinished high school education, Dion said, “The school of life is also very important.”

To thank her for performing free Friday, the organisers also presented her a commemorative medal. Dion, who is currently on her on-off ‘Taking Chances Tour’, said she was dedicating the honour to her much older husband-manager Rene Angelil.

Dion, who started her music career in the early 1980s, has sold over 200 million albums worldwide so far.