Penniman’s longtime friend, Macon resident Gary Montgomery, said he first suggested to Underwood seven years ago that the school recognize the singer with an honorary degree. He said they wanted to do it when he wasn’t on tour and could be here to get it, and this year Penniman said he could come.
“I thought it would be good because he is from Macon and he was raised in Macon and a lot of people know him, and he promotes Macon,” said Montgomery. a record producer.
Montgomery said he thought it was particularly appropriate that Penniman would get a humanities degree.
“He loves all people, regardless of whether they are Black, White or purple,” he said.
Just before he was given the degree, he was honored with a video montage played on the arena scoreboard featuring many of his hit songs. It was mostly black-and-white film of Little Richard in his prime, showing off the high-energy style that made him a sensation.