Billy Joel pushes Stony Brook students to shoot high

Billy Joel pushes Stony Brook students to shoot high

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Billy Joel accepts his honorary degree at Friday’s graduation ceremony. Photo from Lauren Sheprow

Stony Brook University marked its 55th commencement ceremony Friday and doled out degrees to 6,298 students, joining more than 155,000 of the school’s forerunners around the globe.

The school also honored Long Island leaders Billy Joel and Charles B. Wang, who received an honorary doctor of music and doctor of humane letters, respectively.

State University of New York Trustee Cary Staller conferred the honorary degree to Joel, and in his acceptance speech, Joel told students to never compromise their ideals.

“I hope that by now you have found what it is you love and I hope that you have learned the skills you need to make what you love your life’s work,” he said. “I wish for you the stamina to continue that work when you encounter resistance and tough times … if you’re not doing what you love, you’re just wasting your time.”

Wang, during his acceptance speech, stated his beliefs in four points, “One — you can make a difference; two — integrity and loyalty are only words until tested; three — love life to the fullest; and four — have fun.” He also described his inspiration to create the Charles B. Wang Center, an Asian and Asian-American cultural hub at the university.