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May 5, 2001

Country music superstar Tim McGraw to receive honorary degree at ULM commencment

Country music star Tim McGraw, a former student at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, will be honored at ULM's Spring Commencement Ceremonies May 12 when he receives an honorary Doctorate.

McGraw, a Delhi native who has sold nearly 25 million copies of his albums and singles, will receive his honorary degree at Commencement Ceremonies at Fant-Ewing Coliseum.

"I feel very humbled to be receiving this honorary degree," McGraw said. "It will be good to be home and have my family there with me."

ULM President Lawson L. Swearingen said that McGraw is being recognized for more than an outstanding music career.

"We are especially pleased to honor Mr. McGraw in this way, not only because of his outstanding career in music, but also because of his unselfish, humanitarian acts," ULM President Lawson L. Swearingen, Jr., said. "Funds generated by his numerous charitable activities have already impacted his hometown, our region and well beyond. We were pleased to receive this recommendation from our Alumni Association leadership and look forward to Saturday."

McGraw's record of service to, and support for, the northeastern region of Louisiana is a distinguished one. In 1994, he organized the first Swampstock, a fundraising event which began as a softball game to raise funds for hometown Little League in Rayville. Today, Swampstock consists of a celebrity softball game and multi-artist concert with attendance of over 11,000. Through McGraw's efforts, a new Little League park and equipment have been provided in addition to the funding of a scholarship to help students in the northeast Louisiana area.

Last year, McGraw and his wife performed a benefit concert for the Friends of the Jackson Zoo in Jackson, Miss., helping raise funds which built a new education complex and supported other Friend's projects.

"No one is more deserving to be recognized for their success and impact than Tim," said Jeff Thompson, ULM graduate and longtime friend of McGraw. "Things are going so great for Tim and the future of the University is so bright, this is a perfect time for ULM to celebrate what Tim has been able to accomplish. He is an everyday example of what you can make in life through hard work."

The generosity of McGraw has not been limited to northeast Louisiana. In 1999, he began giving to small communities throughout the United States with his Bread and Water Tour. While on tour with the George Strait Country Music Festival, McGraw went into selected cities and performed in local clubs with all proceeds going to charities within that particular community.

McGraw exploded onto the music scene in 1994 with his debut album Tim McGraw. The awards began coming in a short time later with him receiving the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite CD, Country Music Television Awards Male Video Artist of the Year, Academy of Country Music Album of the Year, Academy of Country Music Top New Male Vocalist, American Jukebox Awards Best New Artist, Country Radio Awards Best New Artist, Billboard Awards Top New Country Artist and Billboard magazine Top New Country Album.

Since that time he has earned over 35 awards from the music industry for his singles, vocal collaborations, albums, artistry, videos and tour packages. This year, he has already been tapped for five awards and nominated for two others.

McGraw and his wife Faith have two daughters, Gracie Katherine, age four, and Maggie Elizabeth, two. In 2000, McGraw was named Father of the Year by the National Fatherhood Initiative.

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