Folk singer Rodriguez became a doctor on Thursday (09May13) after receiving an honorary degree from his alma mater.

The Mexican-American star, born Sixto Rodriguez, graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in philosophy in his native Detroit, Michigan in 1981, and he returned to the college this week to be appointed a Doctor of Humane Letters during the school's 2013 commencement ceremony.

The Searching for Sugar Man star, who developed a large following in South Africa during the apartheid era, was recognised for his "musical genius and commitment to social justice".

Stepping up to the podium to present Rodriguez with the award, President Allan Gilmour said, "Over the years, you have remained politically involved and connected to the Detroit community, living humbly in the city... working to improve conditions for the inner-city working class."