That’s right. Little Steven. Silvio Dante. Call him what you want, but after the may 14 commencement, you can call him “doctor”.
The process to select a speaker is a long one and, it being Rutgers, likely an arduous one as well. It involved faculty, students, and staff.
Van Zandt is best known as the bandana-wearing guitarist from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and, before that, with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. Born in Boston, his family moved to Middletown, NJ when he was seven. And the rest is history.
Despite his deep roots in music and with no training in acting, Van Zandt took on the role of Silvio Dante in the New Jersey-based HBO series, The Sopranos.
While Van Zandt will be receiving an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts for his work in music, he is also known for his humanitarian work. In 1985, he established Artists United Against Apartheid. That same year, he created the Solidarity Foundation to promote the sovereignty of indigenous peoples. Van Zandt established the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation to provide no-cost lesson plans and educational materials to middle- and high-school teachers through its curriculum initiative, TeachRock.org.