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Elder President Bush, Aretha Franklin receive honorary degrees at 363rd Harvard commencement

  • APTOPIX Harvard Commencement-1.jpg

    Former President George H. W. Bush, left, shakes hands with Vice President and Secretary of Harvard University Marc Goodheart, right, as Bush is awarded with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during Harvard commencement ceremonies, Thursday, May 29, 2014, in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) (The Associated Press)

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    Singer Aretha Franklin performs the national anthem during Harvard's commencement ceremonies, Thursday, May 29, 2014, in Cambridge, Mass. Franklin was presented with an honorary degree during the ceremony. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) (The Associated Press)

  • Harvard Commencement-3.jpg

    Singer Aretha Franklin waves while standing to receive an honorary Doctor of Arts degree as Chilean author Isabel Allende, left, and former Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg, right, look on during Harvard commencement ceremonies, Thursday, May 29, 2014, in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) (The Associated Press)

  • Harvard Commencement-4.jpg

    Sarah Ashley Wheaton, center front, joins with other graduates from the Harvard Law School as they wave gavels and cheer during Harvard University commencement ceremonies, Thursday, May 29, 2014, in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) (The Associated Press)

  • 66b08bc6ff039114550f6a7067009a9e.jpg

    Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, left, speaks with former President George H. W. Bush, right, during Harvard commencement ceremonies, Thursday, May 29, 2014, in Cambridge, Mass. Both were presented with honorary degrees during the ceremonies. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) (The Associated Press)

A former president and the Queen of Soul have received honorary degrees from Harvard University.

George H.W. Bush, Aretha Franklin and six others were honored at Thursday's commencement.

Harvard President Drew Faust poked fun at the 89-year-old Bush's Yale University credentials, saying his "cap was blue, his house was white and now his robe is crimson," but added that Bush "piloted our nation though changeful skies."

Bush smiled and gestured to the crowd as he received the doctor of laws degree, but did not stand.

The 72-year-old Franklin accompanied herself on piano to perform the National Anthem. She later received an honorary doctor of arts degree.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg also received an honorary degree.

Harvard awarded more than 7,300 degrees and certificates at its 363rd commencement.

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