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Ray Charles Gets Honorary Degree

December 3, 1999

WILBERFORCE, Ohio (AP) _ Singer-songwriter Ray Charles has been presented with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree by Wilberforce University.

``It is so wonderful,″ Charles said Thursday. ``And what’s beautiful about it is I’m in good health and I can appreciate it, I can enjoy it.

``A lot of times when you get things, they either give it to you when you’re dead or when you’re so sick you don’t know you’ve got it,″ he said. ``But this is marvelous.″

Charles’ influential career has spanned rhythm and blues, jazz, rock, gospel and country. At 69, he continues to perform, and has also appeared in television commercials in recent years.

Wilberforce, a private, historically black university with 760 students, is 15 miles east of Dayton.

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