On Sunday, Mark Katz, the chairman of UNC-Chapel Hill's music department, helped secure a Carolina-blue mortarboard to the head of the man who sang “Yellow Submarine.” Ringo Starr, in town to play a show that evening at DPAC with his All-Starr Band, arrived on campus to accept a proclamation from the music department in recognition of his contributions to music, culture and life at large.
The idea of issuing such academic proclamations originated with the music department’s entrepreneur-in-residence, Ken Weiss, a music business veteran who Katz appointed to the position he created in 2010. Weiss sought to make meaningful connections between the university and notable musicians performing in the region. Having once worked with the former Beatle, Weiss contacted him, and Starr warmed to the idea. “When we agreed to meet, he said, ‘Bring me one of those graduation hats,'" offers Katz. "And it was very Ringo-esque, in that we put it on backward and we were fumbling around and finally we got it on right.” To paraphrase Starr's first solo hit, the finding of the hat didn’t come easy. “I went to the student stores on campus to get one,” says Katz, “and they said we only sell them at graduation time. And I said, well, it’s a special occasion; we want to give one to Ringo Starr. And the woman said, ‘Let me call the warehouse.’”
Source: Indy Week
Photo Courtesy of Mark Katz