Pharrell Williams is “forever a student.”

The Grammy-winning superstar received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from New York University on Wednesday (May 17) during a commencement ceremony, where he offered a nod to his mother.

“I’m very grateful,” he said of the honor. “My mom is a lifelong educator so this is going to be a really good look for me.”

Afterwards, Skateboard P got serious and provided some words of wisdom about gender equality. “Imagine the possibilities when we remove imbalance from the ether because it’s unbalanced right now,” he said. “Imagine the possibilities when women are not held back. Your generation is unraveling deeply entrenched laws, principals, and misguided values that have held women back for far too long, and therefore, have held us all back, the human race. The world that you live in will be a lot better for it.”

Capping off the speech, Pharrell — who was named an artist-in-residence at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2015 — focused on this year’s graduating class and its infinite potential. “I know that somebody out there, in this class, just might occupy the White House one day,” he said. “Let me be clear. Not red and not blue, but maybe purple, like NYU.”

Sharing an image from the commencement, Pharrell later wrote: “Forever a student.”

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