Ricky Skaggs finally has his high school diploma, five decades after he left school early to launch his career.
In June 2020, Skaggs was awarded an honorary diploma from his alma mater, Lawrence County High School in Louisa, Ky., during the school’s virtual graduation ceremony, according to a press announcement on Friday (April 9). Skaggs would have graduated as part of the class of 1971; however, he left school early to pursue music when he was invited to tour with legendary banjo player and bluegrass musician Ralph Stanley.
That began a storied career for the singer, mandolin player and multi-instrumentalist, who has won multiple Grammy, CMA and ACM Awards and accumulated No. 1 hits throughout the 1980s including “I Wouldn’t Change You If I Could,” “Country Boy,” “Cajun Moon” and many more. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2018 and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2012.
“It was an amazing surprise and answered prayer of my mom. She wanted me to graduate before I went full-time with Ralph Stanley on the road. I was about as proud of that as anything I’ve been given,” Skaggs reflects in a press release about receiving the diploma.
Fellow Lawrence County High School alums Larry Cordle — who wrote George Strait and Alan Jackson‘s 2000 CMA Award-winning Vocal Event of the Year “Murder on Music Row” — and Grammy-nominated Americana singer Tyler Childers were also in attendance at the virtual ceremony.
In January 2021, then-President Donald Trump bestowed Skaggs with the National Medal of Arts. He was originally scheduled to receive it in 2020; however, the ceremony was delayed a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.