Tom Petty, a native Gainesville, Fla., has been nominated for the University of Florida's Distinguished Achievement Award. Petty, the 51-year-old lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, is a 1

Tom Petty, a native Gainesville, Fla., has been nominated for the University of Florida's Distinguished Achievement Award. Petty, the 51-year-old lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, is a 1968 graduate of Gainesville High School. He left the city in 1974 and now lives in Los Angeles.

The award is "given to individuals for exceptional achievements in a chosen profession, for demonstrated leadership, and for other exemplary accomplishments." It is contingent upon its recipient making an appearance at the university's graduation ceremonies next spring. A spokesperson for the singer said Petty, who did not attend the school, was looking into his schedule.

State Sen. Rod Smith and the Children's Home Society of Mid-Florida nominated Petty for his Grammy-winning contributions to music, as well as for his humanitarian efforts for Live Aid, Farm Aid, Greenpeace, and other charity events, including the recent "America: A Tribute to Heroes" telethon to benefit victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Petty's performance of "I Won't Back Down" is featured on the Interscope album of the telethon, released Dec. 4 in North America. His last Warner Bros. album with the Heartbreakers, "Echo," debuted at No. 10 on The Billboard 200 in May 1999.


AP LogoCopyright 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print