The correct title is now Dr. Cave. Alternative-rock icon Nick Cave has been presented with an honorary degree of doctor of laws from Monash University in his longtime hometown of Melbourne.

The U.K.-based, Australian-bred musician, novelist, actor, film score composer and screenwriter was conferred the honor for "substantial achievements in the creative arts," Monash vice-chancellor Professor Richard Larkins said.

Larkins added, "As an Australian largely based out of London, and previously in Sao Paulo, Los Angeles and Berlin, Nick Cave has been successful in increasing the profile of Australia internationally, particularly in terms of our nation's creative and artistic capabilities."

Cave studied for a diploma of art and design (fine art) at the Caulfield Institute of Technology in 1977 and '78. This is now the Faculty of Art & Design on the Caulfield campus of Monash University. He left his studies, which were primarily in painting, to successfully pursue a music career.

Over a 30-year career, Cave has released 20 albums, including works with bands he fronted, like the Birthday Party, the Bad Seeds, and Grinderman, plus solo recordings and soundtracks. Cave's latest set with the Bad Seeds, "Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!," peaked at No. 4 in the U.K. and No. 3 on Billboard's European Top 100 Albums chart, after the Mute album was released earlier this month.

Aside from a number of novels, including 1989's "And the Ass Saw the Angel," Cave's involvement in films as an actor or writer included Wim Wender's "Until The End Of The World", and John Hillcoat's "Ghosts ... of the Civil Dead" and "The Proposition," set in colonial Australia.

Cave and frequent collaborator Warren Ellis scored the recent feature film, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford."

The conferring of an honorary Doctor of Laws is a centuries-old tradition in most Australian and British universities. Monash University, which has 55,000 students and campuses in three continents, has also bestowed the award to author Peter Carey, biologist Sir Gustav Nossal, and the late mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary.

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