AUSTIN, Texas – Weeks after winning more Grammys, Willie Nelson is getting a new kind of honor: a university endowment in Texas.
The 89-year-old country music icon, who in the 1980s helped launch the Farm Aid benefit concerts, is the namesake of the new Willie Nelson Endowment for Uplifting Rural Communities at the University of Texas’ LBJ School of Public Affairs, the school announced Wednesday.
The endowment will fund research and student fellowships benefiting rural and farm communities. The “Always on My Mind” singer has raised more than $70 million for family farm owners through Farm Aid, according to the school, which also plans to honor the Texas native at a May gala.
“Willie Nelson is a national treasure who gained fame through his sheer musical talent and won hearts as someone who truly cares about the lives of his fellow Americans,” Larry Temple, Chairman of the LBJ Foundation Board of Trustees, said in a statement.
At the Grammys last month, Nelson's won best country album for “A Beautiful Time” and best country solo performance for “Live Forever.” He has won a dozen Grammys over the course of his career.
He will receive the LBJ Foundation’s Liberty and Justice for All award, joining a list of recipients that include former U.S. presidents, members of Congress and the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.