Kanye West receives honorary doctorate in Chicago

Kanye West receives an honorary doctorate degree from School of the Art Institute of Chicago President Walter Massey during their annual commencement ceremony in Chicago on May 11, 2015.

REUTERS/Jim Young

It was a humble Kanye West who received an honorary doctorate from the prestigious School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The rapper told 900 graduates Monday that when he decided to create in apparel, film, performance, "it would have been easier if I could have said I had a degree at the Art Institute of Chicago."

West dropped out of Chicago State University, where his mother was a professor, before pursuing music at age 20.

Some students weren't pleased with the school's decision to honor West. More than 1,500 people signed a petition contending West did not embody the values of the institution, adding if the school wants to honor a musician, there were more deserving hip-hop artists. (This isn't the first petition West has been the subject of -- another pleaded for him to be booted from this summer's Glastonbury festival.)

West was unapologetic, saying, "I am a pop artist. So my medium is public opinion and the world is my canvas."

"'I'm sorry' is something that you can use a lot," he told the graduates. "It gives you the opportunity to give your opinion, apologize for it, and give your opinion again. People say, 'You shouldn't have to be sorry for your opinions.'"

He later added, "George Bush ... has some very cool self-portraits" -- referencing the comment he made about the former president during a Hurricane Katrina telethon in 2005. "I didn't know he was an artist!"

You can listen to West's full remarks below: