American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken on Saturday (20DEC03) graduated from the university course he was doing before shooting to fame on the TV talent show.

Aiken received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Special Education from the UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA at CHARLOTTE COLLEGE OF EDUCATION during an afternoon ceremony.

The multi-platinum recording sensation took to the stage to address his fellow students, saying, "This has been an amazing year for me. This is more special to me than a lot of the things that have happened to me this year, because what happens here today says something to people.

"This is a day that makes for all of us a statement - how important it is to persevere and continue to work and strive to succeed. Thank you for letting me be a part of this day. Congratulations and God bless. Thank you so much."

But despite his kind words, Aiken was not well-received by all present - his appearance was greeted with both boos and cheers, as many students were furious their special day had become a media circus due to his presence. There was also much anger as tickets were restricted to seven per student to stop Aiken's fans crowding the auditorium.

22/12/2003 17:12