Rocker and poet Patti Smith is be honoured at a university in Pennsylvania next year (13) for her contributions to the arts.

The Because the Night hitmaker will be presented with the 2013 Katharine Hepburn Medal at Bryn Mawr College during a special ceremony on 7 February (12).

A statement from school officials reads, "(Smith) was a trailblazer in the male-dominated world of rock and roll, and conveys enormous passion and continues to transform herself throughout her artistic journey."

The 65 year old joins a long list of previous honourees, including screen legend Lauren Bacall and Gwyneth Paltrow's actress mum Blythe Danner.

Academy Award winner Hepburn graduated from the university in 1928.