Nearly eight years after he graduated Summa Cum Laude, J. Cole finally received his diploma from his alma mater, St. John’s University, during a homecoming appearance at the school earlier this week.

Cole performed at St. John’s on Thursday (April 9) as a part of his ongoing promo tour for his latest release, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, and was surprised by one of his former professors with an official diploma.

“Tonight, I guess they let me slide,” Cole told the Village Voice before explaining the reason he never received the official acknowledgement. “I’m gonna send it to my Mom.”

“I owed money for a library book that I didn’t turn in,” Cole admitted. “If you have any outstanding fee, that translates to money. There’s a price associated with it. I never paid. That’s why I don’t have my degree.”

During the interview Cole also said the return to St. John’s reminded him of his early come-up in music.

“There were a few moments onstage when I literally had to remember, like, ‘Oh snap,'” he said. “I literally realized onstage that I wrote [‘Lights Please’]. I remembered the apartment that I was in when I wrote it. I remembered the night I wrote it. I definitely probably had class the next day. I just remember that era of making music and still going to class. It’s just crazy.”

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