The veteran singer was honoured at Boston's Agganis Arena alongside Lucinda Williams, Todd Rundgren, Shin Joong Hyun, and Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, reported People magazine.
"For his contributions to contemporary culture, his humanitarian efforts, and the joy his music brings to so many, it is my pleasure to present Berklee's honorary doctorate of music to Lionel Richie," Berklee President Roger H Brown said.
Multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and record producer Rundgren delivered the class of 2017 commencement address.
The night before, Richie, 67, joined graduating students on stage at the annual commencement concert to perform his charity hit, "We Are the World."
"I wish Michael Jackson would have been with me to share that moment because what I saw on your faces was the enthusiasm, the passion, the drive, the love, and the dreams, Richie had said.