Krystal Keith says her father Toby Keith knew he was getting an honorary degree from University of Oklahoma. During the spring commencement, she underlined how much the Sooners meant to him.

The singer's youngest daughter also emphasized his work ethic, achievements and dedication to family.

"He would want me to tell you to never give up on yourself," she told the Class of 2024.

  • Toby Keith died on Feb. 5 after a 2-year-long battle with cancer.
  • In March, his fans learned he'd be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
  • Last month, family was present for an extensive tribute at the 2024 CMT Music Awards.

Related: Toby Keith's Children Make Rare Red Carpet Appearance

Since Keith's death, his children have made appearances to accept multiple awards and honors. Sometimes they'll appear together, but only Krystal took the stage during Saturday's (May 10) ceremony in Norman, Okla.

"I actually made a joke about how many hours I spent here getting my bachelor’s degree, and he joked that he didn’t have to work that hard to get his," she said early on. "But we all know he earned it and spent many more hours dedicating his life to earning it this way."

After describing how passionate a fan of the Sooners sports teams Keith was, she recalled how he picked Oklahoma over Nashville as everyone in country music was telling him to do the opposite.

Travis Caperton
Travis Caperton

"This is where his roots were, and he never forgot it," she says. "His loyalty to OU was extended to my siblings and I, making sure it was a huge part of our lives."

To that extent, Keith refused to pay for an education at any other college but the University of Oklahoma.

When my sister wanted to study veterinary sciences, she said the other university, that other guy in Stillwater has the best vet program, he said, “Well, I guess you don’t get to be the best.” He did always demanded the best but he drew a line, and it didn’t matter that OU did not offer a veterinary program.

"My dad taught me everything — singing, writing songs and… most of what I know about life," Krystal Keith says toward the end.  "And I hope the graduates that are here today can learn from him, too.

New From the Taste of Country Store:

Taste of Country Store
Taste of Country Store

"He fought hard to live his dream. He had faith and believed in himself. He never gave up the fight, even when the odds were against him. He would want me to tell you to never give up on yourself. As you start your next journey in life, know that you have strong roots here at the University of Oklahoma. Work hard and be the captain of your own ship. Believe in yourself and live your dream."

13 Toby Keith Facts You Probably Never Knew

Toby Keith lived a fascinating life, but even fans who thought they knew everything about this country music hero will learn a thing or two on this list of 13 Toby Keith facts.

Gallery Credit: Billy Dukes

Toby Keith's 25 Best Songs Prove He's a Country Icon

Toby Keith reached No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart 20 times during his 30-plus year career, but some of this best songs were deep cuts.

Here are his greatest hits — the top songs from 19 studio albums and beyond.

Toby Keith died on Feb. 5, 2024 after a two-year battle with stomach cancer.

Gallery Credit: Billy Dukes

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