Actress Glenn Close will speak at W&M Commencement

Staff writer

Award-winning actress and College of William and Mary alumna Glenn Close will speak at the university’s 2019 Commencement ceremony in May.

Close, a 1974 graduate of the college, also received an honorary degree in 1989. A theater and anthropology major, she went on to win three Tony Awards, three Emmy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards and two SAG Awards.

“Glenn Close is a remarkable person in so many ways,” Associate Director of University News Erin Zagursky said in an email. “We hope that she shares some of the lessons she has learned from her extraordinary life and inspires her fellow William and Mary alumni as they begin the next chapter of their lives.”

At the Commencement, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. May 11 in Zable Stadium, Close will be awarded an honorary fellowship, the highest honor a college of Royal Charter can give. She will be the third person to ever receive this honor; Charles, Prince of Wales, was the first and Princess Margaret of the Netherlands was the second.

“With Close being one of the university’s most notable alumni and someone who has made a lasting impact not only on the arts but in her chosen areas of activism, it seemed fitting to present her with the honor,” Zagursky said.

Close has remained connected with the university throughout the years, Zagursky said. She most recently narrated a short video about the university’s alumnae for William and Mary’s first Women’s Weekend.

The Commencement will also mark the first where William and Mary President Katherine A Rowe presides. The women will speak alongside William and Mary Chancellor Robert M. Gates.

In addition to celebrating this year’s graduates, the Commencement ceremony will serve as the culmination of the school’s yearlong commemoration of 100 years of coeducation, when 24 women were first admitted as undergraduates.

Philanthropist Jane Batten HON ’17, opera singer Denyce Graves and women’s rights attorney Sybil Shainwald ’48 will receive honorary degrees at the ceremony.

“It is our great pleasure to welcome these four accomplished women to William and Mary for Commencement,” said Rowe in a William and Mary news release. “And especially fitting to mark our 100th anniversary of coeducation with the rare distinction of an honorary fellowship. This quartet has made their marks in the arts, philanthropy, law and women’s health; they exemplify the creative, pioneering spirit we have been celebrating throughout the year. I very much look forward to sharing the day with them.”

Martin can be reached at (757)-243-3685, by email at sararose.martin@vagazette.com or on Twitter at @SaraRoseMartin.

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