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Actor Patrick Wilson to speak at commencement

The speakers for the 2012 commencement were officially announced on Friday. The 2012 keynote speaker is Patrick Wilson. The student speaker is recently-graduated creative writing major Caroline Kessler. Wilson, who graduated from Carnegie Mellon with a degree in acting in 1995, has played roles in movies such as The Phantom of the Opera, Watchmen, and Young Adult. He currently stars in CBS’s A Gifted Man. Wilson was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award for his role in the 2003 miniseries Angels in America. He is also a university trustee. His wife, Dagmara Dominczyk (’98), is also a Carnegie Mellon School of Drama alum.

“I’m delighted to meet and speak with the very distinguished and accomplished class of 2012,” Wilson said in a university press release. “Who knows, the paths ahead might lead any one of this year’s graduates back to CMU to serve as the keynote speaker at commencement someday.”

Reaction to the commencement speaker has been generally positive. “I saw him in Insidious, where he plays a father who saves his son from being eaten in another dimension,” said senior Bachelor of Computer Science and Art student Tim Sherman. “It’s kind of silly, but I’m kind of excited to see him speak based on that.”

Kessler graduated in December. She said that she will be speaking about the unique community that Carnegie Mellon provides. “I’ll be talking about sort of how atypical Carnegie Mellon graduates are, and how we really attack the world’s problems in an interesting way,” Kessler said. “It’s a weird place, but I think a place that many people call home after their time there.”

Kessler is looking forward to the ceremony. “It’ll be really nice to be back for commencement to see all my friends, and to have all the pomp and circumstance, because we don’t have a December graduation,” she said. “I’m really excited to do it. It’s a huge honor. It should be a kick.”

The university also announced this year’s honorary degrees, to be presented at commencement. Opera singer Renée Fleming will receive a Doctor of Fine Arts degree; author and activist Temple Grandin will receive a Doctor of Science and Technology degree; writer and humanitarian Ruth Gruber will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters degree; Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman will receive a Doctor of Business Practice degree; and local businessman Richard P. Simmons will receive a Doctor of Science and Technology degree.