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Actor and Alumna Kerry Washington to Deliver Commencement Address at the George Washington University, May 19

March 18, 2013

MEDIA CONTACTS: Michelle Sherrard
202-994-1423; [email protected]
202-994-6466; [email protected]

WASHINGTON—Kerry Washington, B.A. ’98, will address graduates of the George Washington University at its commencement on the National Mall, Sunday, May 19, 2013. Ms. Washington graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from George Washington and formerly served as a member of the GW Board of Trustees. She will receive an honorary degree and deliver remarks to an estimated 25,000 graduates and guests. 

“I am delighted that Ms. Washington has agreed to give the Commencement Address,” said George Washington President Steven Knapp, noting that she is emblematic of GW’s commitment to the arts. “She has captured the imagination of our students, and they will benefit greatly, as they head out into the world, from hearing her perspective both as an alumna and as a highly successful actor on stage, in film and on television.”

In 2004, Ms. Washington earned the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture for her performance in “Ray.” She also received NAACP Image Award nominations for her performances in the 2006 film “The Last King of Scotland” and the 2010 film “Night Catches Us.” Her performance in the 2008 film “Lakeview Terrace” earned her a Best Actress nomination at the BET Awards.

Ms. Washington can currently be seen in Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained.” The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture and a Golden Globe for Best Picture.

In 2012, Ms. Washington broke barriers by becoming the first African American woman to a headline a network TV show since the 1974 short-lived series “Get Christie Love.” The ABC drama “Scandal” continues to receive high acclaim from both critics and fans. The show is currently in its second season. Ms. Washington won a NAACP Image Award for her portrayal of Olivia Pope in 2013. The show won a 2013 NAACP Image Award as well.

An activist, Ms. Washington was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. She also is an active member of the V-Counsel, an esteemed group of advisors to V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls.

Previous GW Commencement speakers include Brian Williams, “NBC Nightly News” anchor; New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; First Lady Michelle Obama; Rahm Emanuel, former chief of staff to President Barack Obama; former President George H.W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush; and then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In the heart of the nation's capital with additional programs in Virginia, the George Washington University was created by an Act of Congress in 1821. Today, GW is the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia. The university offers comprehensive programs of undergraduate and graduate liberal arts study, as well as degree programs in medicine, public health, law, engineering, education, business and international affairs. Each year, GW enrolls a diverse population of undergraduate, graduate and professional students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and more than 130 countries.