Sunday, December 10, 2023

Glenn Close returns to William & Mary for 2019 commencement

Seven-time Oscar nominated actress and William & Mary alumna will speak at the college's 2019 commencement ceremony. (WYDaily/Courtesy Brigitte Lacombe)
Seven-time Oscar nominated actress and William & Mary alumna will speak at the college’s 2019 commencement ceremony. (WYDaily/Courtesy Brigitte Lacombe)

William & Mary has a number of notable alumnae and this year one of their former students famous on the big screen will be inspiring others at commencement.

William & Mary officials announced in a news release Tuesday that actress Glenn Close would be giving the 2019 commencement speech.

Close graduated from the college in 1974 and received an honorary degree in 1989. The seven-time academy award nominated actress is well-known for roles in films like “Fatal Attraction” and most recently for her role in the film “The Wife,” for which she was a nominated for an Oscar.

Close has been involved with William & Mary since her days as a theater and anthropology student. In 2013, Close received the Cheek Medal from the college for her contributions to the arts and she also participated in the second annual Arts and Entertainment Festival.

Close has also touched the Muscarelle Museum of Art, loaning a number of costumes from her iconic roles for an exhibition.

Most recently, in 2018 Close narrated a short film which premiered during William & Mary’s first Women’s Weekend. The weekend was in conjunction with the 100 years of coeducation commemoration and the film, “Her Story,” was one in a series of videos about women at the university.

Close is just one of four women to be featured during the ceremony.

In addition, the college will welcome philanthropist Jane Batton, Denyce Graves, a world-renowned opera singer and Sybil Shainwald. The three women will receive honorary degrees at the ceremony.

“It is our great pleasure to welcome these four accomplished women to William & Mary for Commencement,” said Katherine A. Rowe, William & Mary president. “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.”

Robert M. Gates, chancellor at William & Mary, will speak at the event along with Rowe.

The 2019 commencement ceremony will also serve as the finale to the yearlong commemoration of 100 years of coeducation at the college.

The ceremony is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on May 11 in Zable Stadium.

Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at

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