Denzel Washington chosen as University of Pennsylvania commencement speaker

    The University of Pennsylvania has announced its 2011 commencement speaker: Denzel Washington. Washington was reportedly the school’s first choice as speaker, and we imagine saying no would have been difficult, since his son is a sophomore there.

    Though he acknowledged to the Daily Pennsylvanian that name recognition does play a role in the selection, Maher Zamel, doctoral candidate in the Graduate School of Education and chairman of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, told the paper he worries about choosing an actor instead of a politician, diplomat or CEO, as is more common at Penn.

    The university is banking on Washington’s roles in films like Malcolm X and his support of the Boys and Girls Club of America to provide a little relevance.

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