Woodbury University names Oscar winning actress and activist Marlee Matlin as commencement speaker

Academy Award winning actress and activist Marlee Matlin will deliver the keynote address to the Woodbury University Class of 2014 during commencement ceremonies scheduled for May 10, 2014, the university announced today.

At age 21, Matlin became the youngest actress to earn the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in “Children of A Lesser God” and one of only four actresses to receive the honor for her very first film. Matlin, who lost her hearing at 18 months, also was honored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association with the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama. Since then, she has appeared in more than 30 films and television series (including “The West Wing”), earned two Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress and four Emmy nominations, appeared in television’s “Dancing With the Stars,” was a finalist on “Celebrity Apprentice,” and established herself as a best-selling author and highly regarded community activist.

“We are truly honored to welcome Marlee Matlin as our 2014 Woodbury University Commencement speaker,” said Woodbury University President Luis Maria R. Calingo, Ph.D. “In addition to being a talented actress with a fascinating story to tell, her commitment to activism and community service resonates with the values our faculty and students hold dear.”

Some 400 Woodbury University graduate and undergraduate students are expected to receive diplomas during commencement ceremonies on May 10.

As an activist, Matlin has played many roles. She serves as a National Celebrity Spokesperson for the American Red Cross, was instrumental in getting legislation passed to ensure the implementation of closed captioning technology for television and for television content broadcast over the Internet, and serves on a number of boards, including the American Red Cross, Children Affected by AIDS Foundation, Easter Seals and a variety of organizations that support children.

Matlin, her husband, law enforcement officer and Woodbury University graduate Kevin Grandalski, and their four children live in the greater Los Angeles area.