Forest Whitaker set to deliver Miami University spring commencement speech

OXFORD, Ohio – Miami University announced Academy Award winning actor Forest Whitaker is scheduled to deliver the school’s spring commencement speech.

The graduation ceremony is set to take place at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, May 17 at Yager Stadium.

Whitaker won an Oscar and Golden Globe for his portrayal of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the 2006 film, “The Last King of Scotland.”  He most recently received critical acclaim for playing Cecil Gaines in the 2013 film, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.”

Whitaker received the NAACP’s Chairman’s Award for his acting career and work as an advocate for peace. He also won an Image Award from that organization for his role in “The Butler.”

Washington Post writer Wil Haygood, who graduated from Miami in 1976, wrote the column the film was based on. Haygood delivered the spring 2013 commencement speech.

"As an actor and a humanitarian, Forest Whitaker reflects the energy and the values that define Miami.  We are excited to have him share his experience and vision with our graduating class," Miami President David Hodge said. "It is especially fitting to have him as our commencement speaker in Miami's year of Celebrating Freedom with the focus on the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer, an important moment in the struggle for civil rights as highlighted in the movie 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' and an anniversary significant to Oxford history."

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