May 29, 2012- Actor Robert De Niro received an honorary doctorate degree from Bates College in Fine Arts. The college, located in Lewiston, Maine, is one of the country’s most prestigious liberal arts schools.
The actor, during his address to graduates, joked a number of times with the 463 students. He said, “With much respect to Bonnie Bassler and Gwen Ifill, I think the following is the best advice you will receive today: become a star in Hollywood.” He made the reference to Bassler, a molecular biologist and Ifill, a journalist who were both also receiving honorary doctorates from the school.
He described to the students how his life was nothing until he became a movie start and even though they might one day be tempted to help change the world, they will find a way to resist the temptation.
However, he did become serious and his key message to the students was to maintain an open mind and welcome new ideas and new experiences. Do not hesitate to try new things and never be afraid to one day fail.
He congratulated the students and told them only greatness lies ahead for them. He concluded by saying, “If you do not go, you will never know.”