Martin Sheen speaks at La Roche College graduation

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Actor Martin Sheen today praised La Roche College as a place "building better children for our world."

Mr. Sheen was on the college campus in McCandless to receive an honorary doctorate as part of graduation ceremonies for 302 students. Mr. Sheen, probably best known for his role as President Josiah Bartlet in the TV series "The West Wing," was being honored for his efforts as a peace and social justice advocate, according to school officials.

This year marks the Catholic college's 50th anniversary. Mr. Sheen was chosen as commencement speaker because the causes he supports reflect the college's mission, Sister Candace Introcaso said at a press conference before the graduation ceremony. She is president of La Roche.

The college's mission calls for "educating future leaders who work for mercy, compassion, generosity and justice," Sister Candace said.

The traditional message given to people is that "we should be about the business of building a better world for our children," Mr. Sheen said at the press conference. La Roche faculty members turn that message around. They send the young people they educate out into the world to "be a light and an inspiration, changing the world one student at a time," he said.

Mr. Sheen is the third "distinguished visitor" invited to La Roche as part of its golden anniversary celebration.

Former Sen. George Mitchell, D-Maine, received the college's first "Peace Medal" on April 5. He also was the keynote speaker at the La Roche Global Problems-Global Solutions Conference.

After leaving the U.S. Senate, Mr. Mitchell headed up U.S. efforts to negotiate peace in Northern Ireland and in the Middle East.

New York Times foreign affairs columnist Nicholas Kristof gave a campus lecture on April 9. His topic was a "A Call to Action: Encouraging Young People to Join the 'World's Fight' and Take on a Cause Larger than Themselves."

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Len Barcouksy: First Published May 4, 2013 4:00 PM


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