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Lord of the Rings star Viggo Mortensen received an honorary doctor of arts degree and gave the commencement speech at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York on Sunday.
Speaking to the St. Lawrence graduates, Mortensen said that “activism is not a dirty word” and urged them to be active citizens, particularly to make changes in the country’s health-care system.
He said, “Much has changed in this country and the world since 1980,” he said, “but the value of active citizenship is greater than ever. Making an earnest attempt to connect with people and issues outside of one’s own limited personal circle will always be worthwhile. My liberal arts education at St. Lawrence taught me as much, and for that I am grateful.”
Mortensen urged those gathered to become active in changing what he sees as an inadequate and inequitable health-care system. He stated, “Among the most revered of teachings in any religion or spiritual code of ethics, including those attributed to Jesus Christ, is the admonition to care for the least fortunate among us. This lesson seems to have gone unheeded by many in the health care and insurance business.”
Another Lord of the Rings alumnus, Sean Bean, has been awarded an honorary doctorate in Arts by his hometown University of Sheffield, despite having left school at the age of 16.
A friend of Bean’s said: “This will mean a lot to Sean, as Sheffield is very dear to his heart.
“Despite his rough-and-ready image he’s secretly quite an arty person, who is keen on self-improvement and reads the likes of Oscar Wilde.”
Sean played the heroic Boromir in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.