De Niro talks to Bates grads, gets honorary degree

2:31 PM, May 27, 2012   |    comments
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LEWISTON, Maine (AP) - Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro received an honorary doctorate of fine arts during the 146th commencement at Bates College.

During a 15-minute address Sunday that was by turns sincere and irreverent, De Niro drew a steady stream of laughter from the 463 graduating seniors and more than 5,000 guests who gathered at the Lewiston campus.

De Niro, who left high school when he was a teenager to pursue an acting career, was one of three high-profile guests who received honorary degrees at Bates' commencement. PBS "Newshour" senior correspondent Gwen Ifill and Princeton University molecular biologist Bonnie Bassler also were honored.

De Niro won a best actor Academy Award for "Raging Bull" and best supporting actor Oscar for "The Godfather, Part II." He earned four more Oscar nominations.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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