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February 2019

Martin Sheen To Deliver 2019 Santa Clara University Commencement Address

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Feb. 27, 2019 — Acclaimed actor and activist Martin Sheen has been tapped to give Santa Clara University’s 168th undergraduate commencement address at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, June 15, at SCU’s Buck Shaw Stadium.

Sheen,  affectionately known as ‘The President,’ is best known for playing President Josiah Bartlett on the television show The West Wing (1999–2006), for which he won a Golden Globe and two Screen Actors Guild awards. The actor also won an Emmy for guest starring in the sitcom Murphy Brown.

Sheen’s portrayal of Capt. Willard in the movie Apocalypse Now earned him a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor. He has had a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame since 1989.

“Martin Sheen embodies our Catholic, Jesuit mission to serve the world,” said Santa Clara University President Michael E. Engh, S.J.  “His life-long work and passionate commitment to faith and justice reflect well the values of Santa Clara University.” 

A separate commencement ceremony for students receiving advanced degrees from the College of Arts and SciencesGraduate Program in Pastoral Ministries; the School of Engineering; the Leavey School of Business, and the School of Education and Counseling Psychology will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 14 at Buck Shaw Stadium.

Lee Shulman,  professor emeritus at Stanford Graduate School of Education, past president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, past president of the American Educational Research Association,will address the graduates.

Professor Shulman has spent his entire distinguished career advocating for the importance of teaching at all levels, from kindergarten through graduate school,” said Engh. “We welcome the opportunity to hear his perspective  and vision.” 

Honorary Degrees

At the undergraduate commencement, the University will confer honorary degrees to Barry and Molly Swenson for their philanthropic work with various Silicon Valley organizations, as well as Fr. Gerald Wade, S.J. for his work as a dedicated member of the Society of Jesus and decades of service at Bellarmine College Prep.

Santa Clara will also honor Trustee and alumnus Jon Aboitiz ’70 with a posthumous honorary degree. Aboitiz, who died recently,  was chair of the Philippines-based Aboitiz Equity Ventures, one of that country’s largest conglomerates and a long-time Bronco supporter.

Additional information for Martin Sheen

The son of immigrant parents, Sheen was born in Dayton, Ohio, to an Irish mother and a Spanish father, and was baptized Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estevez. He discovered his love of acting while in high school there, then left for New York City to pursue that career full time. Over the decades, Sheen has played a range of characters, from politicians to military leaders. Other notable films in Sheen's career include Gettysburg (1993), The Departed (2006), and The Amazing Spider-Man (2012).

He is the father of three sons: Emilio, Ramón, and Carlos (aka Charlie Sheen), and a daughter Renée, all of whom are actors, as is Sheen’s younger brother Joe Estevez. Known for his social and political activism, Sheen has campaigned on behalf of workers’ rights, and against nuclear weapons, among many other causes. He has been an advocate of justice initiatives and Jesuit apostolic works, including Homeboy Industries, a non-profit organization that provides training and support to former gang members.

Additional information for Lee Shulman

Lee Shulman was born and raised in Chicago, the only son of Jewish immigrants. Educated at a yeshiva high school, Shulman won a scholarship to the University of Chicago, where he studied philosophy and psychology.

In 1982, Shulman moved to Stanford University’s School of Education, where he became the Charles E. Ducommun Professor Education.In 1996, he was named the 8th president of The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching It was in his early years at Stanford that he engaged in in the research that yielded his conception of “pedagogical content knowledge,” the idea that launched a new stage of research in teaching and teacher education.

He is best known for his work on the knowledge base of teaching, including the construct of pedagogical content knowledge, for his efforts to promote the scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education, and for his studies of professional education.

About Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, theology, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see

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