Nick Offerman Will Be University of Illinois Commencement Speaker For 2017 [VIDEO]By Anne Collins, UniversityHerald Reporter
On Tuesday, University of Illinois announced that actor Nick Offerman will deliver the college's commencement address for 2017. For weeks of building excitement and a month of speculation, the university's highly anticipated announcement was made in a video posted to its Facebook and Twitter pages.
The video post featured Offerman, a University of Illinois alumnus, addressing students directly. The actor, author and woodworker, graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in theatre from the university in 1993. In the video he mentioned about speaking at the commencement this year 2017 and thanked the University for having him.
The U.S. News reported Offerman is best known for his role as Ron Swanson on "Parks and Recreation." He has visited the school several times in the recent years. He was recently on campus on April 1 for the "Whiskey, Wood & Barbecue" fundraising event that included a raffle of items from his Offerman Woodshop.
In 2013, Offerman brought his "American Ham Tour" to the university to benefit the Japan House in honor of his mentor, Professor Shozo Sato. Offerman traveled with Sato to Japan as part of Sato's Kabuki troupe.
Chancellor Robert Jones said Offerman's success as an actor and having a lifelong mentor during his stay in the Illinois theatre group serves as an example of the power of a U. of I. education that can help shape the lives of students and help them find their place in the world. He added that Offerman, a native of Minooka, Illinois, has maintained close ties with the school and has done it all with a sense of humor, which makes them proud to have him as speaker.
There were speculations that President Barack Obama would be the commencement speaker after the university officially invited him in March. Many on social media expressed excitement over Offerman's video appearance on Tuesday. There were hundreds of responses from students and alumni looking forward to the event.
NBC Chicago reported, the University of Illinois will hold the commencement on Saturday, May 13, and the ceremony will be streamed live from the Memorial Stadium.