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Martin Sheen to be commencement speaker at La Roche College

| Thursday, March 21, 2013, 4:48 p.m.
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Martin Sheen will give the commencement speech at La Roche College in May.

Award-winning actor and social activist Martin Sheen will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters and deliver the commencement address at La Roche College's graduation May 4, college officials announced last week.

College officials invited Sheen as part of the college's 50th-anniversary celebration. The college in McCandless was founded in 1963 by the Sisters of Divine Providence.

Sister Candace Introcaso, college president, said in a news release that Sheen is dedicated to causes that mirror the mission of La Roche — “educating future leaders who work for mercy, compassion, generosity and justice.”

For decades, Sheen has been an activist for peace and social-justice issues such as the alleviation of poverty and homelessness, the fair treatment of immigrants, the eradication of nuclear weapons and the end of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. In 1982, he donated his salary for his work in the film “Gandhi” to various charities, college officials said.

Sheen played President Josiah “Ted” Bartlet in the TV series “The West Wing” and has appeared in more than 100 movies.

Born Ramón Estevez to immigrant parents in Dayton, Ohio, he chose his stage last name, Sheen, in honor of the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, a charismatic pioneer in television evangelism.

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