Award winning actor Matt Damon — a Cambridge native who shot to prominence with his portrayal of a mathematically gifted MIT janitor in the 1997 film “Good Will Hunting” — will be the guest speaker at MIT's 2016 commencement exercises, the university announced Monday.
Damon won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for co-writing the screenplay of “Good Will Hunting” with Ben Affleck. He has since portrayed an astronaut stranded on Mars in this fall’s critically acclaimed hit “The Martian,” a World War II soldier trapped in France in “Saving Private Ryan” (1998), and a deranged liar in the 1999 psychological thriller “The Talented Mr. Ripley.”
“I am humbled and thrilled by this invitation,” Damon said in a statement released by the university. “I feel a deep affinity for MIT having grown up in the neighborhood. It’s quite an honor to be the commencement speaker at a school that I couldn't have gotten into.”
Damon is a 1988 alumnus of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. He attended Harvard University, where he performed in student theater and in a variety of minor professional roles. Damon left Harvard in 1992, one semester short of receiving his bachelor’s degree in English, to pursue opportunities in acting.
MIT’s 2016 Commencement exercises will take place on Friday, June 3, 2016 at 10 a.m. in Killian Court, located off Memorial Drive.
IT President L. Rafael Reif will deliver the traditional charge to graduates.
“I am thrilled that Mr. Damon will be with us at Commencement,” MIT President L. Rafael Reif said. “Through his art, this son of Cambridge has made us think about our world in new ways, and through his service, he has made it a better place.”
The entire graduation ceremony will be webcast live at www.mit.edu.