Robert De Niro, Gwen Ifill, Bonnie Bassler to speak at Bates commencement

LEWISTON — Actor Robert De Niro, PBS “Newshour” senior correspondent Gwen Ifill and molecular biologist Bonnie Bassler will speak and receive honorary degrees during Bates College’s 2012 commencement.

Brigitte Lacombe/Courtesy Bates College

Robert De Niro.

Courtesy Bates College

Bonnie Bassler of Princeton University.

Brooks Kraft/Courtesy Bates College

PBS Anchor Gwen Ifill on the set of Washington Week at WETA studios in Arlington, VA.

The college estimates that 478 seniors will graduate at the May 27 ceremony.

Robert De Niro is a well-known actor, having won Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor for "The Godfather, Part II" and Best Actor in "Raging Bull." He earned four more Oscar nominations for his work in "Taxi Driver," "The Deer Hunter, "Awakenings" and "Cape Fear."

Gwen Ifill is the senior correspondent for PBS "Newshour," and moderator and managing editor for "Washington Week." She  has been on both programs since 1999.

Bonnie Bassler is a molecular biologist who pioneered in "quorum sensing" research: how bacteria communicate with each other to orchestrate group tasks. She has been a professor of molecular biology at Princeton University since 1994, and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

The Sunday commencement will be broadcast online at

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Richard Begin's picture

OK Miss Bryant

Missy Bryant I have read your latest Entry.
Does it really matter what you think?

Much more does it really matter if I from time to make to occaisional Spelling and Grammar mistakes? It certainly does not matter to the countless folks who go to My Forum Daily.I Stand by what I said.

Also if I had the opportunity to meet you at a Bates event even not having been Properly introduced to you I would certainly know you by your emmotions you wear on your Person.

Richard Begin's picture

Notable Actors converge at Bates Attendees Beware

Miss Bryant
How Nice of you to offer such good advice. Yes Miss I have actually spent some time on the Campus. In Fact of of my best Friends is a graduate of the Class of 1988. Rob Meyers.

Rob is a successful Musician who trales and performs World wide at many Festivals incluching Cochilla and lollaplooza.

I have also from time to time visit with friends who are currently Teaching in different Fields.

So Miss Bryant it is not as though I am a Bumpkin who has a different vision of the World than you do.

Yes Miss bryant I do see things differently than you .However that said I also attended the Commencement Address from David Mccollugh and it was worthn attending. Now as far Desmond Tutu, well Miss Bryant he was not high on my List to hear speak. One wonders if the former Arch Bishop ever has a Soap Box tall enough for his message.

I would have to say Miss bryant that desmund Tutu never moved me much. Is that Ok with you?

Good for you that you also Graduated from bates also I seriously doubt that Robert the Actor will have anything profound or innovative to say or that what he would utter would impact me or my Ilk.

Now For Tony Morin

I must imagine that youre remark about a Short Lived expierence was a refference to the current lepage Administration and those who were legally and Dully elected.

Tony I can only imagine where you are coming from and if being a profiler were a trade that I was proficient in. I'd bet Dollars to Doughnuts that I could figure you out.

Your remark about Bob the Actor says it all 'Sweet' yeah Right Tony. I think I've figured you out.

But thanks to both Tony and Miss bryant for showing me a better way, but I'll decline and say thanks but no thanks I'm doing Jest Fine


 's picture


Mr. Begin,

I wasnt implying that "Wow, I graduated from Bates, look at me". Your implications in this statement perpetuate the misconceptions that many in Lewiston have about Bates. You are the conductor of the misconception train and simultaneously shoveling coal in the engine.

I am glad that you have a friend who is also a Batesie. Honestly, I could care less is he is famous and performs worldwide. You do not have to be famous to make an impact. I am glad for your friend, but be aware that many Bates grads do fly under the radar and dont feel the need to plaster their successes on the nightly news.

I never implied you were a "Bumpkin". Once again, you are allowing your preformed stereotypes to guide your judgement. Heck, what is a "Bumpkin" anyway??? Please explain to me what your "Ilk" is. You clearly identify with this group you call the "Ilk". Dont make me assume what your Ilk is. Tell me, I am interested. Does Bumpkin=Your Ilk???

It is ok that you see things differently from me. The world is a better place for it. It is YOUR assumption that Bates students are all stuck in this "alternate reality" provides proof of your inability to suspend your disbelief and understand the perspective of others.

I could care less if Desmond Tutu moved you, or if a good cup of coffee gets you "moving" every morning. If you need my validation, I would be more concerned about your health and not the variety of speakers Bates has to offer.

I was not offering you "A Better Way", but merely an alternative way of thinking. You are most welcome to decline. It can never be a debate (or intellegent discourse) if one is unwilling to listen (and consider) the other.

If anything, I find the incorrect spelling, random grammar, and scattered capital letters rather entertaining. (and that is not because, like, I am a Bates grad and took, like, 10 million english classes and like, think you are an idiot....rather, the capitalization and grammar break up the monotony of your rants)

Peace out.

 's picture

This was funny. I must Say I

This was funny. I must Say I enjoy your Random use of Capital letters. and Punctuation.

PHILIP LAINE's picture

You Talking To Me?

You Talking To Me?

 's picture


Mr. Begin, It is truly unfortunate that you cannot stretch your "disbelief" and realize that the aformentioned speakers do have substance and might just have something powerful to say.

I will also take this opportunity to heartily disagree with your statement that, "That's okay why not attend an event where someone who believes what they believe in spite of the Reality that their thinking is decidely out of Step with Most Mainers". My statement stems from the fact that I was born and raised in Maine, graduated from Bates, and met amazing people (from all over the country) that share the same values that I (and many fellow Mainers) share.

Have you stepped on campus and ever talked to students (and I mean have a discussion, more than a 10 second exchange) to test your theory that Bates' thinking is outside reality? Substantiate your statement with evidence. I challenge you to do so if you have not already taken the opportunity. I think you may be pleasantly surprised.

As an example, Desmond Tutu spoke at the Bates Commencement in 2000, and David McCullough spoke in 2006 Does this change your opinion of the "altered reality" that the Bates community "embraces"?

Please do not judge an entire student body based on assumption or hearsay.

Congrats to the class of 2012!

Richard Begin's picture

Robert & Gwen and who ever

Gee I don't think I'll be attending this Moonbat Love Fest. But rest assure Senator Peggy Rotundo and Ms Craven and all those who flock together like Birds of a Feather will be there in all of their Finerary.

That's okay why not attend an event where someone who believes what they believe in spite of the Reality that their thinking is decidely out of Step with Most Mainers. But I'm looking forward to hearing Tony Blair At Colby.

I'm looking for Substance instead of Here say. Can I get a Witness ?

 's picture

Uh, Maine's a blue state Richard

Sure there's a short lived experiment going on currently, but it will be over soon. Deniro in Lewiston! Sweet!


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