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Willem Dafoe encourages UWM grads to “serve others” & “make every step a pleasure” in commencement address

Actor attended UWM in the 1970s
UWM Chancellor Mark Mone welcomes actor Willem Dafoe to the stage at the university's 2022...
UWM Chancellor Mark Mone welcomes actor Willem Dafoe to the stage at the university's 2022 commencement ceremony.(UW-Milwaukee)
Published: May. 22, 2022 at 8:37 PM CDT|Updated: May. 24, 2022 at 4:10 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -Actor and Appleton, Wisconsin native Willem Dafoe encouraged graduates at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Sunday to, “Be at peace with yourself, find what you love, and practice it anyway you can”, according to a tweet from the university.

Dafoe attended UWM in 1973 and 1974 before leaving the school to join an experimental theater company. He went on to star in Platoon and Spider-Man movies, among many other films in a long and successful career. Dafoe’s been nominated for four Academy Awards, and has received nominations for Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe Awards.

According to UWM, Dafoe also told graduates Sunday to, “Serve others, make every step a pleasure, and trust it will take you where you need to be.” He added, “Serving something outside yourself is the key to freedom. I feel myself most creative when I go towards someone else’s vision -- usually the director. Instead I try and understand, realize, and inhabit it.”

UWM awarded more than 3,500 degrees to graduates Sunday, and awarded Dafoe an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree.

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