Published: April 8, 2013

Hometown Hollywood star, best-selling author return for commencement

Contact(s): Kristen Parker Media Communications office: (517) 353-8942 cell: (517) 980-0709

Emmy Award-winning actor Tim Busfield and best-selling author Richard Ford will speak at Michigan State University’s spring commencement May 3.

Busfield will address undergraduates at the 1 p.m. convocation, which will be held at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center, One Birch Road. He will receive an honorary doctorate of humanities. Also at that ceremony, international researcher Brian Harvey, professor at Ireland’s Royal College of Surgeons, will receive an honorary doctorate of science.

“We’re an institution that treasures the arts and culture, so it’s exciting to know they’ll take center stage at this year’s commencement ceremonies,” MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said. “Tim Busfield and Richard Ford have made some memorable contributions to the arts, and I’m sure their passion and dedication will inspire our graduates – who are stepping out now onto their own life stage.”

Later that day, Ford will address advanced degree candidates at 3:30 p.m., also at the Breslin Center. He will receive an honorary doctorate of fine arts.

Tickets are not required for either of the free public events. Twitter users may follow both ceremonies using #msugrad13.

For information about construction, commencement shuttle bus service and parking, visit the commencement website.

Bios of the speakers and Harvey are below.

East Lansing native Busfield is an Emmy Award-winning actor with strong ties to MSU: His father taught theater at the university and his mother was director of MSU Press.

After graduating from East Lansing High School, Busfield launched his acting career in theater, working with Academy Award winners Chris Cooper and Kathy Bates. To date, he has appeared in more than 70 plays.

On the screen, Busfield is best known for his role as Elliot Weston on the television series, “Thirtysomething,” and his recurring role as Danny Concannon in the series “The West Wing.” Busfield has starred in 20 films, including blockbuster hits, “Field of Dreams” and “Revenge of the Nerds.” He’s earned more than 425 acting credits and has appeared as a regular or recurring character in 13 shows.

Wanting to share his love of theater for all, Busfield founded The Fantasy Theatre in California in 1986, which has hosted performances for more than 3 million children. And in 1992, he co-founded B Street Theatre in Sacramento, Calif., with his brother, Buck Busfield.

Richard Ford is an MSU alumnus, graduating from the university with a bachelor’s degree in English in 1966. He was born in Jackson, Miss., in 1944 and later married Kristina Ford, an urban planner and an MSU alumna.

Ford is the author of 10 works of fiction, among them “The Sportswriter,” “Independence Day” and most recently, New York Times’ 2012 best-seller, “Canada.” Ford has also written several stories and essays that have been published in The New Yorker and The New York Times.

A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Ford has earned a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. He’s also the Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University in New York City, where Kristina Ford also teaches.

Harvey is a renowned scholar, scientist and international research leader.

As professor and chairperson of the Department of Molecular Medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, he specializes in molecular endocrinology applied to cancer and inflammatory disease.

Harvey established Ireland’s Molecular Medicine Research Centre at Beaumont Hospital and has been instrumental in promoting medical research in Ireland, coordinating research programs that have netted more than $500 million in funding.

In 2006, Harvey was awarded a knighthood of the French Order of Merit by the president of France for his role in developing Ireland-France scientific exchanges. He’s a member of the European Academy of Science and Humanities, the Royal Irish Academy and a founding fellow of the Irish Academy of Medical Sciences.

Harvey also is director of research for the Daughters of Charity – Technology, Research into Disability, which aims to use technology to improve the quality of life for those with disabilities.

Make an impact in your community. Sign up to serve. #MSUDAYOFSERVICE
Our Commitment: Healing Assistant Fund - National organizations selected to oversee fund for counseling and services