De Niro talks to Bates grads, gets honorary degree

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(AP) – Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro received an honorary doctorate of fine arts during the 146th commencement at Bates College.

During a 15-minute address Sunday that was by turns sincere and irreverent, De Niro drew a steady stream of laughter from the 463 graduating seniors and more than 5,000 guests who gathered at the Lewiston campus.

De Niro, who left high school when he was a teenager to pursue an acting career, was one of three high-profile guests who received honorary degrees at Bates’ commencement. PBS “Newshour” senior correspondent Gwen Ifill and Princeton University molecular biologist Bonnie Bassler also were honored.

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