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Actor Matthew Modine to Speak at Commencement

Release date: May 23, 2008

Matthew Modine—director, screenwriter, and the veteran of more than 50 films—will deliver the keynote address at Goucher College’s 117th Commencement on Friday, May 23, 2008.

President Sanford J. Ungar will preside over the ceremony, which will begin at 10:30 a.m. on the lawn behind Mary Fisher Hall. In the event of rain, the event will be held in the college’s Sports and Recreation Center. Honorary degrees also will be awarded to Delegate Adrienne A. Jones, Speaker Pro Tem - Maryland House of Delegates, and the Reverend Doctor Masanobu Fukamachi, chancellor of Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, Japan.

Probably best known for his role as Private Joker, the main character in Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 war movie, Full Metal Jacket, Modine has earned a reputation as an engaging and versatile actor since making his big-screen debut 25 years ago.

He began his acting career at age 23 with a role in John Sayles' Baby It’s You. Modine’s performance impressed director Harold Becker, who cast him in Vision Quest, a coming-of-age movie that has become an ’80s cult classic.

Modine achieved international stardom with his role as a Vietnam War recruit in director Robert Altman’s 1983 film Streamers. Modine and his fellow castmates shared the Best Actor prize from the Venice Film Festival for this tragic story of young American soldiers about to be shipped to Vietnam. He won further acclaim for his role as another Vietnam soldier, the severely withdrawn, schizophrenic title character of Alan Parker's Birdy, which received the Grand Prize of the Jury at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival.  

Other cinematic highlights of Modine’s career include his roles in Alan J. Pakula’s Orphans (1987), Jonathan Demme’s Married to the Mob (1988), John Schlesinger’s Pacific Heights (1990), Robert Altman’s Short Cuts (1993), Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday (1999), and James Ivory’s Le Divorce (2003).

The three short films he directed, When I Was a Boy, Smoking, and Ecce Pirate, all debuted at the Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim. They have gone on to play in major film festivals worldwide.

Modine’s television credits include roles as a brooding Eugene O’Neill in the PBS broadcast of Journey Into Genius (1988), a caring medical researcher in the HBO AIDS drama And the Band Played On (1993), and as the title role of the Peter Hall-directed Biblical miniseries, Jacob (1994). He also appeared in the surprise ratings-winner What the Deaf Man Heard (1997) and in a 2000 television adaptation of the classic Daniel Keyes novel Flowers for Algernon.

More recently, Modine has been a regular on the Showtime comedy Weeds as a real estate developer who is juggling romantic dalliances with two other characters. Last year he joined Robert Altman in a stage production of Arthur Miller’s final play, Resurrection Blues.

Modine has also recently completed work on several feature films, including Abel Ferrara’s Mary, a Venice Film Festival Award winner; Opa, a Toronto Film Festival official selection; and Kettle of Fish, a Tribeca Film Festival official selection.


Click here to view or listen to the keynote address.