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Contact: Millie Gonzalez

Hill Harper, award-winning actor and author to speak at Kean University’s Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony at PNC Bank Arts Center

UNION, NJ - Award-winning actor, author, mentor and activist Hill Harper will deliver the keynote address at Kean University’s Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony on Thursday, May 13 at 9:30 a.m. at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J. More than 2,400 undergraduate students will receive degrees.

Harper is perhaps best known for his role as Dr. Sheldon Hawkes in the hit CBS drama series CSI: New York. Off screen, he is equally committed to service, particularly to young men and women.

Author of two New York Times best-sellers: Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny (2006) and Letters to a Young Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny (2008), Harper provides his young readers practical advice for perseverance in the face of struggle and conveys a message of hope, education and commitment. The Conversation: How Black Men and Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships (2009) is an honest dialogue for adults about the breakdown of African-American relationships.

Harper is the founder of the Manifest Your Destiny Foundation, a nonprofit youth organization dedicated to empowering, encouraging and inspiring underserved youth to succeed through mentorship, scholarship and grant programs.

Prior to his current TV series, Harper appeared in City of Angels and The Handler and he made guest appearances in shows such as Soul Food, The Sopranos, ER, NYPD Blue and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. An accomplished film actor, he also starred in the HBO movie Lackawanna Blues, the Fox film Mama I Wanna Sing, and received critical acclaim for his performance in the independent film The Visit. Other credits include the lead in the independent film Love, Sex and Eating the Bones, as well as movies such as In Too Deep, Beloved, He Got Game and One Red Rose, which he co-wrote for Showtime. He has also appeared in several off-Broadway productions and is a member of Boston's Black Folk's Theater Company.

Believing that education is the key to unlock potential and open doors, Harper earned an undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Brown University, a Master of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government, and a J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School. He is a member of the Obama National Finance Committee, and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

Founded in 1855, Kean University has grown to become one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region. Kean University is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment, offering 50 undergraduate degrees and more than 45 options leading to a master’s degree, professional diploma and/or state certifications in an assortment of concentrations. In September 2008, Kean University began its first doctoral program offerings: the Ph.D. in school psychology, and the Ed.D. in urban educational leadership. Five undergraduate colleges and the Nathan Weiss Graduate College now serve more than 15,000 students.