April 28, 2009
Webster University to Honor CBS Star Rocky Carroll; Monsanto Chairman, President and CEO Hugh Grant; and Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Conductor David Robertson with Honorary Degrees at May 9 CommencementRocky Carroll to Deliver Commencement Address
ST. LOUIS, April 28, 2009 –CBS’ NCIS star and Webster University alumnus Rocky Carroll will deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree at Webster University’s 2009 commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. on May 9 at the Muny in Forest Park. Carroll graduated from Webster University in 1985 with a B.F.A. degree from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts.
Monsanto Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Hugh Grant and Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Conductor David Robertson also will be awarded honorary degrees at the university’s 90th commencement ceremony.
Because of the extensive renovations taking place at the Edward Jones Dome – the university’s commencement venue for the past five years – this year’s ceremony will be held at the Muny in Forest Park. Webster is the first higher education institution to hold a commencement ceremony at the Muny.
Worldwide, 7,891 Webster University students from 119 nations will graduate this year. Fifty-eight masters degrees will be awarded to students stationed overseas with the U.S military. Forty-eight states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia also are represented in this year’s graduating class.
Rocky Carroll is a regular cast member on CBS’ hit primetime program “NCIS.” His impressive list of television credits includes roles on Grey’s Anatomy, Boston Legal, Family Law, The West Wing and Law & Order. He also appeared in many Hollywood films, including Crimson Tide, Born on the Fourth of July, The Ladies Man, A Prelude to a Kiss and The Chase.
After graduating from Webster University, Carroll moved to New York City to live in the heart of the theater community. While there, he introduced many young children of color to the works of William Shakespeare by participating in Joe Papp’s “Shakespeare on Broadway” series. As part of Papp’s acclaimed New York Shakespeare Festival, Carroll helped open doors for actors of color by taking non-traditional roles that were rarely portrayed by black actors in Shakespeare’s dramas.
In 1987 Carroll was introduced to the works of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson. The talented young actor was cast in the Broadway production of Wilson's critically acclaimed story, “The Piano Lesson.” The play earned a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and Carroll earned Tony and Drama Desk nominations.
Hugh Grant’s dedication and commitment to the planet has made Monsanto a leading seed and biotechnology company that builds partnerships around the world to achieve commercial and humanitarian goals. The Monsanto chairman keeps his company focused on how to feed the world while keeping environmental issues at the forefront of the company’s mission. He will be given a Webster University Honorary Doctor of Science degree at this year’s commencement.
Grant is a member of the board of directors of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center; a director of PPG Industries, Inc.; Washington University in St. Louis. He also is a member of the President’s Advisory Group of CropLife International and of the board of commissioners for the St. Louis Science Center.
Before being named chairman, president and chief executive officer at Monsanto, Grant led Monsanto business units in Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
David Robertson, now in his fourth season as music director and conductor of the 129-year-old Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree at the commencement ceremony. Robertson also is the principal guest conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
Earlier this month, Robertson performed at Carnegie Hall with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. He recently conducted The Julliard Orchestra as part of the inaugural concert of the much-anticipated Alice Tully Hall Opening Nights Festival. Robertson also has been a guest conductor with many symphony orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and Seattle Symphony.
Robertson is highly acclaimed throughout the world for his impeccable musicianship in both orchestral and operatic realms. He has conducted the Sydney Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Edinburgh International Festival and Milan’s legendary Filarmonica della Scala. Robertson has held the positions of Music Director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris and Resident Conductor of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. He has 45 operas in his repertoire.
About Webster University
With its home campus in St. Louis, Webster University is a worldwide institution committed to delivering high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence. Founded in 1915, Webster offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs through five schools and colleges, and a global network of more than 100 campuses. Its 20,000-plus student population represents almost 150 nationalities. The University’s core values include excellence in teaching, joining theory and practice, small class sizes, and educating students to be lifelong independent learners, fully prepared to participate in an increasingly international society.
Since opening its first campus overseas in Geneva in 1978, Webster has become a recognized leader and innovator in global education, with an international presence that now includes campuses in London; Vienna; Amsterdam and Leiden, the Netherlands; Shanghai, Shenzhen and Chengdu, China; and Bangkok and Cha-am, Thailand. Webster also has educational partnerships with universities in Mexico and Japan.