Kent State Celebrates Its Newest Graduates, Awards Honorary Degree to Commencement Speaker Michael Keaton

Michael Keaton was multitasking during his upcoming return to Kent State University.

Not only did the Oscar-nominated actor impart wisdom as the university’s commencement speaker, but he also joined more than 3,000 graduates on May 12 at Dix Stadium in wearing their caps and gowns as Mr. Keaton received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters for his extraordinary contributions to film performance.

The ceremony brought full circle the journey he began at Kent State 47 years ago when he enrolled as a student before leaving to chase his dreams as an actor.

One University Commencement

Kent State celebrated its newest graduates at the One University Commencement on Saturday, May 12, at 10 a.m. at Dix Stadium. The ceremony recognized graduates from the university’s eight campuses.

By the Numbers

In total, Kent State conferred 5,345 degrees this spring, including:

  • 968 associate degrees
  • 3,383 bachelor’s degrees
  • 812 master’s degrees
  • 180 doctoral degrees
  • 2 educational specialist degrees

More than 3,000 graduating students registered to attend the One University Commencement at the stadium. This is the second year that all Kent State graduates from the eight-campus system were convened and honored in one ceremony. All guests (including children 1 year and older) needed a ticket to enter the ceremony venue.

About Michael Keaton

Mr. Keaton may be best-known for his roles as the Caped Crusader in Batman and Batman Returns. As the star of Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Innocence), he was nominated for an Academy Award and won the Golden Globe. He is one of the few actors whose films, Birdman and Spotlight, won the Oscar for Best Picture in back-to-back years. Mr. Keaton also earned the Best Actor Award from the National Society of Film Critics for Clean and Sober and for Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice.             

Kent State students may recognize Mr. Keaton from his recent role as Vulture in Spiderman: Homecoming. His next project is tentatively titled Big Ears from Walt Disney Studios.

Photo Caption
Oscar-nominated actor Michael Keaton delivered the commencement address May 12 at Kent State University. (Photo credit: MJ Kim/HFA2014/Getty Images)

Learn More About Kent State’s One University Commencement


POSTED: Tuesday, May 8, 2018 - 9:44am
UPDATED: Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - 4:20pm
University Communications and Marketing