LOS ANGELES — Loyola Marymount University will welcome veteran actor and social justice activist Martin Sheen as the keynote speaker for the university’s 2023 undergraduate commencement exercises on Saturday, May 6. Ginni Rometty, the former Chairman, President and CEO of IBM, will speak at the graduate commencement on Sunday, May 7; and the Hon. James E. Graves, Jr., judge of the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, will speak at Loyola Law School commencement on Sunday, May 21.
Best known for his seven-year turn as President Josiah Bartlet on the NBC series “The West Wing,” Sheen is a veteran of stage and screen, with more than 100 film roles over the last 60 years, including performances in “Apocalypse Now,” “Gandhi,” “Wall Street,” “The Departed,” and “The Amazing Spider-Man.” His starring television roles include “The West Wing” and “Grace and Frankie,” and his myriad guest appearances range from “Mission: Impossible” to “The Simpsons.” He has won an Emmy, Golden Globe, and SAG Award, and received Tony and BAFTA Award nominations.
Sheen’s long performing career mirrors his decades of work as an activist for social causes, including homelessness, poverty, nuclear disarmament, environmentalism, and anti-war efforts. He is a special envoy to the human rights organization Front Line Defenders and, through his association with the Sea Shepherd conservation group, has a research vessel named after him, the RV Martin Sheen. A longtime supporter of the Catholic Worker movement, Sheen played co-founder Peter Maurin in the film “Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story.”
As the ninth Chairman, President, and CEO of IBM, Rometty transformed the 100-year-old company, reinventing 50 percent of its portfolio, building a $25 billion hybrid cloud business, and establishing IBM’s leadership in AI and quantum computing. She drove record results in diversity and inclusion and supported the explosive growth of an innovative high school program, P-TECH, to prepare the workforce of the future in more than 28 countries. Through her work with the Business Roundtable, she helped redefine the purpose of the corporation.
Today, Rometty is a champion of SkillsFirst learning, hiring, and advancement—a movement to connect more people without college degrees with good jobs. In 2020, she co-founded OneTen, a coalition of companies and educators committed to upskilling, hiring, and promoting one million Black Americans without four-year degrees by 2030 into family-sustaining jobs and careers. She is also the author of the bestselling book “Good Power: Leading Positive Change in Our Lives, Work, and World” (Harvard Business Review Press).
Judge Graves was nominated by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in 2010, and his nomination was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2011. Upon nominating Judge Graves, President Obama said, “Throughout his career, James E. Graves has shown unwavering integrity and an outstanding commitment to public service.” Graves worked in private practice in Mississippi before being appointed a Hinds County circuit judge in 1991. He was appointed to the Mississippi Supreme Court in 2001, and served as its presiding justice from 2009 to 2011.
As the first African American from Mississippi to serve on the Fifth Circuit, Judge Graves was awarded the Mississippi Trailblazer of the Decade award—an award that recognizes Mississippians who have shown a commitment to racial, cultural, and gender diversity and who have presented Mississippi in a positive light. Judge Graves was awarded the 2011 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award in recognition of his deep commitment to working with Mississippi youth.
More than 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students will participate in LMU’s commencement exercises, which will be held at Sunken Garden on the LMU Westchester campus and streamed live. More information can be found at lmu.edu/commencement.