DePauw's Class of 2014 to hear from movies' 'Kumar'
Kal Penn -- known for acting stints on TV's "House" and in the "Harold and Kumar" films as well as his role as former associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement -- will address DePauw University's 175th annual commencement Sunday morning.
The 2014 ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. in Holton Memorial Quadrangle in front of the Roy O. West Library. The program will be webcast live (details can be found at www.depauw.edu ).
Oxford University Professor Emeritus Emilie Savage-Smith and renowned poet Gjertrud C. Schnackenberg will receive honorary degrees during the DPU program.
In the event of adverse conditions Sunday, proceedings will be moved to the Lilly Center. The commencement day weather outlook is calling for partly sunny skies and a slight chance of rain, with a high in the upper 60s.
Penn, who portrayed the Kumar half of the comic movie duo and was Dr. Lawrence Kutner on "House" for 37 episodes from 2007-12, put his acting career on hold in April 2009.
That was when he joined the Obama administration as associate director in the Office of Public Engagement. His work in Washington was related financial-aid matters for college students, the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy and efforts to bring troops home from Iraq.
Penn has since returned to acting, appearing in the TV series "How I Met Your Mother." He recently signed to star in "Battle Creek," a crime drama being developed by Vince Gilligan, the force "Breaking Bad."
Penn's ties with Washington remain. He served as national co-chairman of Barack Obama's 2012 campaign and addressed the Democratic National Convention.
Penn, whose full name is Kalpen Suresh Modi, earned his undergraduate degree from UCLA and is finishing a graduate certificate in international security at Stanford University.
Savage-Smith, professor emeritus of history of Islamic science and medicine at Oxford University, is a 1962 graduate of DePauw and is a noted scholar in her field.
Acclaimed poet Gjertrud Cecelia Schnackenberg has been awarded the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and numerous other poetry prizes.
A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Schnackenberg has been serving as Poet-in-Residence at the American Academy in Rome and previously visited DePauw in March 2011.