Emmy Award-winning actor Jane Lynch, a former Chicago actor known for her roles in TV and film, will be the keynote speaker at the 2016 commencement ceremony for Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department graduates on Saturday, May 14, at 1:30 PM at the Chicago Theatre. Lynch will also receive an honorary degree from the college.
Lynch is the two-time Emmy Award-winning host of Hollywood Game Night and an Emmy and Golden Globe winner for her portrayal of Sue Sylvester on Glee. Her film credits include The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Taladega Nights, Julie & Julia, A Mighty Wind, Best in Show, and the forthcoming Mascots, directed by Christopher Guest, set to premiere on Netflix this summer. Additional TV credits include The L Word, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Two and a Half Men, Party Down, and Lovespring International. On Broadway she played Miss Hannigan in the musical Annie. Her memoir Happy Accidents topped several national best-seller lists, including the New York Times and Los Angeles Times.
Born and raised in Chicago’s south suburbs, Lynch launched her acting career in Chicago. She performed with The Second City National Touring Company as well as in productions at Steppenwolf Theatre and the Organic Theatre. With Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, she played “Carol Brady” in the long-running hit The Real Live Brady Bunch, in which authentic Brady Bunch TV scripts were performed tongue-in-cheek onstage.
Lynch is one of a roster of Emmy-, Grammy-, and Pulitzer Prize-winning artists and creative industry leaders selected as 2016 commencement ceremony keynote speakers and honorary degree recipients at Columbia College Chicago this spring. Each honoree will address students at one of five commencement ceremonies on May 14 and 15 at the historic Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State in downtown Chicago. Besides Lynch, this year’s honorary degree recipients are Columbia College alum and film producer Paul Garnes (Middle of Nowhere, Selma, “Being Mary Jane,” “Queen Sugar”); Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee and Grammy Award recipient Diane Warren (“Til It Happens To You,” “Because You Loved Me,” “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”); Pulitzer Prize-winning author and poet Tracy K. Smith (Ordinary Light, Life on Mars); and Carlos Tortolero, founder and president of Chicago’s National Museum of Mexican Art, the first Latino museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. More than 2,000 Columbia College graduate and undergraduate students are expected to graduate this year and attend the May commencement ceremonies. For more information, click here.