Jodie Foster, winner of two Academy Awards for Best Actress, producer and director, will be Penn’s Commencement speaker on May 15.
Ms. Foster’s stunning performances as a rape survivor in The Accused (1988) and as Special Agent Clarice Starling in the hit thriller The Silence of the Lambs (1991) earned her two Academy Awards for Best Actress. One of the most critically acclaimed actresses of her generation, Ms. Foster most recently starred in Flight Plan and Inside Man.
Ms. Foster began her career at age three, appearing as “The Coppertone Girl” in the television commercial. She then went on to become a regular on a number of television series, including Mayberry RFD, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, My Three Sons, and Paper Moon. She made her feature debut in Napoleon and Samantha when she was eight years old.
Ms. Foster received her first Oscar nomination and awards from the National Society of Film Critics and the Los Angeles Film Critics for her role in the 1976 film Taxi Driver. She also became the only American actress to win two separate awards in the same year from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Best Supporting Actress and Best Newcomer honoring her performances in both Taxi Driver and Bugsy Malone.
Ms. Foster has appeared in nearly 40 films. For her role as Clarice Sterling, Ms. Foster was awarded a Golden Globe Award, a British Academy Award, a New York Film Critics Award and a Chicago Film Critics Award in addition to the Oscar.
In addition to her acting, Ms. Foster has always had a keen interest in the art of filmmaking. Ms. Foster made her motion picture directorial debut in 1991 with the highly-acclaimed Little Man Tate, in which she also starred. In 1995, Ms. Foster directed her second film, Home for the Holidays, which she also produced. Ms. Foster founded Egg Pictures in 1992 and the company produced Nell (1994), for which Ms. Foster earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress and the Showtime telefilm The Baby Dance (1998) which received a Peabody Award, four Emmy Award nominations and three Golden Globe Award nominations. In 1996, Egg presented the award-winning French film Hate in the United States. Egg Pictures most recently produced The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys in 2001.
Ms. Foster graduated with honors from Yale University in 1985, earning a B.A. in literature.
Ms. Foster will receive an honorary Doctor of Arts at the Penn Commencement along with five other noted recipients:
Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, Jr., African American Literature scholar and cultural critic; chair of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
Shirley Jackson, president, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and renowned theoretical physicist, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science.
Lawrence Klein, emeritus professor of economics at Penn, known for the creation of economic models and the analysis of economic fluctuations and policies; Nobel Laureate in Economics, 1980, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science.
Judith Klinman, groundbreaking biochemical researcher, UC Berkeley, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science.
Steve Wynn, Gaming industry pioneer; chairman and CEO, Wynn Resorts, creator of Mirage, Bellagio and Treasure Island in Las Vegas, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws.
Almanac, Vol. 52, No. 24, February 28, 2006