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Nazareth, Hobart bring back stellar alums for commencement speeches

Two local colleges have announced their commencement speakers for the spring—one a star and another who has helped NASA shoot for the stars.

Actor Michael Park will speak at Nazareth in Pittsford, while geology scientist John Grotzinger will speak at Hobart and Williams Smith Colleges in Geneva, both on May 13.

Michael Park
Michael Park

Nazareth College alumnus Michael Park graduated in 1990 and became well known for his role as Jack Snyder on the television soap opera, “As the World Turns.” Right now Park is on Broadway in the hit musical “Dear Evan Hansen,” in the role of Larry Murphy, which he originated. In 2016, he originated the role of Angus Tuck in the Broadway stage adaptation of “Tuck Everlasting.”

A Canandaigua native, Park is married to Nazareth alumna Laurie Nowak Park, a music therapist. They have three children.  The Nazareth commencement is scheduled for May 13 at 9:45 a.m. at the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial.

Meanwhile, Hobart and William Smith Colleges have also invited an alumnus to speak at their commencement exercises. Grotzinger, who was mission leader and project scientist for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, will speak May 13 at 10:30 a.m. on the Geneva campus.

Currently a professor of geology at California Institute of Technology, Grotzinger led the team that guided the Mars Rover and gathered historic evidence of ancient rivers and evidence that Mars could have supported life. He has also taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

John Grotzinger
John Grotzinger

Grotzinger graduated from Hobart in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in geoscience and went on to earn multiple degrees, most recently an honorary doctorate from his first alma mater in 2013.

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