2011-05-19 / Local & State

Denzel Washington Receives Honorary Penn Degree

By Kathy Matheson

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Superstar actor Denzel Washington confessed to a bit of stage fright in his latest role: Commencement speaker at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Oscar- and Tony winner addressed about 5,000 graduates at the Ivy League school in Philadelphia on Monday. He also received an honorary degree.

Washington told the crowd at Franklin Field that he was scared to “make a fool of myself” by leaving his comfort zone and speaking at an academic ceremony.

But he made himself take that risk in order to overcome his fear.

The 56-year-old star of “Malcolm X’’ and “Philadelphia’’ then encouraged graduates to “have the guts to fail.”

He says, “If you don’t fail, you’re not even trying.”

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