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Award-Winning Actress Speaks at OWU's 157th Commencement

May 13, 2001

[ Wendie Malick Photo ]DELAWARE, OHIO -- "I want to talk to you about making a life," remarked Wendie Malick, award-winning actress, star of NBC's popular sitcom, Just Shoot Me, and keynote speaker at Ohio Wesleyan University's 157th Commencement on Sunday, May 13.

Family and friends of the 430 members of this year's graduating class listened intently as Malick, a 1972 graduate of OWU, spoke about the five most important things she has learned over the years that have enriched her personal and professional life. First, as Malick explained, is the realization that occasional confusion is a part of awareness and learning.

The second realization focuses on taking risks and as she advised, "when you come to a fork in the road, take it." Life is, after all, an opportunity and an adventure. Malick's third reality checkpoint is that "contentment is wanting what you have," as she shared with the graduates and friends her decision to "fully celebrate the incredibly rich life I've had and the friends who are at the core of my life." Malick then urged the graduates to pay attention to others, as "attention is the rarest form of generosity." And finally, her fifth realization that influences how Malick lives her life is that "our earth doesn't belong to man; man belongs to the earth."

Malick told the graduates that "OWU is where many of my core beliefs took hold. I was allowed to experiment, go out on a limb, and take advantage of all that was before me. My life has been enriched here."

Prior to her role as Nina Van Horn, the ditzy ex-model-turned editor of a fashion magazine on Just Shoot Me, for which she received an Emmy nomination this year, Malick was a fashion model for several years. Following her graduation from OWU, she worked briefly in the political arena for Rep. Jack Kemp (R., N.Y.), and then followed her desire to act, appearing in a variety of television shows and films. Malick received four CableACE awards for her work as Judith Tupper Stone on HBO's Dream On.

She and her husband, builder Richard Erickson's community outreach work, bringing housing and medical care to people in Mexico and Africa is yet another dimension of Malick's life.

Malick reminded the graduates of the fragility and finite nature of life and that "you are the future caretakers of the world. ... Go out and expose yourselves to this planet and see how touched you are."

Go to Wendie Malick's speech for a transcript of the keynote address.