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Actor Ken Jeong ‘can’t wait’ to return to Duke to deliver belated commencement address

·2 min read

Duke University’s Class of 2020, denied a traditional commencement ceremony last year thanks to a once-in-a-century pandemic, will finally get a chance to celebrate their accomplishments during an in-person ceremony this weekend.

And a fellow Blue Devil will deliver the commencement address.

Actor and comedian Ken Jeong, who was raised in Greensboro and graduated from Duke in the Class of 1990, will give the commencement address at Sunday’s ceremony.

Jeong was slated to speak at the Class of 2020’s previously planned in-person ceremony in May 2020, which was later canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ahead of this weekend’s commencement celebrations, Jeong said on Twitter Friday he “Can’t wait!!”

After graduating from Duke, Jeong studied medicine at the University of North Carolina and was a practicing internist in Los Angeles for several years before he quit medicine to pursue a full-time acting career. His form sitcom “Dr. Ken” was based on his time in medicine, The Winston-Salem Journal reports.

He spent some time doing stand-up comedy before landing a guest role in a 2005 episode of NBC’s “The Office.” He played a doctor delivering a baby in the 2007 movie “Knocked Up,” before playing major roles in “The Hangover” movie series and NBC’s “Community.”

Jeong is now a judge on the wildly popular FOX reality show, “The Masked Singer,” whose sixth season premiered Wednesday.

His selection as commencement speaker was announced in early March 2020 in a video shown at Cameron Indoor Stadium during a men’s basketball game between Duke and North Carolina State University.

“College is about self-discovery, and if I hadn’t attended Duke, I never would have been an actor, comedian, and Instagram model,” Jeong said at the time, in a Duke news release. “I am honored and thrilled to be coming home and sharing my love with my Blue Devil family.”

Duke President Vincent Price said at the time he was “thrilled” Jeong would return to campus as the commencement speaker.

“If all the world’s a stage, there are few Dukies who have successfully played so many roles — he is an actor and an advocate, a doctor and a devoted Blue Devil, Mr. Chow and Dr. Ken,” Price said in the release. “I know that he will inspire our students to pursue careers of similar passion and purpose, and maybe give us a few laughs along the way.”

Sunday’s ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. at Abele Quad on Duke’s West Campus. All attendees are expected to be vaccinated, according to the commencement website, and masks will be required during the ceremony.

Anyone who cannot attend in person can watch the ceremony via a live stream at commencement.duke.edu.

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