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Natalie Portman Will Speak at College Class Day

Natalie Portman ’03 speaks yesterday at Harvard Business School.
Natalie Portman ’03 speaks yesterday at Harvard Business School.
By Meg P. Bernhard, Crimson Staff Writer

UPDATED: April 24, 2015, at 12:25 a.m.

Academy-award winning actress Natalie Portman ’03, known for her roles in psychological thriller “Black Swan” and the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy, will be the College’s 2015 Class Day speaker.

Portman, who studied psychology at the College, has acted in more than 35 feature films and was the first College graduate to win an Academy Award for best actress, which she received in 2010 for her role in “Black Swan.” She acted in 11 films before she graduated.

Most recently, Portman wrote, directed, and acted in the movie “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” which will premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Portman has also served as an ambassador of hope for the microfinance nonprofit FINCA and an ambassador for the charity Free The Children. Recently, she signed an open letter calling for University alumni  to gather in Harvard Yard for the Harvard “Heat Week” protest.

Natalie Portman '03
Natalie Portman '03 By Johnattan A Leon

After Portman won an Oscar for Best Actress in 2010, Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan M. Dershowitz, who taught a course called “Neurophysiology and the Law” that Portman took, commented that “she would be a great psychologist, and she’s a great actor.”

“She probably influences more people in her acting,” he said in a 2010 Crimson article, adding that “her psychology background helped her in formulating the role for ['Black Swan'] ... She’s an actor who uses her academic background.”

While a student at the College, Portman also worked as a research assistant in the lab of former psychology professor Stephen M. Kosslyn.

The selection process for Class Day speaker began last fall when seniors were surveyed about potential candidates, according to a press release. A subcommittee of students led by two class marshals convened and deliberated on the speaker suggestions, ultimately selecting Portman.

Class Day, scheduled for May 27, honors students graduating from the College the day before the official Commencement ceremony.

—Staff writer Meg P. Bernhard can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @meg_bernhard.

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