The University of Colorado announced Tuesday that Julie Andrews will be the commencement speaker at the spring graduation ceremony -- an actress that graduates from the Class of 2013 will recognize from "The Princess Diaries" and the voice of Queen Lillian in "Shrek" movies.
And, the parents and grandparents of graduates may know the Academy Award-winning English actress best for her roles in "Mary Poppins" and "The Sound of Music."
CU's spring commencement ceremony will be at 8:30 a.m. May 10 in Folsom Field.
No tickets are required for the graduation, though CU suggests early arrivals for the best available seating.
By selecting Andrews, the Senior Class Council -- a group in charge of selecting a commencement speaker each year -- is breaking from an informal tradition of choosing speakers who have ties to the university.
Sosi Papazian, with the Senior Class Council, said Andrews is delivering the speech as a favor to CU. The university does not pay its commencement speakers.
When looking for speakers, Papazian said members of the senior council reached out to their peers for suggestions, and worked with the faculty and chancellor to find somebody who fits the university's values and would be well-received by the audience.
"I think most people know her as Mary Poppins and for her role in the 'Sound of Music,' and I know a lot of girls are excited because of her role in 'Princess Diaries,'" she said. "But, she's also unbelievably noble and well-spoken and respected and somebody who has worked to better society."
Andrews is involved with several charities, with a focus on those that provide international relief -- including Operation USA, a California-based organization.
Jim Palmer, a CU film professor, said it's exciting for the university to have Andrews as the commencement speaker.
"She's gracious and well-spoken and has had a very distinguished film career," he said.
While she's popular for her musicals, Palmer said his favorite movies of Andrews' were lesser known -- like the 1964 film "The Americanization of Emily."
"She's a very versatile actress," he said.
Last year, CU's senior council polled students on who they'd like to be their graduation speaker, with options including comedian Ellen DeGeneres and South Park co-creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker. But, CU ended up going with Timothy Wolf, who is a trustee for the Leeds School of Business.
In 2010, some CU graduates and students protested the university's selection of speaker Steve Ells, the CEO of Chipotle. They criticized CU for inviting Ells because he hadn't joined the "Campaign for Fair Foods," a movement for the fair treatment of farm laborers.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or firstname.lastname@example.org.