Robert De Niro, Gwen Ifill to speak at Bates commencement

Posted April 17, 2012, at 2:29 p.m.

LEWISTON, Maine — Actor Robert De Niro, PBS “Newshour” senior correspondent Gwen Ifill and molecular biologist Bonnie Bassler will speak and receive honorary degrees during Bates College’s 2012 commencement.

The college estimates that 478 seniors will graduate at the Sunday, May 27 ceremony.

Robert De Niro is a well-known actor, having won two Academy Awards, first for Best Supporting Actor for “The Godfather, Part II” and for Best Actor in “Raging Bull.” He earned four more Oscar nominations for his work in “Taxi Driver,” “The Deer Hunter, “Awakenings” and “Cape Fear.”

Gwen Ifill is the senior correspondent for PBS “Newshour,” and is the moderator and managing editor for “Washington Week.” She has been on both programs since 1999.

Bonnie Bassler is a molecular biologist who pioneered in “quorum sensing” research: how bacteria communicate with each other to orchestrate group tasks. She has been a professor of molecular biology at Princeton University since 1994, and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

The event will be broadcast online at