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Actor Jesse L. Martin: 'A dream come true' to speak at Buffalo State commencement

Actor Jesse L. Martin, who will be the commencement speaker for SUNY Buffalo State's Class of 2019, has taken part in classes on the college's campus before.

He did so as a grade school student at the Campus School/College Learning Laboratory in the 1970s before going on to graduate from Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts.

"As a child of the Buffalo Public School system, who attended elementary school on your beautiful campus, this is a dream come true,” Martin said in a message to Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner, the college said in a release Wednesday.

Martin, known for his television role as Detective Ed Green on "Law & Order" and for originating the role of Tom Collins in the Broadway musical "Rent," will speak at Buffalo State's 147th commencement on May 18.

Martin will address the graduates at both baccalaureate ceremonies (9 a.m. and 1 p.m.) and the graduate ceremony (5 p.m.). He will be presented with a State University of New York honorary doctor of fine arts degree during the 9 a.m. ceremony.

“I, Jesse L. Martin, formally and humbly accept the honor of giving the 2019 Commencement Speech at Buffalo State College," Martin said in his message to Conway-Turner. "I also, very proudly, accept the Honorary Doctorate that your amazing institution has offered to bestow upon me. It is not lost on me the degree of importance this honor carries."

Martin, 50, was born in Rocky Mount, Va. Martin’s family relocated to Buffalo while he was in grade school. He was voted "Most Talented" in his senior class at Performing Arts. He later enrolled in New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Theatre Program and attended Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute.

Martin currently plays Detective Joe West on the CW comic hero series, "The Flash." His role in the original production of "Rent" came in 1996. He landed his "Law & Order" role in 1999 and was on the show for nine years.

"Buffalo State is thrilled to honor and welcome Jesse L. Martin as our 2019 commencement speaker," Conway-Turner said in a release. "Mr. Martin, through his illustrious career as an actor, singer, and director, along with his history with our great campus and wonderful city, will offer a unique, relevant, and inspiring message to our 2019 graduates."

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