Patrick Dempsey made a splash at the Bates College 2017 commencement this past Sunday, except he wasn’t just there to great fans. Instead the Grey’s Anatomy star, better known as “McDreamy,” was on campus to receive an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters for his years of community philanthropy.
Dempsey never went to college, but he was raised near Bates in Lewiston, Maine.
Growing up, Dempsey watched his mother receive cancer treatments and felt the need to give back to the community In 2008 the actor founded the Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing right in Lewiston and every year goes back to complete the “Dempsey Challenge,” which includes a festival and a 10k or 5k walk/run, according to the Dempsey Center website. In 2016 Dempsey took on an advisory role at the center to further fulfill his philanthropic efforts.
According to rising Bates junior Cara Starnbach, Bates students were ecstatic to receive Dempsey at commencement.
“He always stays involved on an annual basis, and his successes are something celebrated in Lewiston,” said Starnbach.
Bates chief communications officer Sean Findlen said the Bates community met Dempsey with “universal excitement.”
“We were really pleased to host Mr. Dempsey and to provide him with an honorary degree. Students were absolutely thrilled to have him on campus,” said Findlen.
In a commencement announcement article published by the college, Dempsey is described as “an actor who has translated Hollywood success into hope and healing in Lewiston, Maine.”
Kalina Newman is a Boston University student and a USA TODAY digital producer.