Meryl Streep is going beyond her day job as an award-winning actress to reach out to the younger generation. The seven-time Golden Globe winner, 16-time Oscar nominee (with two Oscar wins and a current nom for her role in Julie & Julia) will take on the distinguished role as keynote speaker at Barnard College’s commencement ceremony on May 17.

Meryl will address approximately 600 members of the Class of 2010 and receive the Barnard Medal of Distinction, the college’s highest honor.

She will be speaking in front of a crowd of approximately 5,000 graduates, family members, faculty and staff of the college.

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“It will be a tremendous honor and a true thrill to welcome Ms. Streep to campus for Commencement 2010 this May,” Barnard College President Debora L. Spar announced in a message to the student body. “She has portrayed women from every walk of life with energy, heart, and skill.”

“She is known for the perfection of her craft and for her painstaking preparation in each role she has undertaken,” Spar continued.

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“And, outside of acting, she has used her brilliant voice to support the arts, international human rights, and the environment, as well as health issues of great importance to women and families including cancer, child health and AIDS,” she added.

Meryl graduated from Vassar College and received her MFA with honors from Yale University.

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