Bill Pullman Recites Independence Day Speech at College Graduation

The actor plays President Whitmore in the 1996 film and its 2016 sequel

By Corinne Heller May 21, 2017 7:30 PMTags

Now that's what we call a college graduation speech.

Bill Pullman gave the keynote address at the 2017 commencement ceremony of Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina Saturday. And when you invite Bill Pullman to be your speaker, you know exactly what you're going to get: The actor recited part of his character's famous speech from Independence Day.

"You will not go quietly into the night," the 63-year-old now-bearded star told the 140 students, as seen in a video posted by local news station WLOS-TV. "Because today is your graduation day!"

Graduation Gallery
20th Century Fox

The actor played President Whitmore in the cult 1996 alien action film and reprised his role in a 2016 sequel. In his speech, Pullman said he had been waiting a couple of decades to get the chance to recite his Independence Day line at a graduation ceremony.

Pullman stayed after the commencement ceremony to take photos with students and their families.


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Pullman's son Lewis and Jack both graduated from Warren Wilson College, in 2012 and 2015. The actor himself attended the State University of New York at Delhi and the State University of New York at Oneonta and later obtained his MFA degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.