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Glenn Close honoured at Queen's University for mental health work

Glenn Close says it means “a great deal” to receive an honorary degree from Queen’s University.

The Oscar-nominated actress was to address a convocation assembly in Grant Hall on Thursday afternoon, where she was to be conferred with an honorary Doctor of Laws.

Close, 66, is being recognized for her efforts to erase the stigma surrounding mental illness, a condition with which her sister and nephew both struggle.

Ahead of her speech, the actress told reporters she planned to urge Queen’s graduates to have compassion for others.

“(I’ll tell them) how important it is for them as they go forth in the world to not forget to look into someone else’s eyes and listen to other’s voices and try to walk in other people’s shoes, so that they really can have compassion and understanding about what people are going through and to educate themselves about mental health.”

She hopes her presence at the convocation will draw attention to mental health programs at the university.

“I receive (the degree) on behalf of my whole family, and it also will help the mental health initiatives right here on the campus to get focus, to get public focus. So I’m very proud of that and I’m very proud to be here for that reason.”

She joked that she was receiving an appropriate degree in light of her recent role as a tough-as-nails litigator on TV’s Damages.

“I love that I’m an honorary Doctor of Laws having just played a lawyer for five years. She would be pleased,” Close said, referring to her ruthless TV alter ego, Patty Hewes.

Close’s numerous screen credits include Fatal Attraction, The Big Chill and Dangerous Liaisons.

So how does Thursday’s honour compare to an Academy Award nomination (something Close has experienced a whopping six times)?

“This is much more important than an Oscar nomination,” she said, smiling and laughing.