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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Animal Planet's Matt Gallant to speak at URI's 118th Commencement

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KINGSTON, R.I. -- May 3, 2004 -- It's a good thing that Matt Gallant refuses to follow W. C. Fields' advice to never work with children or animals. The television celebrity has worked with both and has become immensely successful in the process.

The popular host of the TV show, "The Planet's Funniest Animals" who is known for his humorous commentary between video clips of antics and pratfalls of animals will no doubt inject some of that humor when he speaks at the University of Rhode Island's undergraduate commencement on Sunday, May 23. He will also receive an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from his alma mater.

"We think that Matt Gallant will really connect with our students, making commencement both serious and fun," says URI President Robert L. Carothers. "We have a wonderful array of honorary degree recipients this year, and Matt, as a younger alum, is another example of what our new graduates can make of themselves."

Since his show airs daily on the Animal Planet cable channel and is shown around the world, Gallant has achieved celebrity status, particularly with children.

Off camera, Gallant uses that celebrity to help children by raising funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

While his television hosting job may seem like a walk in the park, Gallant has worked hard over the years in different television ventures to make it look that way.

His television career actually began here in Rhode Island. While studying communications and theater at URI, he interned at WLNE-Channel 6 TV. Graduating from the University in 1986, he became a page at NBC. He landed numerous roles in television ads and soap operas before finding work on MTV.
Moving to Los Angeles, he reported for ESPN and ESPN2 and hosted several shows before appearing on "Not Just the News" for Fox TV. Fresh from Fox, he signed on with the Animal Planet show.

For more information about commencement, visit the URI Commencement website.