Actor and disability advocate Daryl “Chill” Mitchell will serve as the principal speaker at the University of New Orleans’ fall commencement ceremony on December 16, 2016 at 3 p.m. in the Lakefront Arena. A veteran of more than 40 movies and television shows, Mitchell is currently a series regular on the popular CBS crime drama “NCIS: New Orleans.”
“We are so excited to have Daryl ‘Chill’ Mitchell as our graduation speaker,” said President John Nicklow. “I am confident that his message of perseverance and triumph over adversity will resonate with our graduates. Given his personal story, as well as his enormous talents as both a comedic and dramatic actor, I think we are in for a treat.”
Mitchell has appeared in television shows including “The John Larroquette Show,” “Law & Order,” “Ed” and “Desperate Housewives” as well as films including “House Party,” “Sgt. Bilko,” “Galaxy Quest” and “10 Things I Hate About You.” Since 2014 he has played the role of computer specialist Patton Plame on “NCIS: New Orleans,” which has its production headquarters at UNO’s Nims Center in Elmwood.
In 2001, Mitchell was paralyzed from the waist down in a motorcycle accident. He has continued his acting career and since started the Daryl Mitchell Foundation to raise awareness about spinal cord injuries. He serves as the minority outreach spokesperson for the Christopher Reeve Foundation, and has become a vocal advocate for employing actors with disabilities. He is a 2010 recipient of an NAACP Image Award.
An inspirational public speaker, Mitchell has lectured at nearly 50 colleges and universities.