Longwood University’s speaker for this year’s undergraduate commencement has experience as a coroner’s investigator, a police detective, a park ranger—and many other roles—in his career as a television actor on popular shows including "The Closer."

Ransford Doherty, a 1997 Longwood graduate who is a Hollywood-based actor, will give the commencement address Saturday, May 11, at 9:30 a.m. on Wheeler Mall.

Doherty currently has recurring roles in two network television shows—as the coroner’s investigator Kendall in TNT’s "Major Crimes" and as Detective Tim Bell on ABC ‘s "Body of Proof." The former show, which premiered in August 2012, replaced "The Closer," in which Doherty played the same role. 

Doherty has appeared in several other recurring roles on network television shows including "Jonas, "Las Vegas" and "Joan of Arcadia." He also has made numerous appearances on top-rated network shows, among them "The Office" and "Bones," and he has starred in action web series "Caribe Road" and "Safety Geeks: SVI." His film appearances include Hostage, opposite Bruce Willis, and Something Like a Business, alongside Kevin Hart.

Doherty, a Northern Virginia native, graduated from Longwood with a BFA in theatre performance. He was persuaded to pursue acting as a career by Pamela Arkin, associate professor of theatre.

"One of the greatest joys of my life is watching his name come up on the TV screen in these shows. I just grin from ear to ear," said Arkin. "It’s like he’s one of my own kids—there’s no way to describe this pride. I know how incredibly hard it is to break into this business, but I’m not surprised he’s done so well. He knew that he could do it, and I knew that he could do it. His best work is ahead of him. He’s respected by his peers, he’s persistent and polite, and he has an energy that lights up a room. I couldn’t be prouder."

Doherty arrived in Hollywood in 1998 with $1,500 and the clothes on his back. He had no job, no vehicle, and no clue what lay ahead. He took a job working the midnight shift at a temp service to help make ends meet and landed his first professional acting job in January 2000—an appearance in an AT&T commercial. His earliest TV appearances were guest roles on prime time hits "JAG" and "ER."

In his spare time, Doherty substitute teaches at elementary schools throughout the Los Angeles area.

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