Jeffrey Dean Morgan surprises the Rhinebeck class of 2024 as commencement speaker

Morgan and his family are residents of the Dutchess County community where the school is located.
Annual Charity Day Hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald and The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund
Annual Charity Day Hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald and The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund / Mike McGregor/GettyImages

Walking Dead actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan encouraged students during his surprise appearance at the commencement ceremony for the Rhinebeck class of 2024. Mid Hudson News reports that the ninety-student class celebrated their achievements in a ceremony that focused on social, academic, and community.

During his speech, Morgan asked the class how many have their lives mapped out. Many hands shot up, to which Morgan stated, “Yeah, I thought so. Me? My plan after high school involved a beat-up truck and… well, let’s just say it didn’t involve becoming vegan or saving Samuel’s Sweet Shop.”

He refers to the local candy shop in which Morgan, his wife Hilarie, Paul Rudd, and his wife, Andy Ostroy, Pheobe Jonas, and John Traver saved the store when the owner, Ira Gutner, died unexpectedly.

At some point in his speech, he veered off into JDM speak, adding many colorful words, like those he uses in his role as Negan Smith on The Walking Dead series. He used his own struggles to relay to the class that things come at you, and you must take them in stride, using them to their advantage.

Class of 2024 Valedictorian Laila Alam and Salutatorian Lena Sealey-Nicotra also spoke to the class.

"Life throws curveballs, folks. And sometimes those curveballs turn into your best adventures. That’s what happened to me."

Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Check out a clip from Morgan's speech below, curtesy of Mid Hudson News.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan - Dead City

The Walking Dead: Dead City
Lauren Cohan as Maggie Rhee, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan - The Walking Dead: Dead City _ Season 1, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Peter Kramer/AMC /

Morgan has been filming the second season of The Walking Dead spinoff, Dead City, in Massachusetts. The series features Morgan's Negan and Lauren Cohan as Maggie Rhee in a continuation of both characters' stories.

The first season saw the duo team up to rescue Maggie's son Hershel (Logan Kim), who was abducted and taken to Manhattan. The abductor was one of Negan's former Saviors, The Croat (Željko Ivanek), who is a partner with a woman known as The Dama (Lisa Emery).

While the first season was filmed in and around New Jersey and New York City, the second has moved production to Massachusetts. What this means for the storyline is anyone's guess but with the season 1 finale setting things up in Manhattan, its likely the story will continue in this location.

AMC has announced that The Walking Dead: Dead City will premiere in 2025.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan - The Boys

The Boys Season 4
Jeffrey Dean Morgan & Karl Urban /

Morgan has joined the cast of The Boys in its fourth season as a character named Joe Kessler aka Monkey. He appears in the first episode of season 4, "Department of Dirty Tricks." Joe is a CIA Case Officer and an old acquaintance of Billy Butcher. The Boys season 4 airs new episodes weekly on Prime Video.

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