Sean Astin inspires 750 CMU students in Plachta


Macomb freshman Lindsay Churches gets an original script from the movie “Rudy” signed by Sean Astin who played the title character. Along with the movie script, Churches brought a photo she took with Astin on the set of “Rudy” 17 years ago. Churches received the script through her father who was also in “Rudy.” (Chris Bacarella/Staff Photographer)

“Leadership is a quality not sipped from a chalice, but forged through deeds,” actor Sean Astin said during his speech at Warriner Hall’s Plachta Auditorium last night.

Astin, best known for his roles in the films “Rudy,” “The Goonies” and “The Lord of the Rings,” spoke about the virtues of righteous leadership and the lessons he’s learned through show business to an excited Plachta crowd.

Astin’s speech was preceded by a montage of photos and video highlights from his film career, with ovations when scenes from those three films appeared on-screen.

Coordinator of Student Activities Damon Brown said there were approximately 750 in attendance.

“I was hoping it would fill the lower level, and it basically did,” said Farmington Hills junior Nikki Burnstein, lecture chairwoman for Program Board, sponsor of the event.

His speech stressed life lessons from each of his seminal movies: A spirit of adventure and reverence for the past from “The Goonies,” grit and determination from “Rudy,” and honest-hearted bravery and devotion from his character in “Lord of the Rings.”

“He made a good point about leadership and fellowship,” said Nigeria graduate student Esther Oladunni. “You have to be brave, you have to be courageous and you have to be loyal. Those are the spice of life, I think.”

South Haven junior Andrew Skuza said he was impressed with the life lessons Astin was able to glean from his film roles.

“He had some great views, and he’s had some great roles,” Skuza said. “He’s taken the things he’s done and applied them in the real world.”

After Astin’s speech, he fielded questions from the audience. During the question-and-answer session, Macomb freshman Lindsay Churches held up a photo of Astin from the filming of “Rudy,” in his Notre Dame uniform, standing on the football field, holding the arm of the then one-year-old Churches, whose father had a small role in the film.

After the event, Astin signed her father’s original copy of the “Rudy” script, which Churches had brought with her.

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