Ben Affleck

A bacteriologist, a Hollywood star and a celebrated writer were among the six people receiving honorary degrees at Brown University commencement this weekend. The ceremony, during which more than 2,400 students received degrees, was the first presided over by Brown’s new president Christina Paxson.

The graduating class weathered some rain and wind during this year's festivities, forcing the university to cancel the traditional Baccalaureate procession on Saturday. Sunday's commencement exercises went forward as scheduled.

Actor turned Director Ben Affleck will receive a Doctor of Fine Arts during Brown University’s commencement next month.  Affleck’s film Argo won best picture at the Academy Awards in February, but he was famously snubbed by the Oscar committee when it came to a best director nomination.

Brown will also confer honorary degrees on writer and MIT professor Junot Diaz and bacteriologist Stanley Falkow, along with three others. Falkow will host a forum on infectious diseases as part of commencement weekend.

Of all the tax subsidies states had out, the film tax credits seem among the most frivolous. Sure, politicians love rubbing elbows with Hollywood luminaries, but what about the taxpayers?

Now comes this report from Massachusetts: The Bay State’s film subsidy program cost taxpayers an estimated $44 million in 2011, though it created the equivalent of just about 1,200 full-time jobs.