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Video: Exclusive: J.K. Rowling on final 'Potter'

updated 1/17/2008 3:38:44 PM ET 2008-01-17T20:38:44

Harvard University announced Thursday that the author of the popular Harry Potter series would be the principal speaker at its 357th commencement on June 5.

"Perhaps no one in our time has done more than J.K. Rowling to inspire young people to experience the excitement and the sheer joy of reading," Harvard President Drew Faust said in a statement.

Rowling's seven books about the adventures of orphaned wizard Harry Potter, his friends at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and their battles with the evil Voldemort have sold nearly 400 million copies worldwide and been translated into 64 languages.

"There are countless Harry Potter devotees throughout the Harvard family, and we look forward to warmly welcoming one of the world's best-read authors to our commencement festivities," said Jonathan Byrnes, president of the Harvard Alumni Association.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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