Famed Hollywood actress Mary McDonnell and her sister, a professor at Bryant, say strong women in their life, including each other, have been a source of strength.

SMITHFIELD — One is a two-time Oscar-nominated actress and the other is an award-winning sociology professor, but these sisters know that they would not be where they are today without each other.

“My sister’s life as a feminist and as a sociologist and as a teacher and as an educator has really influenced the way I interpret the roles that I read,” said Mary McDonnell, a television, film and stage actress, as she sat next to her sister, Judith McDonnell, who is a professor at Bryant University. “Part of the reason I think I have been in the position I’m in is because I was fortunate enough to be raised around women such as Judy.”

Mary McDonnell, who starred as Commander Sharon Raydor in the TNT series “Major Crimes” and also played President Laura Roslin in “Battlestar Galactica” and Stands With A Fist in the film “Dances with Wolves,” gave a keynote speech Friday at Bryant’s annual women’s summit.

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