It is no secret that Hollywood is home to some of the world’s most talented and accomplished individuals. Did you know, however, that many of these superstars have college degrees?
Despite their fame and fortune, these stars chose to pursue higher education and expand their knowledge beyond the world of show business. While it’s common for celebrities to become famous for their talents, not many are recognized for their academic achievements.
To demonstrate that a successful career in entertainment does not necessarily need giving up academic endeavors, we have compiled a list of 8 well-known celebrities with college degrees.
Let’s get started!
1) Eva Longoria
Eva Longoria is not just a talented actress, producer, and director, but also an intelligent woman with an impressive university degree. She graduated from Texas A&M University-Kingsville with a BA in kinesiology, which is the scientific study of human movement.
She got her MA in Chicano Studies from California State University, Northridge, in 2013.
Longoria is passionate about using her platform to advocate for education and even started the Eva Longoria Foundation, which helps Latinas build a better future through education and entrepreneurship.
Her dedication to education is truly inspiring and proves that one can both succeed in the entertainment industry and academia.
2) Ken Jeong
Ken Jeong, known for his roles in “The Hangover” movies and “Community,” may be one of the funniest comedians in Hollywood. But did you know he’s also a doctor?
Jeong obtained a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Duke University before obtaining a medical degree from Chapel Hill’s University of North Carolina.
After working as a physician for a while, Jeong decided to follow his passion for comedy and acting. He first gained popularity as a regular on the VH1 show “Best Week Ever” before transitioning to film and television.
Despite his success in Hollywood, Jeong has maintained his medical license and has been known to help out on set with medical emergencies.
Jeong’s journey from medical school to comedy stardom proves that pursuing multiple passions and career paths is possible. Additionally, he has made use of his platform to promote awareness of significant health issues, such as breast cancer, and even performed a breast exam on live TV to encourage others to prioritize their health.
3) John Legend
John Legend is a talented musician, songwriter, and actor known for hits like “All of Me” and “Ordinary People.” He holds a degree in English, which he got from the prestigious University of Pennsylvania in 1999.
While at Penn, Legend was heavily involved in music, serving as president of the Counterparts, a co-ed a cappella group, and playing piano for jazz and pop groups. After graduating, Legend worked as a consultant before pursuing music full-time.
Despite his success in the music industry, Legend has also remained connected to academia, serving as a visiting instructor at the University of Pennsylvania in 2014 and launching the Show Me Campaign, a non-profit organization focused on education.
His songs frequently address issues of social justice and inequity, reflecting his love of learning.
4) Meryl Streep
Legendary actress Meryl Streep is an admired performer known for her incredible talent and range on the big screen. But did you know that Meryl Streep was a university student before she became an actress?
Streep attended Vassar College, where she pursued a BA in Drama and English. She graduated in 1971 and earned a Master of Fine Arts from Yale School of Drama. It’s no surprise that Streep’s dedication to her craft didn’t stop at the university.
Her education played a vital role in shaping her talent as an actress, and she’s often credited her training for helping her hone her skills.
With a career spanning over four decades, Meryl Streep has been nominated for several Academy Awards and has won some. Her success and acclaim are a testament to her hard work, dedication, and of course, her incredible talent.
5) Viola Davis
Actress Viola Davis has received praise from critics for her work in The Help and Fences, among other films. Many people might be unaware that she also holds a theater BA from Rhode Island College.
Davis has said that her education has given her an exemplary work ethic and an appreciation for acting as a trade. She continued her education at Juilliard before making it big in Hollywood.
Davis is a prime example of how pursuing higher education can benefit one’s career and personal growth.
6) Jon Stewart
Known for hosting “The Daily Show,” comedian and political satirist Jon Stewart studied at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He earned a psychology degree in 1984.
During his time at the university, Stewart also participated in theater productions and worked as a busboy at a local restaurant. His higher education definitely didn’t hinder his career; Instead, it only enhanced his abilities as a critical thinker and performer.
7) Tina Fey
Tina Fey, a comedienne, author, producer, and actor, got a Bachelor of Arts in Drama from the University of Virginia and a Pettway Prize in Drama award. During her university years, Fey was part of an improvisational comedy group, where she discovered her love for comedy.
Fey continued to hone her craft while working at Second City in Chicago and eventually landed a job at Saturday Night Live. She became the first female head writer for the show and went on to create her own successful comedy series, 30 Rock.
Fey’s intelligence and humor reflect her strong educational background, making her a role model for many aspiring comedians.
8) James Franco
James Franco is a renowned actor, filmmaker, and writer known for his versatility and creativity. He has appeared in several hit movies such as Spider-Man, Pineapple Express, and The Disaster Artist. Besides his successful acting career, Franco is an accomplished academic who earned multiple certifications from prestigious institutions.
Franco attended UCLA, where he received his undergraduate degree in English in 2008. While pursuing this, he also studied creative writing and was accepted into Columbia University’s MFA writing program.
In 2010, Franco received his MFA from Columbia and continued his academic career by enrolling in a Ph.D. program at Yale University.
Franco remains an active scholar and continues to publish academic articles and essays. He has also taught courses at various universities, including UCLA, USC, and NYU.
How to Choose a College
One crucial decision you’ll make at some point in your life is which college to attend, which can be difficult and intimidating. It’s simple to become disoriented when there are so many options available. But do not worry—we have you covered.
Here are 5 things to consider:
1. Your interests:
Know your own interests and goals. What subjects do you enjoy? What do you envision yourself doing later on? These are questions that will guide you in choosing the kind of university that would be most appropriate for you.
Location is an essential factor to consider. Do you prefer a city or a small town? Would you like to live nearby or far away?
Accreditation ensures that the school has met certain standards and that employers and other institutions will recognize your certificate.
Pay attention to the campus safety measures, such as security cameras, emergency call boxes, and 24/7 security patrols. Nuwber has made a list of the safest college campuses in the US, which can simplify the process of choosing a reputable school.
5. Internship Opportunities:
Internships can be a fantastic way to network and gain experience. Look into colleges’ career services to see what internship opportunities are available.
We have seen that talent and success are not the only factors defining a person’s path. These 8 celebrities show us that higher education can also be an important part of one’s journey to success.
These celebrities are a true inspiration for those who wish to pursue higher education while also following their passion and creativity. Whether you are a student already or intend to enroll, it is critical to keep in mind that education is a powerful weapon that may help you succeed in life.
Find an institution that best suits your aims and aspirations by doing some research, and don’t forget to pursue your dreams!