37 Celebrities That Went To Ivy League Schools
Although it may seem that becoming a celebrity is the easy road to take for a career, not all celebrities moved to Hollywood at the age of 18 to pursue their dreams. No, many of your favorite celebs paid their dues at that age old institution called college. And, what's even more surprising, there are tons of celebrities that went to Ivy League schools. So the next time you feel like hope is gone, like your education is dying slowly somewhere in a ditch because you're not using a single thing you learned at school, think again. Many of your favorite celebrities majored in things like history, political science, and other majors that have literally nothing to do with acting, or whatever else they may walk the red carpet for.
Celebrities aren't just lucky souls who get struck by Hollywood's lightning. They're normal people just like you and me, and some of them worked their tails off in their former years to get into, and the get through, their years at an Ivy League school. So the next time you're at the grocery store, perusing the covers of all the tabloids and wondering how so many mindless folks became the center of society's obsession — just remember, not all of them are so mindless.
1. Natalie Portman
Portman attended Harvard University and graduated with a degree in psychology in 2003. In interviews with The Harvard Crimson, her professors reflected on her time at the university, calling her an exception student.
2. Lupita N'Yongo
Lupita Nyong'o attended Yale School of Drama, where she received a master's in acting with the class of 2012.
3. Mindy Kaling
4. Connie Britton
Connie Britton also graduated from Dartmouth College, majoring in Asian studies. She was even roommates with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on a study abroad trip the two took to China.
5. Emma Watson
6. John Legend
According to the New York Times, John Legend attended the University of Pennsylvania, after denying Harvard, Georgetown, and Morehouse. Did I mention he graduated at just 20 years old?
7. John Krasinski
John Krasinski graduated from Brown University in 2001, with a degree in theater. No wonder he was so good at stealing our hearts on The Office.
8. Julia Stiles
Julia Stiles graduated from Columbia University in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in English literature, but not before providing Rolling Stone with a bird's eye view into her life as a college freshman.
9. Brooke Shields
Brooke Shields pursued a degree in French literature at Princeton University, and graduated in 1987. She recalled her days at the Ivy League in her memoir There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me.
10. Maggie Gyllenhaal
Maggie Gyllenhaal graduated with a B.A. in English literature from Columbia University in 1995. According to People, during her time there, she took a class with Professor Robert Thurman, who just so happens to be actress Uma Thurman's father.
11. Conan O'Brien
Conan O'Brien attended Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude with a major in U.S. history. In 2010, a fan surprised him with a copy of his thesis from his time there.
12. James Franco
Though James Franco opted to pursue his bachelor's degree from UCLA, he went on to receive an an MFA from Columbia, also knocking out courses at NYU and Yale to boot.
13. Rashida Jones
In 1997, Rashida Jones graduated from Harvard with a degree in acting. She returned in May 2016 as the Harvard Class Day speaker.
14. Edward Norton
Edward Norton graduated from Yale University in 1991. Norton went onto be nominated for an Academy Award not one, but two times.
15. Elizabeth Banks
16. Frances McDormand
In an interview with The Guardian, Frances McDormand opened up about her time in college. McDormand graduated from the Yale School of Drama.
17. Ellie Kemper
Ellie Kemper graduated from Princeton University in 2002, following in the footsteps of her mother, who was one of the first women to attend the university.
18. Casey Affleck
Casey Affleck studied physics at Columbia University before dropping out to follow in the footsteps of his brother.
19. Meryl Streep
After attending Vassar College, Meryl Streep received her MFA from Yale, graduating from the Yale School of Drama in 1975.
20. Laura Linney
Laura Linney transferred to Brown University after beginning her studies at Northwestern.
21. Jake Gyllenhaal
Much like his sister, Jake Gyllenhaal studied at Columbia University. He dropped out after two years of studying Eastern Religions.
22. Claire Danes
Claire Danes attended Yale in 1998, following in her father's footsteps. But after studying psychology for two years, she dropped out to focus on her acting career.
23. Ashley Judd
In 2010, Ashley Judd received her master's in public administration from Harvard University. “I didn’t go to Harvard Kennedy School to be approved of by anyone, but to immerse myself in some very serious, earnest, practical learning with people who have literally dedicated all they have to public service," she said in an interview with the New York Times.
24. Matt Damon
Matt Damon attended Harvard University for almost an entire four years before dropping out in 1992 to pursue acting.
25. Angela Bassett
Angela Bassett received her bachelor's degree from Yale in 1980, and went on to receive her MFA from the Yale School of Drama in 1983.
26. Jodie Foster
Jodie Foster graduated from Yale University with a bachelor's degree in literature in 1985. In 2009, she returned to the university and spoke to the Yale Film Studies program.
27. Anderson Cooper
Anderson Cooper graduated from Yale University in 1989. In April 2016, Cooper received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Yale College Council.
28. Sigourney Weaver
Sigourney Weaver graduated from the Yale School of Drama in 1974. She spoke with fellow Yale classmate Christopher Durang about her time at the university in an interview with Interview Magazine in 2012.
29. Mira Sorvino
Mira Sorvino studied psychology at Harvard University, and wrote her thesis on racial conflict in China.
30. Vanessa Bayer
31. Jenny Slate
Jenny Slate graduated from Columbia University in 2004, focusing on acting and comedy during her time there.
32. Aisha Tyler
Aisha Tyler graduated from Dartmouth College in '92 with a degree in political science. During her time there, she also studied government and environmental policy.
33. David Duchovny
David Duchovny graduated from Princeton University in 1982 with a B.A. in English literature. According to friends from Princeton, Duchovny showed no interest in acting while at the university.
34. Tracee Ellis Ross
Tracee Ellis Ross graduated from Brown University in 1994 with a degree in theater. In 2015, Ross received and honorary doctorate from the university.
35. Tatyana Ali
Tatyana Ali graduted from Harvard University in 2002 with a degree in African-American Studies and Government. In 2012, she revealed to BET that she was a stepper during her time there.
36. Alison Williams
Allison Williams graduated from Yale in 2010, and was a member of the improv troupe Just Add Water during her time there.
37. Jordana Brewster
Jordana Brewster attended Yale, graduating in 2003 with a degree in English. Attending Yale? A family tradition for Brewster, whose grandfather Kingman Brewster Jr. was the President of Yale in the '60s and '70s.