These days, graduating from an Ivy League school is practically a prerequisite to becoming a politician or public figure. From John Adams to Barack Obama, Harvard alone boast eight presidents who hold their prestigious degrees, but what about when it comes to Hollywood? While most celebrities do hold a college degree, you may be surprised to learn that many took their post-high school education to a whole other league—the Ivy Leagues. Besides having looks and talent to envy, here are Hollywood stars that were also smart enough to get accepted into private and prestigious Ivy League schools.
Before writing and starring in The Office, Mindy Kaling was a student at Dartmouth studying Latin and then switching to theater. She graduated in 2001 with a degree in playwriting and spent her time as a student drawing a campus comic strip for The Dartmouth called “Badly Drawn Girl.”
The talented John Legend secured scholarships from Harvard, Georgetown, and Morehouse before deciding to attend the University of Pennsylvania where he studied English with an emphasis on African American literature. A year before his graduation in 1998, a friend introduced him to Lauryn Hill, who hired him to play piano on her song “Everything Is Everything” and the rest is history.
The incredibly brainy Natalie Portman graduated from Harvard University in 2003 where she earned a degree in Psychology. In addition to speaking 5 languages (Hebrew, French, Arabic, German, and Japanese), the Oscar-winning actress is an advocate for education and once famously said, “I’d rather be smart than a movie star.”
Late-night talk show king Conan O’Brien was his high school’s valedictorian and went on to graduate magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1985 with a major in U.S. History. During his tenure, he spent time as a writer, editor and president for the Harvard Lampoon.
Before she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 12 Years a Slave, Lupita Nyong’o was an aspiring student of Yale School of Drama. She received a master’s in acting in 2012 and landed her breakout, award-winning role soon after graduation.
Tommy Lee Jones
Tommy Lee Jones didn’t just play a Harvard student on the big screen (Love Story, anyone?). He actually graduated cum laude from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1969. As many pop culture buffs knows, Tommy’s college roommate was former Vice President Al Gore and he became a star offensive guard on Harvard’s football team.
The multi-talented Rashida Jones started out studying Religion and Philosophy at Harvard, but graduated in 1997 with a degree in Acting. As a student, she wanted to become a lawyer, but changed her mind after the OJ Simpson trial.
“Jim Halpert” joins his The Office co-stars Mindy Kaling, Rashida Jones, and Ellie Kemper in holding an Ivy League University degree! The handsome, award-winning actor went to Brown University where he started out studying English Literature before switching his major to Theater.