you are reading
50 Smart Celebrities Who Went to Ivy League Schools
  • Click through the gallery to see 50 smart celebrities who attended Ivy League schools!

  • Funnygal Mindy Kaling graduated from Dartmouth in 2001, and in her book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? she joked that she went to the Ivy League school to "pursue [her] love of white people and North Face parkas." With her theater degree, she continued on to TV fame (and racked up two million followers on Twitter). 

    Photo: Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images
  • Actress Connie Britton majored in Asian studies with a concentration in Chinese at Dartmouth College.

    Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images
  • Emma Watson's decision to attend Brown University caused quite the stir in 2009. Since then, she took a brief leave of absence to focus on her acting career, but will be returning to finish her degree this year. We can't even imagine how many "Hermione" jokes that she was faced with in class.

    Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for PCA
  • Rashida Jones is another female comedian with brains: In 1997, the actress graduated from Harvard (a celebrity favorite, it seems). Although she pursued a degree in acting, she also demonstrated her musical abilities by writing scores for the university's illustrious Hasty Pudding Club.

    Photo: Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images
  • Natalie Portman has a reputation in the industry for being brainy, and with good reason. The actress attended Harvard University and emerged with a degree in Psychology in 2003. A former professor commented on her academic performance, stating that "she is a very determined person and capable of focused effort over a sustained period. She is now demonstrating the results of that determination and focus." She also speaks Hebrew, French, Arabic, German and Japanese. Not too shabby.

    Photo: Isaac Brekken/Getty Images
  • John Legend attended the University of Pennsylvania, receiving scholarship offers from Harvard, Georgetown and Morehouse before settling into his alma mater. In 1998 (a year before his graduation), a college friend introduced him to Lauryn Hill, who recruited him to play piano on her track "Everything is Everything," and in 2001, another college friend introduced him to Kanye West, who later worked with him. 

    Photo: David Livingston/Getty Images
  • John Krasinski is known for his role as lovable Jim on "The Office," though he's also quite intelligent, too. He graduated from Brown University in 2001, starting out with an interest in English Literature, before eventually pursuing theater. He spent the first half of his freshman year in Costa Rica teaching English to students, to boot.

    Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images
  • Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o attened Yale School of Drama, where she received a Masters in Acting.

    Photo: Andrew Goodman/Getty Images for The Maui Film Festival at Wailea
  • Tyra Banks caused quite a stir when the "America's Next Top Model" host announced she was heading to Harvard Business School. Banks has indeed attended business classes at Harvard, but did not receive a degree from the graduate school because she was enrolled in a special syllabus, called the "Owner/President Management Program," which is basically a certificate program rather than an actual M.B.A. degree.

    Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
  • Julia Stiles graduated from Columbia University in 2005 with a Bachelor's Degree in English Literature. Not unlike her bookwormish "10 Things I Hate About You" character, who was always reading Sylvia Plath.

    Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images for You Tube
  • After starring in the racy movie "The Blue Lagoon," Brooke Shields decamped to Princeton University to pursue her bachelor's degree in French Literature. She graduated in 1987.

    Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal earned a B.A. in English literature from Columbia University in 1995. While there, she took a class with Uma Thurman's father, Professor Robert Thurman. Her brother, Jake Gyllenhaal, also attended Columbia University, but later dropped out.

    Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
  • James Franco is known to dabble in a ton of various professions and projects, and the man of many talents attended quite a few prestigious schools, as well. He holds a bachelor's degree from UCLA (where he graduated with a GPA above 3.5), received an MFA from Columbia, studied film at NYU, and is currently enrolled at Yale University but has yet to receive a degree.

    Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
  • Elizabeth Banks graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 1993. While in school, she was active in the Greek scene, as a member of the Delta Delta Delta Sorority. She met her husband, Max Handleman, on their first day of classes at the university.

    Photo: Paul A. Hebert/Getty Images
  • Red-carpet favorite and "Modern Family" star Julie Bowen went to Brown University and earned a diploma in 1991. While pursuing her degree, she acted in musicals such as "Guys and Dolls." 

    Photo: Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images For Tie The Knot
  • Conan O'Brien attended Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude in U.S. History. While there, he edited the Harvard Lampoon for two years.

    Photo: Donald Bowers/Getty Images for The Advertising Council
  • Jordana Brewster graduated from Yale University in 2003, despite having achieved success in Hollywood at a much younger age.

    Photo: Donato Sardella/Getty Images for Jimmy Choo
  • "Breaking Bad" actor Dean Norris not only graduated from Harvard in 1985 where he majored in social studies, but he also went to the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art for one year.

    Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
  • Ed Norton graduated from Yale University in 1991. He rowed crew competitively while studying History at the Ivy League school, and took acting classes on the side. 

    Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
  • Ellie Kemper attended Princeton University as a field hockey player, earning her degree in 2002. "The Office" actress followed in the footsteps of her comedian mother, who was one of the first women to attend the prestigious university. 

    Photo: Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images
  • Tatyana Ali, the former star of "Fresh Prince of Bel Air," went to Harvard University, graduating with a degree in anthropology in 2002.

    Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images for NAACP Image Awards
  • Laura Linney attended Northwestern before transferring to Brown University. A senior lecturer in theater at the school commented, "As a student, she was bright and natural. She was delightful to work with, and she pushed herself. I don't think anyone's quite like Laura. She always had a clear focus and wonderful energy that touched everyone around her." 

    Photo: Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Gotham Magazine
  • Meryl Streep is widely considered one of the most distinguished actresses of all time, and she's also impressively smart: After attending Vassar College, she continued onto the Yale School of Drama to receive a Masters of Fine Arts in 1975. In the program, she reportedly felt immense pressure and harsh competition, but powered through and became, well, Meryl Streep. 

    Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
  • Despite being a successful child star, Jodie Foster graduated from Yale University with a bachelor's degree in literature in 1985. 

    Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images
  • In 1998, Claire Danes attended Yale (her father's alma mater), but—after studying psychology for two years—she dropped out to focus on her film career.

    Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
  • Matt Damon made an interesting choice in his college career: he attended Harvard University for almost four full years, to the completion of an undergraduate degree, before making the decision to drop out in 1992 to pursue his acting career in Hollywood.

    Photo: Julien M. Hekimian/Getty Images
  • Jane Lynch, the hysterical star of "Glee," attended Cornell University.

    Photo: Mark Davis/Getty Images
  • Anna Paquin went to Columbia University for one year before taking an "indefinite leave of absence" to pursue her acting career. She never returned to finish her degree.

    Photo: David Livingston/Getty Images
  • Just like his sister Maggie, Jake Gyllenhaal also enrolled in classes at Columbia University. The only difference: unlike Maggie, he didn't finish. He was only in school for two years, when he focused his studies on Eastern religions.

    Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images
  • Liev Schreiber graduated from the Yale School of Drama in 1992.

    Photo: Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for National Tourette Syndrome Association
  • A late bloomer: In 2010, Ashley Judd went back to school to pursue a masters in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

    Photo: Noel Vasquez/Getty Images
  • Actress Angela Bassett attended Yale University.

    Photo: C Flanigan/Getty Images
  • Before breaking off to pursue acting, younger sibling to brother Ben Casey Affleck studied Physics at Columbia University.

    Photo: David Buchan/Getty Images For TheWrap
  • CNN anchor Anderson Cooper graduated from Yale University in 1989.

    Photo: Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for J/P Haitian Relief Organization
  • Mira Sorvino studied Psychology at Harvard University, and while there penned her thesis on racial conflict in China.

    Photo: Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images
  • Sigourney Weaver  attended Stanford University as an undergraduate before going on to graduate from the Yale School of Drama.

    Photo: Rommel Demano/Getty Images
  • Ivanka Trump graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business in 2004.

    Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
  • After studying ballet as a child and embarking on a successful music career, Vanessa Carlton enrolled for a semester at Columbia University in the Fall of 2003.

    Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
  • "Saturday Night Live" funny gal Vanessa Bayer graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication in 2004.

    Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images
  • Actor David Duchovny graduated from Princeton in 1982 with a B.A. in English Literature.

    Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
  • Actress and comedian Jenny Slate graduated from Columbia University in 2004.

    Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
  • Actor and director Tommy Lee Jones went to Harvard.

    Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
  • Actor Paul Giamatti attended Yale University.

    Photo: Andrew Toth/Getty Images
  • Actress Aisha Tyler attended Dartmouth and studied Polital Science.

    Photo: C Flanigan/Getty Images
  • Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker") graduated from Columbia.

    Photo: Valerie Macon/Getty Images
  • Actress Frances McDormand went to Yale.

    Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
  • Actress Amanda Peet went to Columbia University.

    Photo: Jerod Harris/Getty Images
  • Donald Trump went to the University of Pennsylvania and studied—what else?—economics.

    Photo: Kris Connor/Getty Images

THUMBNAILS

50 Smart Celebrities Who Went to Ivy League Schools


50 Smart Celebrities Who Went to Ivy League Schools

6,705,900
Posted in Celebrity News By

Let’s clear something up: Just because you’re a wildly successful Hollywood star doesn’t mean you’re not smart. In fact, there are plenty of actors who not only have solid educations to back them up, but attended Ivy League schools.

MORE: Short Celebrities! 30 Starlets That Are 5’3 Or Under

Some of these stars we already know are brainy—Natalie Portman and Rashida Jones are both Harvard grads, and Emma Watson famously made the decision to go to school at Brown University in 2009. But others are more under-the-radar: Did you know, for example, that “Glee” funny lady Jane Lynch went to Cornell University, or that Mindy Kaling graduated from Dartmouth?

MORE: 35 Celebrities Who Were Sorority Girls in College

Click through the gallery above to see 50 super-smart celebrities who went to Ivy League schools!

Share This Story

Comments