Celebrities are commonly known for their achievements on the big screen, on stage or on the field. Very few are known for their academic achievements.
To help recognize their success in the classroom, i decided to make up this list of celebrities that graduated from the well known Harvard University.
Celebrities who not only studied but also received a college degree from the prestigious Harvard University:
School: Harvard University ’03
Course: Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Black Swan‘s Natalie Portman actually enrolled at Harvard University to study psychology while working on the Star Wars prequel trilogy. She completed the degree in 2003. As a student, Portman co-authored two research papers that were published in professional scientific journals. Her 1998 high school paper, “A Simple Method To Demonstrate the Enzymatic Production of Hydrogen from Sugar,” was entered in the Intel Science Talent Search, in which she was named a semifinalist. In 2002, she contributed to a study on memory called “Frontal Lobe Activation During Object Permanence” during her psychology studies at Harvard. Apart from English, Portman is also fluent in Hebrew, French and Japanese.
School: Harvard University ’00
Course: Bachelor of Science in Political Science
Elisabeth Shue debuted on-screen as Ralph Macchio’s girlfriend in the 1984 hit movie “The Karate Kid.” Despite being popular in the movies, she did not want to give up her education so she enrolled at Harvard University in 1985 to become an attorney. But Shue still had the passion for acting so she dropped out of Harvard just one semester short of earning her degree in Political Science. In 2000, she returned to Harvard to finish the degree.
School: Harvard University ’89
Course: Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies (magna cum laude)
A total opposite of her role as the airheaded Romy in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, Mira Sorvino is actually an intellectual who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with the degree in East Asian Studies. While studying, she also helped found the Harvard-Radcliffe Veritones, one of Harvard’s premier co-ed a cappella groups. She is affiliated with Amnesty International and has been among the many Hollywood celebrities calling for United Nations action in Darfur. She spent a year of study in Beijing while attending Harvard. She is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and also speaks French.
School: Harvard University ’85
Course: Bachelor of Arts in History and Literature (magna cum laude)
Conan O’Brien is not exactly unfamiliar with Harvard University since his father, Thomas O’Brien, worked as physician, epidemiologist, and professor of medicine at Harvard. After graduating as valedictorian of Brookline High School in 1981, the young O’Brien entered Harvard University and took up History and Literature. Throughout college, O’Brien was a writer for the Harvard Lampoon humor magazine. His senior thesis focused on the use of children as symbols in the works of William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor. He graduated magna cum laude in 1985.
Tommy Lee Jones
School: Harvard University ’69
Course: Bachelor of Arts in English (cum laude)
Tommy Lee Jones attended Harvard on a need-based scholarship. He stayed in Mower B-12 as a freshman, across the hall from future Vice President Al Gore. As an upperclassman, he was roommates in Dunster House with Gore and Bob Somerby, who later became editor of the media criticism site, The Daily Howler. Jones played offensive tackle on Harvard’s undefeated 1968 varsity football team, was nominated as a first-team All-Ivy League selection, and played in the memorable and literally last-minute Harvard sixteen-point comeback to tie Yale in the 1968 Game. Jones graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1969, and his senior thesis was on “the mechanics of Catholicism” in the works of Flannery O’Connor.
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