17 Celebrities Who Went to Ivy League Schools
Some celebs have it all. Talent, beauty, fame, money — and brains! Many of your favorite actors and singers chose to attend Ivy League colleges, smack dab in the middle of their fame and while their careers were on the ascent, proving that education is of supreme value.
Then again, when you get accepted to an Ivy League institution, you really can’t turn it down.
While not all of them graduated or got that special piece of paper after four years known as a degree, they did dedicate time to higher learning at esteemed academic locales.
Find out who went to Yale, Columbia, Harvard and more. See which celebs are a bunch of smarty pants.
Julia Stiles (Columbia)
The actress, who starred in ‘Last Dance’ and ‘The Bourne Identity’ and is known for her enunciative voice, has a degree in English literature from Columbia University. She graduated in 2005.
Jodie Foster (Yale)
The Oscar winner was a child star, who landed on the Hollywood map thanks to her star-making turn in ‘Taxi Driver.’ Despite the accolades and the fame, she put her career on pause to attend Yale right after high school. She took French and admitted, “I chose Yale basically for writing and literature.”
Mindy Kaling (Dartmouth)
The ‘Office’ and ‘The Mindy Project’ actress is a graduate of Dartmouth, earning her diploma in 2001. So she is gorgeous, funny and a smarty pants — as if we required any more reasons to love her. Check out her comic strips from her collegiate days here.
Claire Danes (Yale)
The actress attended Yale but dropped out to return to her first love: acting! It served her well, since she has made smart film and TV choices, earning a Golden Globe for her work as Carrie in ‘Homeland.’
Jake Gyllenhaal (Columbia)
The hunky heartthrob, who’s an ex of Taylor Swift and an Oscar nominee, has an undergrad degree from Columbia. He studied eastern religions and philosophy. So he’s sexy and smart, making him marriage material. Columbia runs in the Gyllenhaal family, since his big sis, actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, also graduated from the school.
Emma Watson (Brown)
Beautiful Brit Emma Watson, she of the lovely face and pixie cut who was made famous thanks to her role as Hermione in the mega successful ‘Harry Potter’ franchise, is currently finishing up her studies at Brown University in Rhode Island. Must be nice to have such a rad fallback plan.
John Krasinski (Brown)
‘The Office’ actor and the husband of Emily Blunt attended Brown. He graduated in 2001, but it sounds like he always knew he would get into the acting field, since he studied theatre arts and playwrighting. He’s a bard — sort of.
James Franco (Columbia & Yale)
While we love the actor’s work as a cornrowed, grill-sporting pimp in ‘Spring Breakers’ and as a pothead in ‘The Pineapple Express,’ James Franco is a brainiac, currently working on his PhD at Yale, having previously attended Columbia. So he is Ivy League x2. It still blows us away to think, “J. Franco, Doctoral Candidate.’
Natalie Portman (Harvard)
The ‘Black Swan’ Oscar winner went to Harvard, graduating in 2003. She worked as a research assistant and was serious about her studies, with one of her former professors saying, “It was very clear when she was a student that she is a very determined person and capable of focused effort over a sustained period.” She also went by her birth name, Natalie Hershlag, on campus.
Jordana Brewster (Yale)
‘The Fast + Furious’ star attended Yale and earned a B.A. in English. We love a brainy brunette like the lovely and talented Jordana Brewster. Don’t you?
Matt Damon (Harvard)
Anyone who is a fan of Matt Damon knows this story. The actor and writer of the Harvard-themed ‘Good Will Hunting’ attended the school from 1988 to 1992, but did not graduate. He may not have the degree, but he has enjoyed an enviable career and won an Oscar. His sorta alma mater also celebrates his achievements in film.
John Legend (University of Pennsylvania)
John Legend, the pop singer and piano player with the butter smooth voice, had his choice of top-tier schools, as he was offered scholarships to Morehouse, Georgetown and Harvard. Everyone wanted a piece of him. He eventually chose University of Pennsylvania and studied African-American lit.
Rashida Jones (Harvard)
The cute and quirky ‘Parks and Recreation’ actress and daughter of music legend Quincy Jones went to Harvard, graduating in 1997 with a degree in religion and philosophy. She made the most of her time on campus, participating as a member of the Hasty Pudding Theatrical Club, as well.
Edward Norton (Yale)
The first rule of Yale is… we kid, we kid. ‘Fight Club’ and ‘American History X’ star Edward Norton went to Yale, and he didn’t just bury that handsome face in books. He was a competitive rower while on campus.
Sara Gilbert (Yale)
Sara Gilbert, now a host on ‘The Talk,’ pulled double duty, attending Yale while starring on ‘Roseanne,’ the sitcom which put her on the map, thanks to her role as acid-tongued Darlene. This Yalie graduated in 1997, earning a B.A. in art with a concentration in photography.
Ellie Kemper (Princeton)
Funny gals are smart gals, as we’ve learned while compiling this list. The adorbs Ellie Kemper of ‘The Office’ went to Princeton. She also attended Oxford abroad.
Elizabeth Banks (University of Pennsylvania)
Effie Trinket’s alter ego was a smarty pants. ‘The Hunger Games’ star Elizabeth Banks was a sorority girl who attended the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1996. She also ran a work-study program while on campus.