Mr. Belding graduates! Mr. Belding gra- whoops, wrong show.
Dennis Haskins' original college years were cut short and he recently made up for lost time. The 65-year-old actor, who played the beloved principal on Saved by the Bell, graduated on Saturday from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in theater and speech, decades after he left college.
While he had received the honor of being among the school's "Distinguished Alumni" in 2000, this is his first academic degree.
Haskins attended the school's fall 2015 commencement ceremony on Saturday and posted on his Instagram page a photo of himself in his cap and gown.
"It's official! Tassel moved from right to left! I'm a graduate! #UTC #TheaterandSpeech #GoMocs," he wrote.
Haskins is seen receiving his diploma in a livestream video posted on the college's website. The Saved by the Bell theme song plays as he takes the stage. (1:36:45)
"As successful as some have said I've been, from the incredible success of Saved by the Bell, other quality acting roles, the books I've written, and even UTC Distinguished Alumni in 2000, there's always been something missing for me—my college degree," he said in a statement posted on UTC's website.
"For reasons long past, I left just short of my liberal arts degree in theater," he said. "Over the years I've thought about and even pursued finishing that degree. Now, with the forward thinking policies of this great university that I love so much that have benefited many other graduates, I join these graduates in holding my head high having earned my liberal arts degree in theater from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga! Go Chattanooga! And Go Mocs!"
The school said in a statement Haskins has "earned all of the academic credits necessary to earn his bachelor of arts degree."
While attending UTC in his younger years, Haskins worked for the student newspaper, acted in the Drama Club and co-founded the community theater group The Harlequins. He also served as entertainment chairman of the Student Government Association and was a member of the Blue Key Honor Fraternity and the Raven's Society, according to the college's website.
Haskins starred on Saved by the Bell and all of its spinoffs, which aired between 1989 and 2000. He went on to appear on shows such as Men of a Certain Age, Mad Men, New Girl and Hot in Cleveland. His latest acting project is Christmas movie Holly, Jingles and Clyde 3D, which stars Steven Anthony Lawrence, who played Beans on Even Stevens, and is set for release in 2017.