Alec Baldwin must have figured that a graduation ceremony was not the place for Schweddy balls or Jack Donaghy's life lessons.
Instead, it was a more serious, introspective Baldwin who showed up Thursday morning for New York University's 178th Commencement Exercises to receive an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts from his alma mater, NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.
The crowd chanted the 30 Rock star's name as he walked to the podium, wearing his cermonial postdoctoral robe (but not a tux, because it wasn't 6 p.m. yet).
"California and Florida may have the sunshine, but they don't have New York University, am I right?" he addressed the more than 25,000 students, faculty and guests in attendance. "I'd rather get my degree in the rain in New York any day."
He went on to congratulate the graduating class of 2010 on the fulfillment of an important commitment they made several years ago.
"I would like you to consider, when you commit to something or someone who proved to be unfulfilling by your measure, that is painful," Baldwin said. "In my life, I have learned that when you do not commit, you do not risk, you discover you should have—that is even more consequential.
"The myth of the risk-free life is just that: myth," he said.
After the ceremony, Baldwin took time to pose for pictures and shake hands with students, who, if they're hoping to see the actor's lighter side, should probably tune into the season finale of Saturday Night Live this weekend.