Yes, he wore a cap and gown. And, yes, he wrote term papers.

Turns out the most successful filmmaker of the 20th century wasn't too unlike the 500 fellow grads with whom he picked up diplomas Friday at California State University, Long Beach.

Except that this guy was, um, Steven Spielberg.

The storied three-time Oscar-winner--and recipient of five honorary doctorates, not to mention a freakin' honorary knighthood--completed his long-delayed mission of earning a college degree by walking across the stage and being conferred with his bachelor of arts degree (in film, natch) in ceremonies for Cal State Long Beach's College of Arts division.

According to wire reports, Spielberg was treated--and acted--like any other middle-aged mega-mogul turned newly minted college grad. He posed for pictures, donned a cap and gown (rentals, no less), and inspired the school band to play the theme from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

No word if he and wife Kate Capshaw planned to celebrate with a blow-out kegger this weekend.

Spielberg, who began his quest to nail down that undergrad degree, once and for all, 18 months ago, went public with his Joe College dreams earlier this month.

In a statement, the guy who can make just about any movie he wants to make--including the Tom Cruise-toplined Minority Report, opening June 21--said he wanted to complete his bachelor-degree requirements "as a 'thank you' to my parents...and as a personal note for my own family--and young people everywhere--about the importance of achieving their college education goals."

Who knows? Maybe Spielberg will even serve as an inspiration to DreamWorks partners Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen, neither of whom reportedly has college degrees themselves.

Spielberg began work on his degree back in 1965, when he enrolled at Long Beach after being turned down by other film programs (notably USC's). He dropped out in 1969 to begin his career as a really rich and powerful person.

It's still not known how many credits Spielberg needed to get that elusive bachelor's, but the Los Angeles Times says he did do two semesters' worth of off-campus work, cranking out a term paper for Natural Science 492 ("It was longer than most, well-written and no grammatical errors," professor Donald J. Riesh told the newspaper), and submitting Schindler's List to earn credit for Film/Electronic Arts 309, the advanced filmmaking class.

Said film department chair Sharyn Blumenthal, in the paper: "I think [Schindler's List] counts as an advanced, 12-minute, polished film."

Spielberg's publicist said the director had a "tremendous time" picking up his diploma Friday. (It was his second of the week, actually. On Monday, he got one of them honorary thingies from that little Ivy League institution called Yale.)

"It was very exhilarating for him," Marvin Levy said of the Long Beach degree. "It meant a lot to him."

Well, yeah, if a college degree can boost an individual's earning power, imagine what it might do for an individual's box office...

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share