34 Celebrities Who Went to Ivy League Schools (and Also Stanford)

Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, and John Legend in photo collage with college emblems
Photo: Getty

These talented stars made their higher education a priority and sought out the most exclusive institutions in the country to do so. Scroll down below to find out which Ivy league schools your favorite celebrities attended.

01 of 34

Julie Bowen - Brown University

Julie Bowen with the Brown University emblem
Getty

The Modern Family star graduated from the Rhode Island Ivy in 1991 with a degree in Renaissance Studies.

02 of 34

Casey Affleck - Columbia University

Casey Affleck with the Columbia University emblem
Getty

The Oscar-winner studied at Columbia for two years before dropping out to pursue acting full-time.

03 of 34

Angela Bassett - Yale University

Angela Bassett with the Yale University emblem
Getty

The Oscar nominee graduated from Yale with a B.A. in African-American studies in 1980, returning shortly after to earn an M.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama.

04 of 34

Elizabeth Banks - University of Pennsylvania

Elizabeth Banks with the University of Pennsylvania emblem
Getty

The Wet Hot American Summer star majored in communications with a concentration in theater arts, graduating magna cum laude in '96.

05 of 34

Jordana Brewster - Yale University

Jordana Brewster with the Yale University emblem
Getty

Before things got Fast and Furious, Brewster studied English at Yale. The actress graduated from the Ivy in '03, taking part in a true family tradition (her grandfather was once the university's president).

06 of 34

Connie Britton - Dartmouth College

Connie Britton with the Dartmouth College emblem
Getty

The celebrated TV actress graduated from the New Hampshire school in 1989 with a degree in Asian Studies.

07 of 34

Claire Danes - Yale University

Claire Danes with the Yale University emblem
Getty

Has anyone ever had a conversation about Claire Danes and not discussed her time at Yale? It's doubtful. Anyway, the My So Called Life star began studying psychology at the prestigious school in '98, dropping out two years later to focus on her acting career.

08 of 34

Matt Damon - Harvard University

Matt Damon with the Harvard University emblem
Getty

The Boston native started at Harvard in '88, taking time off here and there before eventually dropping out to pursue his acting career.

09 of 34

Jodie Foster - Yale University

Jodie Foster with the Yale University emblem
Getty

The prolific actress graduated from the CT-based Ivy in '85 with a degree in English.

10 of 34

Jake Gyllenhaal - Columbia University

Jake Gyllenhaal with the Columbia University emblem
Getty

Like his sister Maggie, Jake attended Columbia with a major in Eastern Religions. Unlike his big sis, Jake dropped out after two years.

11 of 34

Rashida Jones - Harvard University

Rashida Jones with the Harvard University emblem
Getty

Jones graduated from Harvard in '97 with a degree in acting.

12 of 34

Issa Rae - Stanford University

Issa Rae with the Stanford University emblem
Ray Tamarra/GC Images; Courtesy

HBO's comedic "It" girl graduated from the prestigious California school in '07 with a degree in African and African-American studies.

13 of 34

James Franco - Columbia University

James Franco with the Columbia University emblem
Getty

The ultra-educated actor graduated from Columbia's MFA program in 2010. The same year, Franco also enrolled in Yale's English and Film Ph.D. program.

14 of 34

Joseph Gordon-Levitt - Columbia University

Joseph Gordon-Levitt with the Columbia University emblem
Getty

JGL took a break from acting in 2000 to study History, Literature, and French Poetry at Columbia. During his fourth year at the urban Ivy, just shy of earning his diploma, Gordon-Levitt returned to acting.

15 of 34

Ashley Judd - Harvard University

Ashley Judd with the Harvard University emblem
Getty

In 2010, the Someone Like You star graduated with a master's degree in public administration from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

16 of 34

Mindy Kaling - Dartmouth College

Mindy Kaling with the Dartmouth College emblem
Getty

The Mindy Project star graduated from Dartmouth in '01 with a degree in playwriting.

17 of 34

Ellie Kemper - Princeton University

Ellie Kemper with the Princeton University emblem
Getty

Although Netflix heroine Kimmy Schmidt erred in her brush with the Ivy League, Kemper herself graduated from New Jersey's finest in '02 with a B.A. in English.

18 of 34

John Legend - University of Pennsylvania

John Legend with the University of Pennsylvania emblem
Getty

Not only did the world-famous crooner attend an Ivy League, he also enrolled at just 16! Legend studied English with a focus on African American lit before graduating in '99.

19 of 34

Laura Linney - Brown University

Laura Linney with the Brown University emblem
Getty

The Ozark star graduated in '86 with a degree in theater arts. She also graduated from The Julliard School.

20 of 34

John Krasinski - Brown University

John Krasinski with the Brown University emblem
Getty

The Office alum graduated in '01, just a few years before he became a household name with his starring role in the NBC comedy.

21 of 34

Maggie Gyllenhaal - Columbia University

Maggie Gyllenhaal with the Columbia University emblem
Getty

Jake's famous big sis followed through with her education, graduating with a B.A. in English Literature in '99.

22 of 34

Mira Sorvino - Harvard University

Mira Sorvino with the Harvard University emblem
Getty

A foil to one of the characters for which she is best known (Romy of Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion), Sorvino graduated magna cum laude in '90 with a degree in East Asian studies.

23 of 34

Lupita Nyong'o - Yale University

Lupita Nyong'o with the Yale University emblem
Getty

The Oscar-winner attended the Yale School of Drama, earning an MFA in 2012—just a year prior to the release of her career-making performance in 12 Years a Slave.

24 of 34

Tracee Ellis Ross - Brown University

Tracee Ellis Ross with the Brown University emblem
Getty

The black-ish star earned a degree in theatre from the Rhode Island Ivy, graduating with the class of '94.

25 of 34

Shonda Rhimes - Dartmouth College

Shonda Rhimes with the Dartmouth College emblem
Getty

Network TV's super-producer queen earned a degree in English with Creative Writing in '91.

26 of 34

Brooke Shields - Princeton University

Brooke Shields with the Princeton University emblem
Getty

Shields took a break from show biz to attend Princeton, where she earned a degree in Romance Languages in '87.

27 of 34

Jenny Slate - Columbia University

Jenny Slate with the Columbia University emblem
Getty

The Landline star graduated from the N.Y.C. Ivy in '04.

28 of 34

Reese Witherspoon - Stanford University

Reese Witherspoon with the Stanford University emblem
Getty

Witherspoon entered Stanford as an English major in the mid-'90s but has been "on leave" since 1996.

29 of 34

Allison Williams - Yale University

Allison Williams with the Yale University emblem
Getty

A graduate of the class of 2010, Williams completed her English degree just two years prior to landing her career-making role on Girls.

30 of 34

Emma Watson - Brown University

Emma Watson with the Brown University emblem
Getty

The Harry Potter alum completed an English degree at Brown in 2014.

31 of 34

Julia Stiles - Columbia University

Julia Stiles with the Columbia University emblem
Getty

Stiles stalled the pace of her acting career in 2000 when she enrolled as an English major at Columbia. She graduated in 2005.

32 of 34

Ivanka Trump - University of Pennsylvania

Ivanka Trump with the University of Pennsylvania emblem
Getty

Keeping with family tradition, Ivanka graduated from U.Penn's Wharton Business School in 2004. Ivanka's father and two of her three adult siblings also attended the Pennsylvania Ivy.

33 of 34

Sigourney Weaver - Yale and Stanford University

Sigourney Weaver with the Yale and Stanford University emblem
Getty

The Alien star earned a B.A. in English at Stanford in '72 and later attended Yale Drama School.

34 of 34

Meryl Streep - Yale University

Meryl Streep with the Yale University emblem
Getty

The Oscar-winner earned her MFA from Yale Drama School in 1975.

Related Articles