Celebrities might not be the first group of people who come to mind when you think about college degrees. Often when we hear about famous people, they’re in the news for getting divorced, breaking the law or going broke despite making millions. Don’t be fooled: there are many celebrities who have gone to college and gotten degrees. In fact, it’s not unusual for celebrities to have originally gone to college to nurture their artistic or athletic talent. Which celebrities with college degrees should be given credit for finishing school as well as being successful in their field?
Oprah Winfrey is most famous for her daytime talk show that ran for many, many years. She has since launched her own network and magazine. Winfrey has also appeared in movies that have been successful at the box office. Winfrey graduated from Tennessee State University with a Degree in Speech and Drama. Currently, she is estimated to have a net worth of over $2.7 billion.
Bruckheimer graduated with a Degree in Psychology from the University of Arizona. Bruckheimer is known mostly for his role as a filmmaker and television producer. Many of his films and movies have gone on to be huge successes both financially and critically. A short list of successes includes Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop, Bad Boys, Black Hawk Down, Pearl Harbor, Pirates of the Caribbean, and award-winning television series CSI. He is estimated to be worth $820 million.
Spielberg is best known for directing such blockbuster films as E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jaws, Indiana Jones, The Color Purple, Jurassic Park, Shindler’s List, and Saving Private Ryan. He graduated from Long Beach State with a Degree in Film and Electronic Arts. While he has been a successful filmmaker and director for almost 30 years, he only completed his degree in 2001. Spielberg is currently estimated to be worth $3.2 billion.
Most people would not think of Howard Stern as a college educated man. However, he graduated from Boston University with a Degree in Communications. Most people know him as a shock-jock who barks out crude and obnoxious things to those who appear on his show as well as to those who call in to his show. Apparently, it has paid off. Stern is currently estimated to be worth $500 million, and an annual salary of $80 million.
Seinfeld is an accomplished comedian who was the star of the show “Seinfeld” for several years in the 90’s. He graduated with a Theatre and Communications Degree from Queens College, and went on to do stand-up comedy for over a decade. It is estimated that Seinfeld is currently worth $800 million. His show is still shown in syndication around the world even today.
Letterman attended classes at the University of Ball State. He graduated from the school with a Degree in Broadcasting. Letterman currently hosts a popular late night television program on CBS. His net worth is estimated to be $400 million, of which he makes about $30 million per year from the David Letterman “Late Night” show.
When you hear his trademark phrase, “You’re Fired,” you know that Donald Trump is somewhere nearby. Trump, who is known for his real estate dealings, television show and political activism, graduated from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania. Trump is currently believed to be worth up to $2.9 billion, and makes around $60 million per year (including $3 million per episode on “The Apprentice”).
Shaq was a powerful presence in the NBA for several seasons. He played for the Orlando Magic, LA Lakers and the Miami Heat. He also played one season for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Shaq won multiple NBA titles with the Lakers and Heat. O’Neal graduated from LSU with a Degree in General Studies. Currently, he is thought to be worth $250 million. His average annual salary was over $15 million for the 19 seasons that he played.
Letterman is not the only talk show host who graduated from college. His late night rival Jay Leno also graduated with a college degree. He obtained a Degree in Speech Therapy from Emerson College. Leno has been the host of the Tonight Show off and on for the past 19 years. He currently makes around $30 million per year on the Tonight Show.
MJ is one of the most famous basketball players who has ever played the game. His six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls will almost certainly never be matched anytime soon. While he was a flop on the baseball field, he was not a flop in the classroom. He graduated with a Degree in Geography from North Carolina. He is thought to have a net worth of $500 million, and he STILL makes $40 million per year in endorsements – over a decade after his championship career.
Most people know McGraw as “Dr. Phil.” He graduated from Midwestern State University with a Degree in psychology. He first appeared on television giving people advice on the Oprah Winfrey show. He currently has his own show during the day. Sometimes controversial with his advice, McGraw’s annual salary is $30 million.
No matter what you want to do with your life, it’s pretty rare that a college education will have negative consequences. All of the celebrities mentioned above graduated from college – and it sure didn’t seem to slow them down. It’s no accident that they turned their college degrees into careers worth millions of dollars. Education shows fortitude. So whether you’re ever a celebrity or not, there’s some evidence that the fortitude it takes to get an education can lead to bigger and better career possibilities.