When Maggie Gyllenhaal returned to her alma mater to accept a personal achievement award, she said her Columbia education taught her to "acknowledge that I really know nothing." A thirst for knowledge led her, as a first-year English student, to sneak into the dean's senior seminar.Little brother Jake Gyllenhaal enrolled when Maggie was a senior, and hoped to major in Eastern religions.
Many stars possess a certain flair for academia, and are accomplished authors, politicians, scientists, and businesspeople.
From valedictorians to Ivy Leaguers to MENSA members, these celebrities are certified geniuses in their own rights.
Matt Damon hatched the idea for "Good Will Hunting" as a Harvard student.
Damon may very well be as smart as his character Will Hunting.
As a Harvard student, a playwriting course assignment led to the development of a rough version of "Good Will Hunting." He later completed the project with his childhood buddy Ben Affleck.
Damon ultimately dropped out to pursue an acting career instead, but the Crimson school still awarded him the prestigious Harvard Arts Medal earlier this year. After the success of "The Fast & the Furious," Brewster left Hollywood to study English at Yale.By '85, she appeared in the pages of Vogue, and would go on to become one of the original Big Six supermodels. Ben Stein, who played the droning economics teacher in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," is an accomplished economics professor and columnist for The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.The Yale Law School grad has authored more than 30 books.Following the success of "October Sky," he dropped out after his sophomore year to concentrate on acting. The Dartmouth College theater major earned an Eleanor Frost Playwriting Award in 1999.As a college student, Kaling illustrated a daily comic for the school paper called "Badly Drawn Girl," which "riffed on day-to-day campus life and took a witty stab at everything from fraternity life to alumni."Known for her roles in "The Office" and "The Mindy Project," Kaling was recently named to TIME's 100 Most Influential List.The high school valedictorian attended Juilliard to study drama.