Ben Affleck gets honorary doctorate from Brown University (Video)
You can call him Dr. Ben Affleck now.
The 40-year-old Oscar-winning actor and director, who is also a college dropout, took home a prestigious honor over Memorial Day Weekend 2013 -- an honorary doctorate from Brown University. He was awarded a Doctor of Fine Arts (D.F.A.) at the Ivy League school's commencement ceremony on its campus in Providence, Rhode Island on Sunday, May 26, and stole the show.
Students cheered as Affleck, dressed in a brown and red graduation cap and gown, then took the stage to give a short speech.
"This is a spectacular honor for me," he said. "Among other things, today, in terms of higher education, I passed Matt Damon."
"And my daughters, when I told them what was happening -- my daughter is seven -- she said, 'Why are you doing that, Dad? You went to no classes and did no homework,'" Affleck said, referring to Violet, his and wife Jennifer Garner's eldest of their three children. "Out of the mouth of babes."
Affleck, who shared a screenwriting Oscar with Matt Damon for their 1997 drama "Good Will Hunting" (watch their speech) and won Best Picture at this year's ceremony for his movie "Argo," was honored at Brown for his film work as well as for being a humanitarian. The actor has spearheaded efforts to aid people affected by the violence in Eastern Congo and has lobbied Congress about it. Also, earlier this year, he joined Below The Line's anti-poverty campaign, in which participants pledge to live on $1.50 a day.
"Mom, this is for you"
Affleck, a San Francisco native who grew up near Boston, began acting when he was a child, appearing in the 1980s series "The Voyage of the Mimi." His mother wanted him to go to college. He attended the University of Vermont as well as Occidental College in Los Angeles but did not graduate from either, opting to pursue a career in film.
"I went to the University of Vermont for about a month. It was so cold up there. That's it! I'm going to L.A.," Affleck said on the Bravo interview show "Inside the Actors Studio" in 2001. "My main goal was to try to make a living as an actor."
At Brown's commencement ceremony, Affleck dedicated his honorate doctorate to his mother, who attended the event.
"This means a lot to her," the actor said. She never got to see me graduate from any higher education at all. So Mom, this is for you. I love you. Madame President, thank you very much. Brown class of 2013 -- go get 'em!"
Affleck made his movie debut in the 1992 film "School Ties," which starred Damon, his childhood friend. Damon attended Harvard University and wrote a short draft of "Good Will Hunting" during his time in school. Like Affleck, he also dropped out to concentrate on making movies. Harvard awarded Damon an Arts Medal this past April.
Affleck was one of six people who received an honorary degree from Brown University this year. The others included author Junot Diaz and bacteriologist Stanley Falkow.
Watch a video of Ben Affleck receiving his honorary doctorate from Brown University below (starts at 20:51).