Steven Spielberg has won Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, and lifetime achievement awards. He has even been awarded honorary doctorate degrees from prestigious universities such as Yale. And in 2002, the filmmaker was finally able to add a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University at Long Beach to his long list of accolades. Spielberg began studying there in 1965, but left after three years, a few credits short of a degree in film studies. More than three decades later, at age 55, he finally fulfilled all of the coursework requirements and earned his college diploma.
When the name "Steven Allen Spielberg" was called, the filmmaker walked across the stage wearing his cap and gown, just like all of the other Cal State students who were graduating that day.
More on Cal State's famous grad:
- Cal State administrators allowed Spielberg to enroll under a pseudonym and take classes remotely, so that professors would be able to critique his work objectively. The administration also asked the other students to refrain from pitching film ideas to the famous director on graduation day.
- The school waived the requirement that seniors submit a 12-minute film before graduating, deciding that Schindler’s List would be adequate in Spielberg's case.
- When Steven Spielberg's name was called, the school band belted out a 15-second rendition of the theme music from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Spielberg held up two fingers in a “V for victory" gesture, but didn't make any remarks.