10 Famous College Professor Celebrities

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It’s not much of a stretch to imagine writers as college professors.

But did you know that some celebrities, musicians, actors, and talk show hosts, have college teaching credentials?

There are many factors that can make or break a college education and experience.

Some say that having an active Greek life will make your experience unforgettable.

Some also think that their college experience will be affected by their lifestyle and residence.

Still, others are intent on getting the best, quality education there is, without minding the expensive cost of college.

But one thing for sure that can influence your college education is the quality of teachers.

So, it makes sense that colleges will invite well-known celebrities and famous personalities to conduct lectures on business, music, and drama.

Oprah Winfrey – School of Business Professor

oprah-winfrey

image source Oprah.com

Oprah Winfrey also had to struggle while young, but she was able to succeed even though she dropped out of college.

It was around that time that she got the chance to appear on TV and began her career.

Later, in the fall of 1999, Winfrey taught a 2nd year MBA class every Tuesday night on “Dynamics of Leadership” at Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.

At first, the college students were doubtful about the course when they were told that a talk-show host would be their professor, but the class immediately filled to capacity when they learned it was Oprah Winfrey, a successful millionaire entrepreneur.

Sylvester Stallone – Gym Teacher

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image source: nbc.com

Famous “Rocky” actor and all-around action star Sylvester Stallone had a difficult childhood.

His parents divorced, which affected his health, lifestyle, and academics.

Stallone was a troubled youth, until he studied drama in the American College in Switzerland and the University of Miami.

Before his big break, Stallone worked while studying at the American College.

He worked as a gym teacher in the school to earn some spending money.

Kevin Spacey – Teacher of Theater

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image source: Huffingtonpost.com

Famous actor Kevin Spacey has appeared in various highly-acclaimed films like Pay it Forward and TV shows like House of Cards.

He was a studious kid, and graduated valedictorian from Chatsworth High School.

Spacey performed in several musicals, and tried to pursue comedy as a profession.

Eventually, he went to Julliard to study acting.

After many successful years as an actor, Spacey was made a visiting professor at the University of Oxford where he took over from Sir Patrick Stewart in 2008.

Spacey taught contemporary theater at the university’s St. Catherine College, where he taught one class every term.

James Franco – Taught Film-making and Screenwriting

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image source: Usatoday.com

We all know that underneath that matinee idol smile is a literary and film nerd.

James Franco was never the type to stop learning and earning degrees.

As a young teenager, he was a delinquent and faced the possibility of getting placed in a rehab center.

Fortunately, he cleaned up his act and went to the University of California, Los Angeles to study English.

Then, he also went to study and earn a degree at New York University, Columbia University, Brooklyn College, and Yale University.

He wasn’t done with academia, though.

Franco also taught film classes at various schools: New York University, UCLA, University of Southern California, and Palo Alto High School.

Kanye West – Teacher of Fashion

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image source: Wired.com

Yup, you read that right. Kanye West once taught fashion at a college.

In July 2013, West attacked a photographer at Los Angeles International Airport.

He was charged with misdemeanor criminal battery and attempted grand theft.

This resulted in West being sentenced to 24 months of probation and 250 hours of community service.

So what did he do to fulfill his community service?

Kanye was tasked to teach fashion at the Los Angeles Trade Technical College starting June 2014.

It probably wasn’t as painful as he expected, as the students were psyched with being taught by a fashionable musician, who talked about creativity, footwear, and style.

Questlove– Taught Music

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image source: Biography.com

Another musician teaching young minds is Questlove, the drummer of The Roots.

Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson was invited by NYU in 2012 to teach about music, after a blog post on NPR went live.

The post invited interns to review classic albums, one of which was an early hip-hop album that paved the way for similar modern music.

The post writer’s dismissive comment about the album prompted Questlove to talk about the importance of such classic albums.

This was noticed by Jason King, an associate professor at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, who thought that Questlove had the know-how, passion, and experience to teach their students about Classic Albums.

The course included learning about albums by Led Zeppelin, Prince, Michael Jackson, and others.

Spike Lee – Teacher of Filmmaking

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image source courtesy: LATimes.com

Spike Lee, actor, producer, and director of hits like Malcolm X, 25th Hour, Do the Right Thing, and more, also taught his passion.

This highly-acclaimed celebrity was born to a teacher of arts and literature and a jazz musician and composer.

He actually made his first film in college when he went to Morehouse College, a historically black school.

Lee went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in mass communications at Morehouse, and a master’s degree at NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

While working on his films, he also taught college students. He started in Harvard in 1991, where he taught a course on filmmaking.

Next, he taught at NYU in 1993, where he was made the artistic director of NYU’s graduate film program in 2002.

Alec Baldwin – Taught Acting Workshop

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image source: msnbc.com

Alec Baldwin is a famous actor, known to many for his roles in Beetlejuice, The Hunt for Red October, The Aviator, and The Cooler, among others.

With so many acting credentials under his belt, it was no surprise that Baldwin was invited to teach at Stony Brook Southampton of the SUNY at Stony Brooke.

There, he taught a two-day master-class in acting.

He also taught five summer acting workshops at Southampton College of Long Island University from 2003 to 2008.

But before that, you should know that Baldwin was also a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts.

Paul Simon (Simon & Garfunkel) – Taught Songwriting

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image courtesy: RollingStone.com

The other half of the Simon & Garfunkel duo, Simon went into teaching after his career in music.

Art Garfunkel did the same.

He taught briefly at a high school, since he did earn a PhD in mathematics education at Teachers College, Columbia University during the group’s separation.

Simon taught songwriting at New York University in 1971.

According to one student, he had been nervous, and spent his time dissecting his students’ lyrics and drawing comparisons to his own work.

His heart wasn’t totally into it and he eventually went back to producing and composing music that went on to garner Grammy awards.

Tyra Banks – Teaching Entrepreneurship

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image source: People.com

Tyra Banks, successful model, talk show host, and entrepreneur is now part of the teaching staff at Stanford University.

Following in Oprah Winfrey’s footsteps, in August of 2016, Banks accepted as a lecturer on entrepreneurship.

She took the position of personal branding lecturer at the prestigious private university.

Who better to teach the course, titled, “Project You: Building and Extending Your Personal Brand” than Banks herself?

Banks began modeling at a young age.

She then went on to make appearances in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Coyote Ugly, and Gossip Girl.

Then, of course, she went on to hosting the hit reality TV series America’s Next Top Model.

Banks initially didn’t go to college because she already had so many projects, but she finally attended the prestigious college Harvard University to earn a degree in business to start her own companies.

Rob Clark
 

SchoolCampus.org admin staff managing editor

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