WTF Fun Fact 13197 – Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Credits

Did you know Steven Spielberg was a college dropout? Well, in any case, he returned to his college, Cal State – Long Beach, when he was in his 50s to earn his BA degree. But the story of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic credits is less well-known.

A director drops out of college – and comes back

Speilberg has been given some honorary degrees over the years and spoke at a commencement or two. For example, he spoke at Harvard’s 2016 graduation ceremony. It was there he revealed his own college story.

He told students and their parent’s about his own graduation, just 14 years earlier.

Spielberg began college in his teens but was then offered his dream job at Universal Studios in his sophomore year. He told his parents that if his movie career failed, he would re-enroll.

But it didn’t happen quite like that. It did, however, take him 37 years to finally graduate.

He told the audience:

“…eventually, I returned for one big reason. Most people go to college for an education, and some go for their parents, but I went for my kids. I’m the father of seven, and I kept insisting on the importance of going to college, but I hadn’t walked the walk. So, in my fifties, I re-enrolled at Cal State — Long Beach, and I earned my degree.”

Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic credits

It’s probably a lot easier to master college and its demands when you’re wealthy and have nothing to lose. But that’s not an attempt to diminish his achievement (just a nod to college students out there still grinding away)!

Another thing that helped the Hollywood director? Spielberg told that Harvard grads that he was given three credits in paleontology for making Jurassic Park.

Now, if you’ve seen Jurassic Park, you know there’s some sketchy molecular biology in there, but we’re hoping they got the paleontology right!

Regardless, Spielberg finished up his degree in film production. And we’re guessing he had a pretty high GPA by the end – at least in his major!

Here are some other words of advice he had to offer:

“And the way you create a better future is by studying the past. Jurassic Park writer Michael Crichton, who graduated from both this college and this medical school, liked to quote a favorite professor of his who said that if you didn’t know history, you didn’t know anything. You were a leaf that didn’t know it was part of a tree. So history majors: Good choice, you’re in great shape…Not in the job market, but culturally.”

Hey, we know an awful lot of history majors working in museums, journalism, marketing, politics, and law! We even know some who work as consultants on movie sets, Spielberg!  WTF fun facts

Source: “Steven Spielberg to Grads: ‘Earn This'” — TIME

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WTF Fun Fact 12425 – Dolly Parton’s Graduation Gift

In 1991, actress and country music legend Dolly Parton and The Dollywood Foundation decided to address the high school dropout rate in her hometown of Sevierville, Tennessee.

According to her website: “In the early 1990s, there was a dropout problem in Sevier County schools. Over 30% of all students never graduated a decision which not only crippled their own lives but made it increasingly difficult for Sevier County to prosper.”

Research from The Dollywood Foundation suggested that many students’ decisions about whether to graduate were rooted in their experiences in seventh and eighth grades. So it made sense to target these students for special encouragement. Parton herself suggested a monetary award.

The Buddy Program, as it came to be called, was announced to students that same year.

Her website explains: “In 1991, seventh and eighth-grade students were invited to a special assembly in the newly built Dolly Parton Celebrity Theatre at Dollywood…Dolly told the students that day she wanted each of them to choose a Buddy, and if they didn’t have a Buddy, she would find one for them. She went on to make a very special announcement: she offered to personally give $500 to each and every student in the seventh and eighth grades if they graduated from high school. However, there was one additional requirement: each student’s Buddy must graduate as well, and they had to sign a contract to pledge to do everything they could to make sure both graduated.”

The reward ensured that students would be both encouraged to graduate and stay accountable to one another in order to receive the money. And it worked!

The dropout rate went from 30% to 6%. – WTF Fun Facts

Source: “Dolly launches ‘The Buddy Program’ in Sevier County, Tenn., to tackle local dropout rates” — DollyParton.com