Kanye West is a notorious college dropout and even gave himself that moniker on his debut album. Nonetheless, the rapper gave a speech last night at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. West spoke as part of the DONDA Design Lecture Series and was joined by Kim Kardashian, who sat in the audience with a huge smile on her face. She posted photos of his speech on Instagram and wrote, “My baby speaking at the Harvard Graduate of Design.” West also performed a concert in Boston later that night.
The rapper isn’t the only celebrity to speak at Harvard, though. From giving commencement speeches to accepting awards, here are seven other A-listers who took to the podium and addressed students and faculty at the prestigious university.
1. Oprah Winfrey
The OWN Network star delivered Harvard’s commencement speech last May, telling students that “the key to life is to develop an internal moral, emotional G.P.S.”
2. Matt Damon
Damon attended Harvard for four years, but dropped out in 1992. He returned to campus last April to collect the university’s prestigious Arts Medal and gave an acceptance speech to a packed hall.
3. Conan O’Brien
The late night host graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1985 with a degree in U.S. History. He delivered the comment speech in 2000 and urged the graduating class to not be afraid of failure. “My mistakes have been necessary. I’ve dwelled on my failures today because, as graduates of Harvard, your biggest liability is your need to succeed, your need to always find yourself on the sweet side of the bell curve,” he said. “Success is a lot like a bright white tuxedo. You feel terrific when you get it, but then you’re desperately afraid of getting it dirty, of spoiling it.”
4. Amy Poehler
The actor addressed the class of 2011 during their Class Day and urged students to live life by the rules of improve comedy: “Listen. Say yes. Live in the moment. Make sure you play with people who have your back. Make big choices early and often. Don’t start a scene where two people are talking about jumping out of a plane — start the scene having already jumped.”
5. Lady Gaga
Gaga launched her Born This Way Foundation at Harvard University in February 2012, joining Oprah Winfrey for the speech about her charity work to address issues like “self-confidence, well being [and] anti-bullying.”
6. Seth MacFarlane
The Family Guy creator managed to get in several show references while speaking to the Harvard Class of 2006. “Although you are graduating and moving on to those uncharted new frontiers of adult life, never leave behind that sense of experimentation, that bareback sense of adventure and openness,” he said. “Stay young and keep looking at the world with a sense of wide-legged wonder. Giggity, giggity … and good luck to you all.”
7. Will Ferrell
Ferrell spoke at Harvard’s Class Day in 2003 and delivered one of the funniest speeches the university has ever heard. "You are about to enter a world where you aren't allowed to use your cell phones on airplanes, during live theatre, at the movies, at funerals, or even during your own elective surgery,” he joked. “Apparently the Berlin wall just went up because we now live in Russia."