James Franco isn’t going to make it to the University of Houston to study creative writing next fall, but he did come to the University of Texas at Arlington on Friday.
As the Fort Worth Star-Telegram first reported, the actor, writer, director and performance artist was the featured speaker at the school’s “graduation celebration,” apparently because he is, as the school’s press release noted, “an education advocate.”
In between his acting jobs, Franco (127 Hours, Pineapple Express) received a degree from UCLA, and also has done graduate work at Columbia University, Brooklyn College, NYU, and Yale.
The 34-year-old told the students, “be excellent to each other,” and “go back.” (Just kidding. Cinephiles will get the joke.) In fact, Franco spoke for ten minutes about his love of education and his restless academic spirit.
Graduating “is such a good feeling that I’ve been chasing it for the past six years,” joked Franco, who is still working to add a PhD to his bachelor’s and his MFA. “I’m privileged to be with you to get a state of that sweet graduation feeling. To be completely honest I’m already getting a contact high.”
Franco also made a number of self-deprecating references to his myriad pursuits, as well the “deep brown eyes, flawless hair [and] chiseled good looks” of UT-Arlington president James D. Spaniolo.