When prospective college students decide where they want to receive a higher education, they might look at the school’s alumni and see who are the brightest and best graduates. While a large amount of notable people have earned degrees from OU, only the top of the class at this university were able to get where they are today by leaving Athens as fast as they could — sans degree. Here are OU’s most successful alumni who were able to achieve greatness by either dropping out or getting kicked out before getting their degree.
One of the most famous journalists in the U.S., Today Show host Matt Lauer came from humble beginnings as a student of OU’s School of Media Arts and Studies (then the School of Telecommunications). But when the proud OU alumnus got the chance to become a television producer at a local TV station in West Virginia, Lauer dropped out of OU and ended up finding success only Scripps graduates can dream of as a result. Although he ended up receiving his degree from OU 18 years later, he can thank his decision to enter the tough journalism field without a degree for his success.
Whoever predicted that OU alumnus Arsenio Hall would end up becoming the groundbreaking comedian, actor and late-night television host propelled to stardom in the ‘80s and ’90s? And whoever predicted it would happen because Hall decided to transfer and graduate from Kent State University so he could be closer to home? If that inspiring story leaves you with dry eyes, you’re inhuman.
It’s a little-known fact that Ed O’Neill, who played Al Bundy in the famous ‘90s TV show “Married… with Children” and currently plays Jay Pritchett on “Modern Family,” used to go to OU. He was more focused on his football career and partying in Athens (shock!) than academics, which led to him getting kicked out. This eventually led to him enrolling in Youngstown State University and getting involved with the school’s theatre program, which brought him into the acting world. OU’s influence has spread all over the world, from Youngstown State University to Hollywood!
Even as the everlasting voice of Bart Simpson on “The Simpsons,” Nancy Cartwright has never forgotten her roots. While it took two years at OU, she was finally put on the right path after transferring to UCLA during her junior year to work on becoming the talented voice actress she is today. She told Athens to “eat my shorts,” and Bobcats could not be prouder.
Paul Newman is one of the most important American icons of the past 100 years, and we have nothing but his inability to get a degree from OU to thank. Newman enrolled in OU in 1943 but ended up getting expelled, supposedly as a result of rolling a beer keg into the university president’s car. He would later study at Kenyon College, the Yale School of Drama and the Actors Studio before starring in movies such as “Butch Cassidy, The Sundance Kid” and “The Color of Money,” the latter netting him an Oscar for Best Actor. The next Paul Newman might be getting expelled from OU right now!
Richard Dean Anderson
Even though MacGyver can make almost anything out of ordinary objects, it looks like there’s one thing that he finds useless: a degree from Ohio University. Richard Dean Anderson, the star of the “MacGyver” TV series and many other shows and movies in the Stargate series, studied acting at OU before dropping out to continue his acting career in Manhattan and Los Angeles. Some accounts even state that while at OU, he felt “listless” as an actor and dropped out as a result. OU Oh Yeah!
Vine mogul and rising Hollywood actor Logan Paul didn’t get where he was all by himself. It took all of one year as a student at Ohio University to realize that leaving us all behind to move to Hollywood was his life calling. The would-be class of 2017 graduate has four motion pictures set to release while his former classmates work toward college degrees and marginally less recognition.