He may not play a doctor in any of his movies, but Academy Award-winning actor and director Ben Affleck could very well start using the title after receiving an honorary doctorate from Brown University this weekend.
Affleck was awarded a doctor of fine arts degree during the Ivy League institution’s 245th commencement in Providence on Sunday, May 26. Five others — including Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz — also received honorary doctorates.
“This is a spectacular honor for me. Not only for the education, but now I surpass Matt Damon,” the 40-year-old joked. Affleck’s buddy Damon received the 2013 Harvard Arts Medal last month. The 42-year-old attended the university from 1988 to 1992, but dropped out.
Affleck also shared a brief anecdote of daughter Violet’s thoughts on her dad’s honorary degree.
“My daughter is 7, and she said ‘why are you doing that, Dad? You went to no classes and did no homework,’” Affleck said.
The day turned out to be even more spectacular for Eve Gail Hoffman, who was chosen to represent the Doctor of Medicine degree recipients. Hoffman shook hands university President Christina Paxson, and then went back to get a hug from Affleck.
Hoffman said she was nervous that someone else would get the hug first, but not that Affleck would turn her down.
“You only get to become a doctor once, so I knew he wouldn’t turn me down,” the D.C. native said, adding that earning her degree and getting a hug from the actor combined to make it “the best day of my life.”
In addition to Affleck and Diaz, retired Stanford University bacteriologist Stanley Falkow, Tougaloo College President Beverly Wade Hogan, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, and Miami Dade College President Eduardo Padron also received their honorary doctorates. In total, Brown University conferred 2,419 degrees — including 1,554 to undergraduates — over the course of three days.
What do you think of Ben Affleck getting an honorary doctorate from Brown?