That’s Dr. Diesel, if you please. As if the muscular action star and generally well-liked actor needed any more laurels in what has become a bestselling film career, Vin Diesel was today awarded an honorary Ph.D from his alma mater Hunter College, according to TMZ.
In his acceptance speech, Diesel (real name Mark Sinclair), spoke to the assembly about the challenges he had encountered in his earlier career coming from a multicultural background as Metro reports:
“While I was in Hollywood I always had this pride of Hunter College. I would tell everybody that I learned and took so much away from my experience at Hunter College… I was young, I was a bouncer, when I wasn’t bouncing I was in these classrooms with the most diverse student body on the planet… Nobody was hiring a multicultural kid. You can imagine a movie like Glory… Who are they going to hire you to play? Denzel’s part or Matthew Broderick’s part. The world wasn’t ready yet. We’re strivers. We can overcome anything. You learn that here and you take into the world. And then you can look at Hollywood and change the face of Hollywood. You can literally change the face of Hollywood because of that dignity and pride and willingness to fight.”
While the martial language seems to come naturally to the man who is famous for playing bold, tenacious men, Diesel is considered by many fans and co-workers to be a gentle and even geeky individual in private. Known to be a lifelong fan of fantasy games including Dungeons and Dragons as well as World of Warcraft, the latter which he played along with his late friend and co-star Paul Walker, Diesel has a reputation for his good nature and creative, charitable outlook. With over 100 million Facebook fans of his social media profile, a timeline in which he often shares inspirational quotes, honest moments from his own life and the attendant ups and downs, and other insights, there can be little doubt that his followers across the world are very proud of the man today.
This achievement is perhaps made even more poignant by the fact that Diesel had to depart from his studies at Hunter College 30 years ago, leaving without finishing his degree in order to find work as an actor. It appears that the decision has paid off, with his resume telling a story both of great adversity and of great triumph – his star having risen from small productions to Saving Private Ryan, finally transforming him into a world-famous superstar with the success of Pitch Black and later, The Fast and the Furious.
The Doctor of Humane Letters is a doctoral degree often conferred upon a candidate who has distinguished themselves in areas uncommon to the stricter, traditional academic divisions of Arts and Sciences, Literature and Government.
Vin Diesel’s career has been a fairly long and storied one, showing no signs of age as he is set to lead the cast of Fast & Furious 9 in 2020 alongside veteran co-star Tyrese Gibson. He is perhaps also best known for his portrayal of stoic anti-hero Riddick from the science fiction franchise bearing the same name.