Stereotypes are not always accurate, something these nine well-known folks can attest to. While many academia elitists view time spent at a community college as a waste, these people have not only gone on to be successful, some of them have made enough money to buy their alma mater three times over. The following celebrities spent time in community college, proving that apples can fall as far from the tree as the wind carries them.

1. Tom Hanks

Chabot College, Hayward, CA

Tom Hanks is the quintessential actor of the last 30 years, putting up a slew of amazing performances, cementing himself as one of the all-time greats. However there was a time when he couldn't even be cast in a play, and that time was spent at Chabot College.
Tom Hanks, Chabot College
Hanks frequently jokes about his inability to be cast in play productions during college, but blames it on having no experience. Hanks went to Chabot to study acting for the first time in his life, and ended up dropping-out of California State University three years later to pursue an internship with the Great Lakes Theatre Festival. Though he has not gone back to finish his bachelor's degree, he seems to have done just fine for himself with the associate's degree acquired from Chabot College.

2. Sarah Palin

North Idaho Community College, Coeur d'Alene, ID

Palin obtained a four-year degree in communications with an emphasis in journalism in 1987, but not before studying at North Idaho Community College from 1982-1983.
Sarah Palin, North Idaho Community College
Although she graduated from the University of Idaho, Palin completed a solid portion of her course work at North Idaho Community College. Studying from her dorm room, gazing out her window at the quad, the campus, and Russia, Palin had no idea she would have to put those communication skills to the test one day on the largest scale imaginable. (To be fair, we don't remember much of our majors either.)

3. Halle Berry

Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland, OH

Nicknamed "Tri-C" (by themselves), Cuyahoga Community College caters to Cleveland's curriculum-loving kids. One such higher education-seeker was Halle Berry.
Halle Berry, Cuyahoga Community College
Halle Berry, Cuyahoga Community College
Although her time pursuing a college degree was cut short by her impending super-stardom, Berry spent a fair amount of time studying at Cuyahoga. Eventually leaving to pursue a career in modeling, she has since become a successful model, spokeswoman, and actress.

4. Ross Perot

Texarkana Junior College, Texarkana, TX

Growing up in the most fun-to-say geographical location ever, Ross Perot was born in Texarkana, attended Texarkana Junior College before entering the Naval Academy after leaving Texarkana in 1949.
Ross Perot, Texarkana Junior College
Ross Perot, Texarkana Junior College
In a nutshell, Perot graduated, founded one of the most rapidly successful companies of all time, sold it for a boatload to General Motors, then founded a different company and sold that one for a boatload to Dell, making him worth approximately 4 billion dollars. He is arguably the wealthiest human being ever to attend community college.

5. Jackie Robinson

Pasadena Junior College, Pasadena, CA

Before becoming the first athlete ever to letter in four sports at UCLA, Jackie Robinson displayed an overwhelming amount of athleticism at Pasadena Junior College.
Jackie Robinson, Pasadena Junior College
Though remembered as the first African American to break the color barrier in baseball, Robinson was actually incredibly talented at baseball, basketball, football, and track, making him a rare quadruple threat. His perseverance and success proved that you can be a professional athlete and an historical icon, regardless of race.

6. Billy Crystal

Nassau Community College, Garden City, NY

Before graduating from NYU with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fine Arts, Billy Crystal spent some time in community college as a Fighting Nassauian (uh, not their real mascot).
Billy Crystal, Nassau Community College
Nassau Community College is located in New York, and prides itself on academic excellence, and ease of transferability. Not only did it provide an education for Billy Crystal, but it also did the same for Steve Buscemi, Eddie Murphy, and John Moschitta, Jr. Moschitta is better known as the fast-talking Micro Machines spokesman, with whom Billy Crystal performed while at Nassau. Although these actors all went on to have very different careers, they all had very similar beginnings.

7. Kirby Puckett

Triton College, River Grove, IL

Any baseball fan in the Chicagoland area can easily make a visit to Kirby Puckett Field, located on the Triton College campus in River Grove, Illinois.
Kirby Puckett, Triton College
Kirby Puckett, Triton College
Although Puckett died at the age of 46 in 2006, his legacy as one of the all-time baseball greats is secured in the Hall of Fame and in the rafters of wherever-the-Twins-play-now Field. A true inspiration for any young athlete not accepted into the four-year college of their choice, Puckett proved that if you are capable of making a big splash, it doesn't matter that you're in a small pond.

8. Clint Eastwood

Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles, CA

A man's man from the word "punk," Clint Eastwood originally intended on studying music theory at Seattle University, but a twist of fate found him drafted into the US Army, safeguarding movie stars during the Korean War.
Clint Eastwood, Los Angeles City College
Once out of the war, Eastwood moved to LA, married his girlfriend, enrolled in Los Angeles City College, and then proceeded to spend the next 60 years kicking ass and taking names. While a career in television and film quickly gave Eastwood reason to not pursue a four-year degree, his time spent at LACC proves that even cowboys think learning is cool.

9. Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger

Holy Cross College, Notre Dame, IN

Rudy's dyslexia, and the limited time his parents had to help him with schoolwork, didn't help him to earn a scholarship. He ended up going to community college, paying his own way with two full-time jobs. After three rejections from the University of Notre Dame, Rudy was ready to resign himself to a community college education, and a lifetime of power plant work.
Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, Holy Cross College
Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, Holy Cross College
As the third of 14 children, "Rudy" dared to dream of Notre Dame, even after the three rejections. At 5'6" and 165 pounds, he dared to dream of a position on The Fighting Irish, and he never let his community college background limit his abilities and drive. In 1974, Rudy was on The Fighting Irish, dressed for that famous last game, proving to the world that his educational background didn't matter at all.


While not all community colleges spawn superstars and athletes, many of them can, and do. Two year schools, like community and junior colleges, offer an affordable place for students to learn while discovering their true calling. As the list of examples continues to grow, so do the reasons to attend a college. Any college. Continue to dream of your eventual destiny, and hope that your industry and passion lead you there.