No Joke: Jimmy Fallon Finally Gets His College Diploma

05/10/2009 at 10:50 AM EDT

No Joke: Jimmy Fallon Finally Gets His College Diploma
Jimmy Fallon
Hans Pennink/AP
Talk about your slow learners.

It's been 17 years in the making, but Jimmy Fallon finally received his bachelor's degree in communications from the College of Saint Rose in Albany, N.Y., Saturday. The NBC Late Night host, 34, was one of 1,800 students who donned a cap and gown and marched to the Pomp and Circumstance at the university's commencement ceremony at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

In addition to picking up his communications degree, the funnyman served as the keynote speaker and spoke to his fellow graduates.

"There's always going to be someone out there like that movie critic, who doesn't believe in you or who thinks your head is too big or you're not smart enough," Fallon told the graduates. "But those are the people you need to ignore, and those are the times you need to just keep doing what you love doing."

The Saturday Night Live alum attended St. Rose from 1992 through 1995 but decided to drop out just one semester short of graduating to pursue a comedy career in Los Angeles.

In order to graduate, Fallon presented college officials a portfolio of his work on TV and film that illustrated he had learned and fulfilled the college's core curriculum through his real-life experience, which satisfied remaining credits.

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