The actor, 35, a 1997 Georgetown grad, described his euphoria upon visiting the college as a high-school student. "I swear to God, Socrates was teaching in the corner, and there were tons of Frisbees and Golden Retrievers. All the women were from California," he said. "And then I got rejected."
After a year at Villanova, Cooper managed to transfer to his dream school, where he was an English major in the honors program. And soon he got bitten by the acting bug in a Georgetown production of Dangerous Liaisons.
The star of Wedding Crashers and The Hangover exhorted students not to be afraid of failure. "Just fall on your face," he said. "Who cares? Really, it's the only way you're going to learn. God help you if you never fail."
For their part, the students were more interested in the heartthrob actor's personal effects than his professional experience. According to student newspaper the Hoya, one student asked for, and received, his water bottle. Another asked him to take off his shirt. Cooper, who is dating Renée Zellweger, declined. So, the student asked for a sock instead.
He politely turned down one student's request for him to escort her to the school's Diplomatic Ball next spring. And when another stepped to the podium, she prefaced her question by simply declaring: "I just want to say that you're the most gorgeous man on earth."