Shortly after Ben Affleck defeated such Hollywood icons as Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee and Quentin Tarantino to win the Golden Globes' award for best director on Sunday, the official news website of Occidental College re-tweeted a laudatory message about the widely popular "Good Will Hunting" star and the film that earned him the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's highest honor.
“Congrats to Ben Affleck & Argo,” read the Oxy message on Twitter. “Fun Fact: his major at #Oxy was Middle Eastern studies.”
The message, which was re-tweeted at least six times, appeared to imply that Affleck is an Occidental alumnus. It wasn’t off the mark—even though the fact is that Affleck, like Oxy's most famous student ever—President Obama—did not graduate from the college.
After transferring from the University of Vermont, Affleck spent a year and a half at Oxy as a full-time student, from January 1992 to June 1993, according to Occidental College Director of Communications Jim Tranquada.
Under the bylaws of the Occidental College Alumni Association, however, Affleck is considered a member of the Class of 1995, Tranquada said.
But was Middle Eastern studies really Affleck’s major? “Our records list his major as ‘undeclared,’ but he easily could have taken courses on Middle Eastern issues offered by the departments of diplomacy and world affairs, and history,” said Tranquada, adding: “Federal privacy laws don't allow us to release specific courses taken by students.”
Here’s a reliable fun fact about the celebrated actor, director and screenwriter: While at Oxy, he lived in a palatial house on a sprawling estate on 2327 Hill Dr., where, along with his lifelong friend and co-star Matt Damon, he co-wrote the script for "Good Will Hunting." After being on the market off and on for a little ore than six years, the house sold in February 2012 for $760,000, down from a May 2011 high of $899,000, according to Redfin, the real estate website. You can see the house in the far-right photo above.