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Wednesday, 15 May, 2002, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK
Spielberg finally to graduate
Steven Spielberg with wife Kate Capshaw at the 1999 Oscars
Spielberg won an Oscar for Saving Private Ryan
Steven Spielberg is about to graduate from California State University, 33 years after he dropped out to start his film career.

The legendary director enrolled at the university's Long Beach campus in 1965 but left three years later without finishing his studies.

After re-enrolling nearly a year ago, Spielberg topped up his credits, the points necessary to gain an American undergraduate degree.

I wanted to accomplish this for many years as a 'thank you' to my parents

Steven Spielberg
He now plans to attend the graduation ceremont in cap and gown.

In a statement, Spielberg quipped: "Completing the requirements for my degree 33 years after finishing my principal education marks my longest post-production schedule."

Unable to attend normal classes, the 55-year-old director wrote essays, worked on independent projects and consulted with professors to receive his degree in film and electronic arts, according to his spokesman, Marvin Levy.

Spielberg continued: "I wanted to accomplish this for many years as a 'thank you' to my parents for giving me the opportunity for an education and a career, and as a personal note for my own family - and young people everywhere - about the importance of achieving their college education goals.

No speech

"But I hope they get there quicker than I did."

Spielberg will not be a special guest or make a speech, instead deciding to sit with the other students at the 31 May graduation ceremony, said Robert Maxson, the university president.

"It's pretty obvious that his motive in returning to school was not financial or career driven," Maxson said.

ET captivated a generation
"It's a wonderful endorsement of college education."

Only 5,000 of the university's 6,000 graduates this term were expected to attend the ceremony, although Spielberg's presence may prompt a full house.

After leaving university, Spielberg worked in television during the early 1970s, making his first film Duel - an intense road movie - in 1971.

Records broken

But he sealed his fame with Jaws and went on to direct ET, Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan amongst a galaxy of other hits.

His Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jurassic Park series have broken box office records.

The director has several honorary degrees and three Oscars - two for Schindler's List and another for Saving Private Ryan.

He also co-founded the studio DreamWorks SKG with partners David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Spielberg's sci-fi adventure Minority Report is released on 21 June, and he recently finished filming the Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks crime drama Catch Me If You Can.

See also:

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10 Sep 01 | TV and Radio
Spielberg epic fails to impress
31 Jul 01 | Reviews
Jurassic Park III lacks bite
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