Jessica Chastain Shares Footage of Her Honorary Doctorate Ceremony at Juilliard: ‘Dr. Chastain Has a Nice Ring’

The Oscar winner attended Juilliard from 1999 to 2003 and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts

<p>jessica chastain/Instagram</p> Jessica Chastain poses before she receives her honorary doctorate degree from Juilliard on May 23, 2024

jessica chastain/Instagram

Jessica Chastain poses before she receives her honorary doctorate degree from Juilliard on May 23, 2024

Jessica Chastain is adding a new title to her name: doctor!

On Thursday, May 23, the Zero Dark Thirty actress, 47, received her honorary doctorate from The Juilliard School for her "outstanding contributions" to the fields of film and theater, the university said in an announcement.

Now, two days after the pomp and circumstance, Chastain is giving her Instagram followers a behind-the-scenes look at the ceremony.

After filming the entrance to the school's Irene Diamond Building and showing off her ticket to the ceremony, Chastain could be seen putting on her cap and gown — although she joked her head was too big for the doctoral tam.

"It's too tight," the Oscar-winner could be seen telling staff members who were helping her get ready for her honor. "I have a huge head. It's a shocking thing ... I think it's like long."

After her tam was cut to make it bigger, Chastain posed for photos with the rest of the honorees before marching over to the auditorium for the ceremony, waving goodbye and blowing the camera a kiss before receiving her hood and honorary degree.

"Dr. Chastain has a nice ring to it 🎓," she wrote in the caption of the post. "thank you @juilliardschool for this honor and for the custom hat 🙃 congrats class of 2024!"

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In addition to being an honorary doctor, the Eyes of Tammy Faye actress is also a Juilliard graduate, having received her BFA in 2003. Speaking with The New York Times in 2012, she opened up about moving to New York City from her small northern California town for the first time when she started school in 1999.

"It was hard," she told the Times. "I had never really spent any time in a city like this. But everything I was craving was here. I had never seen a foreign movie, and Lincoln Center was across the street. I was sitting in the cafeteria one day, and Baryshnikov was at my table. It was everything I had dreamed of since I was a little girl."

<p>jessica chastain/Instagram</p> Jessica Chastain walks on the stage at Juilliard on May 23, 2024

jessica chastain/Instagram

Jessica Chastain walks on the stage at Juilliard on May 23, 2024

Related: Céline Dion, Ben Affleck, and More Celebrities Who Have Received Honorary Doctorate Degrees

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Chastain also said that Juilliard was notoriously competitive at the time, and students could be cut at any moment if they weren't doing well.

"I worried all the time about being cut. It was unfounded, because in my second year I actually got a scholarship," Chastain said in the interview, recalling how she hardly hung out with friends because she was studying so much during her college years. "...There was a bar here called Malachy's, where everyone went to hang out, and I think I only went twice in four years. I’m just obsessive. I’d be doing my reading or watching movies. My whole life I wanted to be here, and so when I was, I wanted to suck up every bit of it."

She also had some famous classmates during her time at the school, including Oscar Isaac, her costar in Scenes from a Marriage.

Some of Chastain's other famous friends chimed in underneath her video to send their congratulations on her big academic achievement. Julianne Hough wished her a big "congratulations 👏🙌❤️" and Tatum O'Neal left lots of hearts and praising hands emojis in the comments.

Among the other honorary degree recipients on Thursday were dancer Carolyn Adams, members of the Emerson String Quartet and composer and conductor Tania León.

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