It's not all work all the time. I'm a big Simpsons fan, as my students will tell you, and it's an intelligent show with lots of college references (writers have included Harvard-educated Conan O"Brien, among others). I use this list with cast cutouts in a hall exhibit I put up late in the year. It gerts kids laughing adn helps relieve some of the seriousness of the moment.
The Simpsons in Academia:
Character Education (or Lack Thereof…)
In its 16th year, The Simpsons is still going strong. And some of them have impressive, if suspicious, academic pedigrees or aspirations. Just for a laugh, here are some of them.
Lionel Hutz, “attorney”: "Harvard, Yale, MIT, Oxford, the Sorbonne, the Louvre..." and many supposed others, however briefly...
Dr. Nick Riviera: Hollywood Upstairs Medical College; Club Med School; Mayo Clinic Correspondence School
Mr. Burns: Yale ("I say let Harvard have its sports and academics. Yale will always be first in gentlemanly conduct.") He was Skull and Bones, as was Laddie the dog.
Sideshow Bob Terwilliger went to Yale also.
Herb Powell, Homer's half brother, worked his way through Harvard washing dishes and scrubbing toilets.
Santa's Little Helper nearly flunked out of Emily Winthrop's Canine College, graduating by the skin of his teeth
Cecil Terwilliger (Sideshow Bob's brother) went to "Clown College" ("I wish you wouldn't refer to Princeton that way.")
Kirk van Houten (Milhouse’s dad) went to Gudger College
Lisa laments that she "won't even" get into Vassar if she doesn't get to go to school (Homer replies: "That's enough of your Vassar-bashing, young lady!") In a dream, she is also tempted to throw a spelling bee by the Seven Sisters schools…
Otto almost got tenure at Brown.
Freddy Quimby: Dropped out of fourth grade
Nerds Benjamin, Doug and Gary are getting their degrees from Springfield University, where they tried to help Homer get certified for the NRC. Others on the show have attended Springfield Heights Institute of Technology, which you don't want to abbreviate...
Homer gets a degree from Springfield University by cheating. SU’s motto is “If you were enrolled here, you’d be home by now.” Upon graduating, he says, “Woo hoo! I’m a college man! I won’t need my high school diploma anymore!”
Apu Nahasapeemapetilon graduated at the top of his class of several hundred thousand at Caltech (Calcutta Technical Institute).
Lenny has a master’s degree in nuclear physics.
Dr. Julius Hibbert: Baylor University
Larry Burns, Mr. Burns' illegitimate son: Couldn’t quite get into Yale, despite his father’s help (“Yale DOES need an international airport, Mr. Burns!”)
Superintendent Chalmers went to Ball State University (although he grew up in Utica, New York)
Mother Simpson: Student radical at Springfield State College (now in hiding)
Comic Book Guy: Master’s degree in folklore and mythology at an undisclosed institution
Dr. Foster: Uses the University of Minnesota Spankological Protocol to help “cure” Ned Flanders
Snake: Middlebury (On robbing Moe’s Bar he exclaims, “All riiiight! No more student loans!”)
Lindsey Naegle: MBA from Wharton
Frank Grimes (“Homer’s Enemy”) got a correspondence-school diploma in nuclear physics “with a minor in determination.”
Many of the Itchy & Scratchy writing staff have their degrees from Harvard (and can sing "Fair Harvard" when forced to by Roger Meyers)
Professor Lombardo (Marge’s art teacher) teaches at Springfield Community College.
Bartender Moe Szyslak went to Swigmore U.
Feminist Ashley Grant (“Homer Badman” episode) is getting her graduate degree at Springfield University.
Brad Goodman, self-help guru, has a PhD in pain...
College Access Counseling
My firm, College Access Counseling, Ltd., works with adults and organizations who counsel and support first-generation and minority students on the way to college. I teach the ins and outs of the college process, helping them build social and cultural capital for their students. Click here for more information. I also write for NACAC's blog, Admitted. You can read my entries as well as some of my colleagues', here. Click here to read one of my entries in the New York Times's blog, The Choice.
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Books About College, Teens, and American Culture
- A History of American Higher Education
- A Hope in the Unseen
- Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic
- African Americans and College Choice
- Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture
- Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men
- Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers
- Campus Life
- College Access & Opportunity Guide
- College Admissions and the Public Interest
- College Admissions Together: It Takes a Family
- College Gold: The Step by Step Guide for Paying for College
- College Knowledge: What It Really Takes for Students to Succeed and What We Can Do to Get Them Ready
- College Unranked: Ending the College Admissions Frenzy
- Colleges that Change Lives
- Contradictions of School Reform: Educational Costs of Standardized Testing
- Doing School: How We are Creating a Generation of Stressed-out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students
- First in the Family
- Fiske Guide to Colleges
- Going to College: How Social, Economic, and Educational Factors Influence the Decisions Students Make
- Harvard, Schmarvard
- Higher Learning, Greater Good: The Private & Social Benefits of Higher Education
- Huck's Raft: A History of American Childhood
- I Am Charlotte Simmons
- Increasing Access to College:
- Less Stress, More Success: A New Approach to Guiding Your Teen Through College Admission and Beyond
- Leveling the Playing Field: Justice, Politics, and College Admissions
- Life: The Movie: How Entertainment Conquered America
- Limbo: Blue-Collar Roots, White-Collar Dreams
- Looking Beyond the Ivy League
- Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions
- Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class
- Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
- Race and Class Matters at an Elite College
- Rescuing Your Teenager From Depression
- Shakespeare, Einstein, and the Bottom Line: The Marketing of Higher Education
- Sophomore Guide to College & Career: Preparing for life After High School
- Standardized Minds: The High Price of America's Testing Culture and What We Can Do to Change It
- Status Anxiety
- Taking Time Off
- Tearing Down the Gates: Confronting the Class Divide in American Education
- The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy
- The Bond: Three Young Men Learn to Forgive & Reconnect with Their Fathers
- The Case Against Standardized Testing: Raising the Scores, Ruining the Schools
- The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton
- The Culture of Narcissism
- The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College
- The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in American Life
- The Little College Handbook: A First Generation's Guide to Getting in and Staying In
- The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College
- The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfull a Dream
- The Pressured Child: Helping Your Child Find Success in School and Life
- The Price of Admission: How America's Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges--and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates
- The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids
- The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager
- The Secret Lives of Overachievers
- The Unintended Consequences of High Stakes Testing
- Universities in the Marketplace: The Commercialization of Higher Education
- What Color Is Your Parachute? for Teens