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Did Kevin James Go to College?

With roles as both a mall cop and zookeeper, Kevin James often plays lovable characters that aren’t always distinguished by their intellect. While his acting roles may not typically scream “university grad,” did the comedic star himself go to college?

State University of New York

Yes! Kevin James went to college at the State University of New York at Cortland (SUNY). Despite some of the actor’s most iconic roles being that of overweight, unathletic characters, the star is also a former college athlete.

In high school, James was a wrestler and football player and he continued his football career at SUNY while majoring in sports management. From his collegiate interests, James’s life was seemingly headed toward a career involving sports.

What Was College Like for Kevin James?

Kevin hasn’t made much comment on his life in college. There isn’t much information regarding whether he was a good student, a big partier, etc. Answers are few and far between considering the common questions that fans typically have about the academic lives of celebrities.

There is no record of James being on academic probation or any other misdemeanors. That said, it’s safe to assume that James was an average, well-rounded student. 

Did He Want to Act During College?

While enrolled at SUNY, James suffered a permanent back injury that caused him to be unable to continue playing football. His injury ended his sports career but wasn’t quite the push he needed to spark a career shift to comedy and acting. 

What made James consider comedy as an outlet was a public speaking class that he took in at SUNY. Through the class, James realized his love for the stage; he was a natural-born public speaker. 

Did Kevin Ever Graduate from College?

While back home in Long Island in the summer of 1989, James tested his talents on a community theatre production stage, where he performed a comedic role. Following closely behind the performance, the star fell in love with comedy. James shortly began doing improv at an east side comedy club with his brother.

During one of his nights at the comedy club, James was offered a five-minute time slot to take a shot at stand-up comedy. He ultimately killed his first set and soon became a regular at the club. James knew his talents lied in comedy and decided not to return to school the next semester. 

Why Did Kevin James Quit College?

With his permanent back injury, James couldn’t continue football. He quickly realized that the one thing that had initially brought him to college had been taken away from him–there was no incentive for him to return.

It’s unclear how long James pursued a college degree, but we know that he never ended up graduating. Instead, James dropped out to pursue his comedy career.


Kevin James wasn’t always a comedian. The beloved star once studied sports management in college; however, there was no way that he could have avoided his true calling. James’s comedy career wouldn’t have ignited if it weren’t for the public speaking class he enrolled in, and we can all be thankful for that.

Despite never finishing school, Kevin James seems to have successfully employed those public-speaking skills that he discovered in college to the big screen.

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  • Ariele is an honor graduate from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a theatre arts BA. She’s a freelance writer who especially loves humor and travel writing. When she’s not writing she’s crafting and thrifting.

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