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Celeb: Meryl Streep School: Vassar College in Poughkeepsie (Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Meryl Streep
School: Vassar College in Poughkeepsie
Class notes: The world can thank the Hudson Valley for providing Streep with the education that has helped her achieve three Academy Awards and 17 Oscar nominations overall. The 1971 Vassar grad returned to deliver one of the speeches at the commencement ceremony in 1983.

Celebrities who attended Hudson Valley colleges

Not every Hollywood hopeful immediately hops on a bus to California in hopes of landing fame and fortune. Some first head to Hudson Valley colleges and universities to hone their craft -- or at least to escape their hometowns -- en route to stardom. Here's a look at more than three dozen actors, singers, comedians, hosts and other public figures who hit the books before hitting it big. -Chris Serico and Kirthana Ramisetti

Celeb:Adam “MCA” Yauch School:Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson Class
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb:Adam “MCA” Yauch
School:Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson
Class notes: The Beastie Boys singer attended Vassar College in Annandale-on-Hudson for six months.

Celeb:Aida Turturro School:SUNY New Paltz Class notes: Emmy-nominated
(Credit: Lee Fryd)

Celeb:Aida Turturro
School:SUNY New Paltz
Class notes: Emmy-nominated for playing Tony Soprano’s sister Janice on "The Sopranos," Turturro graduated from SUNY New Paltz in 1984.

Celeb: Anne Hathaway School: Vassar College in Poughkeepsie
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Anne Hathaway
School: Vassar College in Poughkeepsie
Class notes: After appearing in "The Princess Diaries," the Academy Award-nominated actress spent a year at Vassar, where she planned to major in English and minor in women's studies, but left to return to acting full time.

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Celeb:Aviva Drescher School:Vassar College in Poughkeepsie Class notes:
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb:Aviva Drescher
School:Vassar College in Poughkeepsie
Class notes: The "Real Housewives of New York City" bragged about graduating from Vassar on an episode of her reality series.

Celeb: Barbara Walters School: Sarah Lawrence College in
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Barbara Walters
School: Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville/Yonkers
Class notes: The TV journalist and host not only graduated from Sarah Lawrence College, but also donated $1 million in 2004 to help fund a gallery at the school's visual arts center.

Celeb: Bernie Williams School: Purchase College Class notes:
(Credit: David L. Pokress)

Celeb: Bernie Williams
School: Purchase College
Class notes: After winning four World Series titles with the New York Yankees, the all-star outfielder and Billboard-charting guitarist traded in his bat for a guitar to study composition at Purchase.

Celeb: Bill O'Reilly School: Marist College in Poughkeepsie
(Credit: AP )

Celeb: Bill O'Reilly
School: Marist College in Poughkeepsie
Class notes: A 1971 grad, the host of "The O’Reilly Factor" majored in history and wrote for Marist's newspaper, The Circle.

Celeb: Buzz Aldrin School: U.S. Military Academy at
(Credit: AP)

Celeb: Buzz Aldrin
School: U.S. Military Academy at West Point
Class notes: Before he became the second man to walk on the moon, Aldrin?s first steps involved a bachelor's degree at West Point, where he graduated third in his class and earned a degree in mechanical engineering.

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Celeb: Carly Simon School: Sarah Lawrence College in
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Carly Simon
School: Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville/Yonkers
Class notes: The hitmaking, Oscar-winning singer-songwriter ("Anticipation," "You’re So Vain," "Let the River Run") attended Sarah Lawrence in the '60s.

Celeb:Chevy Chase School:Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson Class notes:
(Credit: AP,)

Celeb:Chevy Chase
School:Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson
Class notes: The "Saturday Night Live" comedian graduated with an English degree from Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, not far from Woodstock, his childhood home.

Celeb:Chris Wedge School:Purchase College Class notes: An Oscar-winning
(Credit: Richard Radstone)

Celeb:Chris Wedge
School:Purchase College
Class notes: An Oscar-winning director, whose credits include the original "Ice Age" movie and 2013's "Epic," Wedge earned his bachelor's degree in film from Purchase College in 1981.

Celeb: Don McLean School: Iona College in New
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Don McLean
School: Iona College in New Rochelle
Class notes: Best known for his hit "American Pie," the singer-songwriter and New Rochelle native graduated from Iona Prep and earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Iona College in 1968.

Celeb: Edie Falco School: Purchase College Class notes:
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Edie Falco
School: Purchase College
Class notes: Before winning Emmy Awards for drama ("The Sopranos") and comedy ("Nurse Jackie"), Falco graduated from the Purchase College, where she befriended fellow actors Stanley Tucci and Ving Rhames.

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Celeb: Emma Roberts School: Sarah Lawrence College in
(Credit: SocietyAllure.com)

Celeb: Emma Roberts
School: Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville/Yonkers
Class notes: Also known as Julia Roberts' niece, the Rhinebeck native and "Scream 4" actress attended Sarah Lawrence for the fall 2011 semester, but deferred shortly thereafter to pursue her movie career.

Celeb: Holly Robinson Peete School: Sarah Lawrence College
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Holly Robinson Peete
School: Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville/Yonkers
Class notes: Before she appeared on "Hangin' With Mr. Cooper" and both the TV and movie versions of "21 Jump Street," the actress graduated with degrees in French and psychology as a member of the Class of 1986.

Celeb: J.J. Abrams School: Sarah Lawrence College in
(Credit: AP )

Celeb: J.J. Abrams
School: Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville/Yonkers
Class notes: Before he helmed "Alias," "Lost" and "Fringe," Abrams collaborated with a fellow Sarah Lawrence student to write a film treatment that became the Jim Belushi movie "Taking Care of Business."

Celeb:James Badge Dale School:Manhattanville College in Purchase Class
(Credit: Zade Rosenthal)

Celeb:James Badge Dale
School:Manhattanville College in Purchase
Class notes: The actor, who has had roles in "Iron Man 3" and "World War Z," briefly attended Manhattanville College in Purchase.

Celeb: Jane Fonda School: Vassar College in Poughkeepsie
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Jane Fonda
School: Vassar College in Poughkeepsie
Class notes: The "Barbarella" and "Klutev actress attended Vassar in the late '50s, but dropped out to pursue a career in fashion.

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Celeb:Jenny Owen Youngs School:Purchase College Class notes: The
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb:Jenny Owen Youngs
School:Purchase College
Class notes: The indie rocker, whose YouTube cover of Nelly’s "Hot in Here" went viral in 2007, graduated from Purchase College with a degree in studio composition.

Celeb: Joanne Woodward School: Sarah Lawrence College in
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Joanne Woodward
School: Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville/Yonkers
Class notes: The Oscar-winning actress who starred in "The Three Faces of Eve," "Mr. & Mrs. Bridges" and "The Age of Innocence" received her degree in 1990.

Celeb:John Turturro School:SUNY New Paltz Class notes: Known
(Credit: AP )

Celeb:John Turturro
School:SUNY New Paltz
Class notes: Known for his roles in "Do the Right Thing," "Miller's Crossing," and "Quiz Show," the versatile character actor graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a degree in theater arts in 1979.

Celeb: Jordan Peele School: Sarah Lawrence College in
(Credit: Comedy Central)

Celeb: Jordan Peele
School: Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville/Yonkers
Class notes: In the first season of "Key & Peele" -- the Comedy Central show he co-hosts with fellow "Mad TV" alumnus Keegan-Michael Key -- Peele tries to maintain rap credibility despite acknowledging his previous matriculation at Sarah Lawrence College.

Celeb:Josh Hartnett School:Conservatory of Theatre Arts & Film
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb:Josh Hartnett
School:Conservatory of Theatre Arts & Film at Purchase College
Class notes: The "Pearl Harbor" star briefly attended the Conservatory of Theatre Arts & Film at SUNY Purchase, before dropping out and moving to California, where his acting career took off.

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Celeb: Julianna Marguiles School: Sarah Lawrence College in
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Julianna Marguiles
School: Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville/Yonkers
Class notes: The Emmy-winning star of "The Good Wife" and "ER" graduated from Sarah Lawrence in 1989. According to a quote attributed to her on the college's website, she said her Sarah Lawrence experience "gave me a great sense of self, and it gave me such confidence in being an independent thinker."

Celeb: Justin Long School: Vassar College in Poughkeepsie
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Justin Long
School: Vassar College in Poughkeepsie
Class notes: After being "Accepted" to Vassar, the actor focused on the funny as a member of one of the college's sketch-comedy groups, LaughingStock.

Celeb: Kyra Sedgwick School: Sarah Lawrence College in
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Kyra Sedgwick
School: Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville/Yonkers
Class notes: Before she scored an Emmy for "The Closer," the actress opened her undergraduate studies at Sarah Lawrence, but transferred to the University of Southern California to finish her degree.

Celeb: Lauren Holly School: Sarah Lawrence College in
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Lauren Holly
School: Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville/Yonkers
Class notes: In 1985, the "NCIS" star earned her English degree from Sarah Lawrence -- and roomed with fellow actress Robin Givens while she was there.

Celeb: Lisa Kudrow School: Vassar College in Poughkeepsie
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Lisa Kudrow
School: Vassar College in Poughkeepsie
Class notes: This "Friends" star wasn’t always focused on acting. She earned her biology degree in biology from Vassar College in 1985, and returned in 2010 to deliver the commencement speech to a new group of grads.

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Celeb:Mase School:Purchase College Class notes: The rapper-producer attended
(Credit: Getty Michael Buckner)

Celeb:Mase
School:Purchase College
Class notes: The rapper-producer attended Purchase College on a basketball scholarship before dropping out to pursue music.

Celeb: Melissa Leo School: Purchase College Class notes:
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Melissa Leo
School: Purchase College
Class notes: Before she earned an Oscar for her performance in "The Fighter," Leo was a Purchase College student who dropped out to accept a role on the soap opera "All My Children."

Celeb: Merritt Wever School: Sarah Lawrence College in
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Merritt Wever
School: Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville/Yonkers
Class notes: A decade before she earned her first Emmy nomination for her role on "Nurse Jackie," the actress graduated from Sarah Lawrence in 2002.

Celeb: Meryl Streep School: Vassar College in Poughkeepsie
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Meryl Streep
School: Vassar College in Poughkeepsie
Class notes: The world can thank the Hudson Valley for providing Streep with the education that has helped her achieve three Academy Awards and 17 Oscar nominations overall. The 1971 Vassar grad returned to deliver one of the speeches at the commencement ceremony in 1983.

Celeb: Moby School: Purchase College Class notes: The
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Moby
School: Purchase College
Class notes: The famed deejay and musician behind the multi-platinum album "Play" worked in a film lab while studying cinema at Purchase College.

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Celeb: Parker Posey School: Purchase College Class notes:
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Parker Posey
School: Purchase College
Class notes: The actress-comedienne not only studied acting at Purchase, but also roomed with eventual "ER" star Sherry Stringfield.

Celeb: Rahm Emanuel School: Sarah Lawrence College in
(Credit: AP)

Celeb: Rahm Emanuel
School: Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville/Yonkers
Class notes: The current mayor of Chicago and former White House Chief of Staff to President Obama got used to politics as an undergraduate at Sarah Lawrence, where he was elected to the college senate. While delivering a 2009 commencement speech at one of the most liberal of liberal-arts colleges, he joked, "It’s good to be at a Democratic rally."

Celeb: Regina Spektor School: Purchase College Class notes:
(Credit: AP)

Celeb: Regina Spektor
School: Purchase College
Class notes: The singer-songwriter and indie darling earned a degree in studio composition at the Purchase College Conservatory of Music, and has since returned to perform at her college alma mater.

Celeb: Robin Givens School: Sarah Lawrence College in
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Robin Givens
School: Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville/Yonkers
Class notes: Growing up in Mount Vernon and New Rochelle, Givens enrolled at Sarah Lawrence when she was just 15. A few years in, she dropped out to pursue acting, but before she did, one of her college roommates was Lauren Holly, of "NCIS" fame.

Celeb: Sherry Stringfield School: Purchase College Class notes:
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Sherry Stringfield
School: Purchase College
Class notes: A three-time Emmy nominee for her work on “ER,” Stringfield roomed with fellow actress Parker Posey at Purchase, and claimed her degree there in 1989.

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Celeb: Sigourney Weaver School: Sarah Lawrence College in
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Sigourney Weaver
School: Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville/Yonkers
Class notes: The "Ghostbusters" and "Political Animals" star matriculated at Sarah Lawrence College before heading west to Stanford University to complete her degree in 1972.

Celeb: Stacy London School: Vassar College in Poughkeepsie
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Stacy London
School: Vassar College in Poughkeepsie
Class notes: While at Vassar, the "What Not To Wear" co-host studied literature and philosophy, accepted summer internships in fashion and publishing, and focused her thesis on Heidegger and Nietzsche.

Celeb: Stanley Tucci School: Purchase College Class notes:
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Stanley Tucci
School: Purchase College
Class notes: After the Peekskill native graduated from John Jay High School in Cross River, the Oscar-nominated actor kept his Westchester streak alive by earning his bachelor's degree from Purchase College. He's also the reason we call Irving Rhames by his better-known nickname, Ving Rhames, as the two roomed together at Purchase.

Celeb: Steven Weber School: Purchase College Class notes:
(Credit: New York City Theater)

Celeb: Steven Weber
School: Purchase College
Class notes: The "Wings" star's career would take off a few years after he studied at Purchase.

Celeb: Susan Lucci School: Marymount College in Tarrytown
(Credit: AP)

Celeb: Susan Lucci
School: Marymount College in Tarrytown
Class notes: The soap-opera superstar earned a bachelor's degree in drama from Marymount in 1965.

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Celeb: Susie Essman School: Purchase College Class notes:
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Susie Essman
School: Purchase College
Class notes: The "Curb Your Enthusiasm" star graduated from Purchase in 1977, and has returned on multiple occasions to perform and serve as an event host. She earns extra credit for another Hudson Valley educational connection: Her mother was a professor at nearby Sarah Lawrence College.

Celeb: Vera Wang School: Sarah Lawrence College in
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Vera Wang
School: Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville/Yonkers
Class notes: The high-end fashion designer and Pound Ridge resident has an eclectic academic resume: She enrolled as pre-med but went on to study theater and art history. All that, and she was also a championship figure skater.

Celeb: Ving Rhames School: Purchase College Class notes:
(Credit: Los Angeles Times)

Celeb: Ving Rhames
School: Purchase College
Class notes: Born with the first name Irving, the "Mission Impossible" heavy began going by the name Ving after his Purchase College roommate, actor Stanley Tucci, referred to him by that nickname; Rhames would later transfer and earn his bachelor's degree from the Juilliard School.

Celeb:Vinny Guadagnino School:SUNY New Paltz Class notes: The
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb:Vinny Guadagnino
School:SUNY New Paltz
Class notes: The "Jersey Shore" star attended SUNY New Paltz before graduating from the College of Staten Island.

Celeb: Wesley Snipes School: Purchase College Class notes:
(Credit: Getty Larry Busacca)

Celeb: Wesley Snipes
School: Purchase College
Class notes: The star of the "Blade" trilogy studied theater at Purchase College, where he later earned an honorary degree.

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Celeb: Yoko Ono School: Sarah Lawrence College in
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Yoko Ono
School: Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville/Yonkers
Class notes: The future Mrs. John Lennon studied music, writing and other creative endeavors at Sarah Lawrence, but dropped out after one year to take part in the burgeoning New York City art scene.

Celeb: Zoe Kravitz School: Purchase College Class notes:
(Credit: Getty Images)

Celeb: Zoe Kravitz
School: Purchase College
Class notes: Also known as rocker Lenny Kravitz's daughter, the "X-Men: First Class" actress took classes at Purchase for a little more than a year before dropping out to pursue her career.

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