e’ve come to expect a lot of things from Miley Cyrus, most of it tawdry and testing the boundaries of taste and intelligence — but get ready for another shocker. She’s going to college. The whirling dervish of tongue and twerk was recently accepted for fall admission at The University of Chicago. Not your typical incoming college freshman, Cyrus joins a long list of celebrity scholars who’ve matriculated at prominent universities around the country, balancing busy careers with academia. Here are just a few: Emma Watson (Brown University), Dakota Fanning (New York University), and James Franco, who is on several doctoral tracks and attending eight schools simultaneously.
“I’m so psyched to finally go to college,” Cyrus told us recently. “Chicago is awesome and the Obamas went to U of C, which is mad dope. I totally voted for them.”
Cyrus, who made headlines in 2013 for her sexually charged performances at the 2013 MTV Music Awards and equally suggestive "Wrecking Ball" video, took time off to tour various campuses, focusing on those far enough away from Hollywood to provide an environment well-suited to focus on her studies.
Though Cyrus hasn’t stated why she chose to pursue her education at the venerable Hyde Park, Illinois campus, it seems clear that she was drawn by her interest in the school’s renowned Gender and Sexuality Studies undergraduate program.
Katherine Park-Milligan, Dean of University of Chicago's Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, told us, "Miley is just a perfect fit for the program. While her performances are sometimes controversial, few can doubt the seriousness of her history of tackling issues of GSI (gender, sexuality, and intersectionality)."
What university officials failed to comment on was a large endowment the Cyrus family reportedly gave to the university last Christmas. There are plans to break ground for a future Earl Cyrus Jr. School of Gender, Sexuality, and Intersectionality, named for Cyrus’ maternal grandfather, a retired Marathon Oil service station manager in Flatwoods, Kentucky.
“[Miley] feels the time is right to return to school so, naturally, I feel like the time is right too,” said father Billy Ray Cyrus, who once attended Georgetown College in Kentucky on a baseball scholarship.
“She's accomplished everything she hoped to accomplish and more in a career of challenging gender norms and problematizing the male gaze, and I couldn’t be more proud of her."