Anthony Anderson 'Was Not Going to Be Out-Partied by 22-Year-Olds' After Howard Graduation

The Law & Order star tells PEOPLE about the "sense of completion" he felt after the 30-year journey to get his diploma — and how he hopes to see "Professor Anderson" on his office door one day

Anthony Anderson
Photo: Brian Stukes/Getty

Anthony Anderson works hard — and parties harder!

On Saturday, the Law & Order star graduated from Howard University in Washington D.C. after earning his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts.

Speaking to PEOPLE following his highly anticipated graduation, Anderson, 51, says he celebrated the milestone with his son, Nathan, and fellow Howard graduates at a club near the university.

"I celebrated by going to a club called 'Brooklyn' on U street with my son, my best friend Jerry a.k.a. 'Skinnyboy' and several HU 2022 graduates," he says. "We partied 'till 4 a.m. — and for the record, I still got it! I was not going to be out-partied by a bunch of 22-year-olds!"

"Between you and me, I felt it the next morning, but that night I partied like a rock star," he shares.

Anthony Anderson
Brian Stukes/Getty

Prior to receiving his diploma, Anderson admits he was "slightly nervous" for commencement day because he worried that "as my name was being called, some school official would come over to me and say, 'We're sorry to inform you at this late moment but you're one credit short, so we're not going to be able to let you walk across the stage,' or that I failed my final exam in one of my classes."

However, those concerns proved to be unfounded as the former Black-ish actor graduated with the Class of 2022 after his son, Nathan, encouraged him to return to school to finish his degree.

"My proudest moment is a sense of completion. Finishing what I started almost 35 years ago," he explains. "Walking across that stage receiving my degree as my son Nathan watches, who inspired me to return and finish college after he was accepted into Howard University."

Looking ahead, Anderson says his plans to further his education are "up in the air" but he is considering going to grad school in order to receive a master's degree.

"I would love to teach eventually," he says. "Potentially at the collegiate [level] at Howard University. I can already see my name on my office door: 'Professor Anderson'"

Anthony Anderson
Anthony Anderson/Instagram

In an Instagram post on Sunday, Anderson celebrated his graduation, calling it "a full circle moment" that was "30 years in the making."

He also shared several photos from the ceremony, including one with commencement speaker Taraji P. Henson, and another with Phylicia Rashad, the current Dean of Howard's College of Fine Arts.

"Words can't begin to describe the emotional roller coaster [sic] I'm on right now," he wrote, in part. "Yesterday was a full circle moment. It's never too late! Things happen when they're supposed to happen!"

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Anthony Anderson
Anthony Anderson/Instagram

Previously, Anderson spoke about his plans to graduate during a 2018 interview with Jimmy Fallon, where he also revealed that he initially dropped out due to financial reasons.

"I was paying for college myself, and I ran out of money after my junior year," Anderson explained. "I've been speaking to the university... about creating a curriculum that I can take online, and at home, and do some practical classes on campus so I can walk with my son [Nathan] in 2022."

However, during an appearance on The Real in February, Anderson revealed that while he was just 15 credits away from completing his degree, he wouldn't get to walk beside his son.

"I am going to finish this spring," he proudly shared on the talk show. "... A few years ago, my son got accepted to Howard University and he inspired me to go back and get my degree."

"I thought we were gonna walk together in 2022 but real life happens," he continued. "Just like it happened to me, I had to withdraw after my junior year, real life happened with my son, so unfortunately, we won't be walking together but hopefully he'll be walking soon."

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