A parent-student college orientation session on a humid Nebraska day doesn't sound like an event full of excitement, but it certainly was for a group of incoming students and their parents at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln on Wednesday when Hollywood A-lister Matt Damon quietly joined them.
"A man wrote 'M. Damon' on his name tag and our folks over at the orientation thought, 'Oh ha ha,' but we were surprised to learn it actually was Matt Damon," school spokesperson Steve Smith tells omg!.
No, the Oscar winner — who dropped out of Harvard more than two decades ago to pursue acting — wasn't going back to school at age 42 to finally get his degree. He was accompanying an incoming college freshman. "It's a student he has a relationship with, but I don't know what the relationship is," says Smith, who explains that while it's typically a parent who attends orientation with a student, it could be an older sibling, a guardian, mentor, or other relative. In this case, it sounds like Damon was being the good uncle.
Cory Foland, who is going into his junior year at UNL, was on campus attending summer classes Wednesday morning when he and a friend spotted Damon coming out of the student union. "We went up to him and asked to take photos with him and he was super nice about it," the 20-year-old shares with omg!. "We talked to him for a minute or two. He told me he was there with his nephew."
Damon — who is father to three young girls with wife Luciana Barroso and stepfather to Barroso's teenage daughter — could have been accompanying the son of his older brother, artist Kyle Damon, or perhaps one of his wife's nephews. Damon's publicist said she wasn't aware of his participation in the orientation.
According to school spokesperson Smith, Damon spent the day with the other adults, who were brought up to speed on topics like the university's various programs, environment, and culture, while the students attended a separate orientation. The sessions took place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., though Smith could not confirm that the "Contagion" star attended the entire thing. He could, however, confirm that Damon kept things low-key.
"He didn't bring an entourage or anything like that. He went through the process as an everyday average person."
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