Inside Healy Hall, the air was filled with anticipation and excitement from those who were lucky enough to secure a spot.
“I have to text my mom,” one girl squealed.
“My friend who doesn’t even go to Georgetown texted me about this,” her friend chimed in.
A voice over the loudspeaker began an introduction, and the room erupted with cheers, only to temporarily turn into a chorus of disappointed awwws as they realized the person taking the stage wasn’t Cooper. Students laughed and clapped again when they recognized the figure as their university president, John J. DeGioia. Shortly after, the man of the hour appeared alongside Blair Rich, the president of worldwide marketing for Warner Bros. Pictures Group and Home Entertainment.
When prompted by DeGioia to share some of the most formative moments from his time at Georgetown, Cooper, a ’97 alum joked, “I can’t really talk about all of them.”
Cooper explained how the competitive nature of Georgetown set him up for his successful career as a Hollywood leading man and now as a director. “A Star is Born,” Cooper’s directorial debut, in which he stars alongside Lady Gaga, will be released Oct. 5.
“The biggest lesson I learned trying to get into this school was never give up,” Cooper said of his laborious transfer process from Villanova University.
While he always dreamed of being a film director, he was afraid to admit that desire out loud and felt that “actor” seemed like a more realistic goal to share with people. Just as many told him he would never get into Georgetown, multiple colleagues warned Cooper not to make “A Star is Born” — a third remake of the original 1937 film — as his first directorial outing.
“I just sort of kept my head down and stayed focused the way I did when I wanted to come to this university,” Cooper said about the process of making the film. “It was exactly the same thing.”
That sentiment seemed to resonate with students who feel the inevitable pressure that comes from attending a prestigious university. Cureton said Cooper’s advice to lighten up on yourself struck a chord with her. “Especially here at Georgetown, I think a lot of people are super hard on themselves,” she said.
Amid a barrage of questions from students begging for advice on life, college and breaking into the Hollywood scene, one student had a simpler request.
“It’s my mom’s birthday, and I forgot to get her a present,” a young woman said, holding up her iPhone. “Would you say happy birthday? Her name is Carla.”
Cooper threw his head back laughing and, to the delight of the students, jumped off the stage and into the crowd to snap a selfie on the student’s phone.
Happy birthday, Carla.