Michael Chrichton (Education)

Writer, Director

Undergraduate Education: Anthropology
Graduate Education: Medicine 

Chrichton enrolled at Harvard as an english major with the goal of becoming a professional writer. However, he was struggling in the school’s literature courses where he was constantly critiqued by his professor and he was receiving C’s on his assignments. For one of his assignments Chrichton famously rewrote one of George Orwell’s essays and submitted that instead. Chrichton said, “At eighteen, I was vain about my writing and felt it was Harvard, and not I, that was in error, so I decided to make an experiment. The next assignment was a paper on Gulliver’s Travels, and I remembered an essay by George Orwell that might fit. With some hesitation, I retyped Orwell’s essay and submitted it as my own. I hesitated because if I were caught for plagiarism I would be expelled; but I was pretty sure that my instructor was not only wrong about writing styles, but poorly read as well. In any case, George Orwell got a B- at Harvard, which convinced me that the English department was too difficult for me.” After this experience and he decided to switch his major to anthropology.  Chrichton ended up graduating as a summa cum laude and was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Chrichton then went on to study at Harvard Medical School but continued to pursue his passion for writing while in school.