Ferrell graduated from USC with a degree in sports information, going on to star in Saturday Night Live for seven seasons. He got an honorary doctorate degree from the university just before delivering his address Friday.
During the film star’s speech, the comedian turned serious when he told students about the meaning of success and failure.
He told of how he lost out on film roles that he “so desperately” wanted.
But he later quipped that losing out on the role of Queen Elizabeth in the movie The Queen was the “most painful” example he could think of.
the address by cracking jokes that had the crowd cackling. The actor listed among his notable achievements "running around in elf tights, eating gum off the ground," a reference to his role as Buddy in the movie "Elf."
The actor joked that his wife and children must now refer to him by his new honorary title. "They have to address me as Dr. Ferrell. There will be no exceptions," Ferrell said.
While keeping the large crowds laughing throughout the speech, he offered up some poignant parting words.
“Trust your gut, keeping throwing darts at the dart board, don't listen to the critics and you will figure it out."