Get the latest from TODAY
After dispensing words of wisdom during his hilarious commencement address at the University of Southern California, Will Ferrell showed how much the students at his alma mater really mean to him.
He belted out "I Will Always Love You," channeling Whitney Houston to send the 2017 graduates off into the world on a high note.
The comedy star, who graduated from USC in 1990 with a degree in sports information, also received an honorary doctorate on Friday alongside luminaries like a spinal surgeon, Oscar winner Helen Mirren and a pioneering AIDS researcher.
"And then there’s me," he said. "Will Ferrell, whose achievements include running naked through the city of Montrose in 'Old School.'...I think my fellow doctorates would agree, based on our achievements, we are all on equal footing."
He then joked that he will now mandate that his wife and three sons must refer to him as Dr. Ferrell, and "there will be no exceptions."
Ferrell's speech also included poignant moments of remembering when he only had $20 in the bank and lived with his parents out of college.
"Yes, I was afraid,'' he said. "You’re never not afraid. I’m still afraid. My fear of failure never approached in magnitude my fear of 'What if? What if I never tried at all?'"
He also offered some advice as the graduates go on their way.
"Trust your gut,'' he said. "Keep throwing darts at the dart board. Don’t listen to the critics, and you will figure it out."
If all that fails, they can just close their eyes and recall Ferrell's rendition of "I Will Always Love You" to comfort them in troubled times.
"And imagine me,'' he said. "Literally picture my face, singing this song gently into your ear."
Follow TODAY.com writer Scott Stump on Twitter.