As we crest this season of graduations and commencements, we're taking a look at the educational institutes that have taught pop culture's finest heroes and darkest villains.
HOGWARTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY
The Harry Potter series
For her lonely child of destiny, young Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling created a home-away-from home complete with cavernous dining halls, twisty staircases, enchanted forests, the finest teaching staff in the Wizarding World, and the truest friends in any world. Sure, both Severus Snape and Voldemort were students there, but you know what they say about bad apples.
THE BATTLE SCHOOL/COMMAND SCHOOL
Where do you send the finest minds of a generation if you want to prepare them for the rigors of combat; if you need to beat the humanity out of them to save humanity itself? Look no further.
Instilling the tenets of the United Federation of Planets into its cadets is this institution's main mission, as well as building better cosmic explorers — even if, occasionally, cheaters do prosper. (We're looking at you, Kirk.)
VULCAN SCIENCE ACADEMY
On the other hand, Vulcan's beacon of higher education is devoted to the harsh disciplines of science. And right angles.
XAVIER'S SCHOOL FOR GIFTED YOUNGSTERS
Charles Xavier created this oasis of sanity in upstate New York to give young mutants a place to learn to live with their gifts away from prying eyes and sharp pitchforks. And if it also allowed him to recruit the best among them to help fight evil, all the better.
In this particular world — one populated by red-white-and-blue superheroes — this floating high school is where the children of those heroes go for their secondary schooling.
POKEY OAKS ELEMENTARY
The Powerpuff Girls
A warm, nurturing environment for pretty, pint-size powerhouses. Not quite developmentally appropriate, given that these three little girls could level whole cities, but still.
SHIROIWA JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL
If you're going to populate a death-trap island with enough youthful miscreants to stage a last-man-standing popular entertainment, this, apparently, is the school to choose from.
SIHNON COMPANION ACADEMY
Quite simply, the sexiest school in all the 'verse.
CAMP ARTHUR CURRIE
We're a fan of any school — even if it's boot camp — where Clancy Brown is the lead instructor. (Of course, the fact that Caspar Van Dien graduated is a mark against it.)
ORBIT HIGH SCHOOL
It's a high school in the future! A flying-briefcase-car kinda future! And Judy seemed like a relatively well-adjusted teenager, so it must've been halfway decent. Right?
REGINALD VELJOHNSON HIGH SCHOOL
It's named after the actor who played the black cop in Die Hard! And went on to charm America as Urkel's neighbor on the Family Matters sitcom! C'mon!
SUNNYDALE HIGH SCHOOL
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The series' overriding metaphor was "you don't graduate high school, you survive it." And Sunnydale High was indeed a buffet of hazards — down to the Mayor who tried to eat the entire class of '99.
CONEY ISLAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE
A "university" with a height requirement? And all the academic rigors of a 31st century high school? A perfect excuse for Fry to enroll in — and then drop out of — a future college.
The Assorted Works by, and inspired by, H.P. Lovecraft
This all-male university, set in the fictional town of Arkham, Mass, figures prominently in the Cthulhu mythos — and, as such, is the location for lots of weird-ass shit.
PACIFIC INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
Clearly modeled after CalTech, this is where men like Val Kilmer learn how to build lasers, pop popcorn from high altitudes, and teach tools like Kent that God watches them masturbate.
COLONIAL FLEET ACADEMY
We never see much of this academy, but as it turned out the fleet's best pilot (Starbuck) and commander (Adama), it deserves a place on the short list.
ACADEMY OF LAW
In which they teach the judges to say "I am the law!" with force and conviction. And shoot stuff real good.