The 52-year-old Canadian-American comedian received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa on Saturday, after delivering a heartfelt commencement address to the 2014 class of graduates.
Though he dropped a few jokes, Carrey's emotional speech touched on his family life, his relationship with his father and his childhood.
"So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality," he said. "What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect so we never ask the universe for it. I'm saying I'm the proof that you can ask the universe for it."
"My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn't believe that that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant," Carrey said.
Carrey, who left high school to help support his family, said his father eventually lost his job.
"We had to do whatever we could to survive."
Carrey also told the graduates that life was about journey, not success.
"I've often said that I wish people could realize all their dreams and wealth and fame, so that they could see that it's not where they're going to find their sense of completion," he said. "Your job is not to figure out how it's going to happen for you, it's opening a door in your head, and when the door opens in real life, just walk through it."