THIS TIME OF YEAR, the only celebrities on college campuses are there to give commencement addresses or watch their children graduate.

Except for Eva Longoria.

The former "Desperate Housewives" star probably made enough dough on Wisteria Lane that higher education isn't necessary for improving her earning ability, but that didn't stop her from getting a master's degree in Chicano studies from Cal State Northridge, where reports she actually went to class (for three years) and did homework on the "Housewives" set.

That's probably a lot better than most of her fellow grads.

Eva, who has a bachelor of science degree in kinesiology from Texas A&M (we bet a lot of bachelors are interested in her work), titled her master's thesis "Success STEMS From Diversity: The Value of Latinas in STEM Careers." "STEM" is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math. Kinesiology is the scientific study of human movement.

The star celebrated her degree with her parents, friends and family.

The Los Angeles Times was nice enough to garner Twitter responses from "Housewives" co-stars Marcia Cross and Dana Delany, Garcelle Beauvais of "Franklin & Bash" and Jane Fonda.

"She does these things with such ease and grace," Fonda blogged, mentioning that Eva auctioned off a date with herself at her charity event during the Cannes Film Festival, then flew to L.A. (about 17 hours) to don her cap and gown.

Seyfried's 'Epic' voice

"Epic" director Chris Wedge needed just the right female voice for the lead character in his new animated movie, and was lucky to land Amanda Seyfried.

Seyfried, from Allentown, Lehigh County, provides the voice of Mary Katherine, a teen in a fraught relationship with her dad when she enters a magical realm of woodland creatures caught up in their own set of problems.

"Creating a good character on screen requires complementary work from artists, animators, story artists and voice actors. It's like a good blended whiskey. You want everything to come together, so you keep testing, trying things," Wedge told Daily News movie critic Gary Thompson during a recent visit to Philadelphia.

"We wanted Mary Katherine to be a very down-to-earth, late-teen girl, maybe a little wiser than her years, someone who could convey an agelessness, and Amanda had all of that. I knew her voice would work the moment I heard it. She has a very sweet voice, a beautiful singing voice, and it was the right size and timbre. And Mary Katherine's range of emotions were very easy for Amanda to access."

Seyfried, though, brought an extra layer of emotional engagement that animators don't always get.

"One of the most satisfying moments I can remember on the movie was her second or third recording session. I was finally able to show her some of the finished animation, to give her a better sense of how to focus her voice, and when she saw Mary Katherine, she said, 'Oh my god, I just love her!' "

"I thought 'Great, she's in love with this role, I think it's going to work.' It's just that kind of emotional commitment that makes a character believable."

(See Gary's review on Page 38.)

Orchestra off to China

Daily News classical music writer Tom Di Nardo reports that the Philadelphia Orchestra will arrive in China on Monday, marking the 40th anniversary of their first historic visit. Requested as part of the diplomatic thaw by then-President Nixon, the orchestra's tour, led by Eugene Ormandy, was a political and artistic triumph.

This eighth visit solidifies the bonds between Philadelphia and Tianjen as "friendship cities" - a term much more significant to the Chinese than "sister cities."

A concert there on June 6 will be broadcast outside on a huge screen, and a huge "love letter" banner, written in both English and Chinese and signed by musicians and financial supporters, will be presented.

Seven concerts in Hangzhou, Shanghai, Tianjin, Beijing and Macau will be led by Donald Runnicles (music director Yannick Nezet-Seguin, previously booked, will lead next year's visit).

The trip is more of a residency than a tour, with many opportunities for the musicians to coach, perform at schools, lecture and visit medical centers and hospitals.

Seven current orchestra members and two emeritus members will be honored at the Shanghai airport, and 40 musicians from the China National Symphony Orchestra will perform a celebratory concert in Beijing.

Tattle bookstore

Seriously, if you're not a celebrity, don't even think about getting a book published.

Backstreet Boys singer Nick Carter will release "Facing the Music and Living to Talk About It," on Sept. 24 via Bird Street Books.

The autobiography and self-help book will include stories about Carter's teen years, his struggles with substance and alcohol abuse, and the hardships of his family.

Lea Michele is also writing a book with stories about the many auditions she has passed.

The "Glee" actress has a deal with Harmony Books, which announced Thursday that "Brunette Ambition" will come out in the spring of 2014. Harmony is billing the book as a combination memoir, style guide and advice book.


Life & Style reports that Miley Cyrus and her not-for-much-longer fiance Liam Hemsworth are living together in Miley's Toluca Lake mansion, but sleeping in separate bedrooms.

The unnamed source says that "the two know it's over . . . but aren't ready to announce it."

Their unnamed "friend," however, has no problem announcing it.

- Daily News wire services

contributed to this report.

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