The moment had been 30 years in the making, Anderson told ET. "Real life got in the way, that’s the reason why I was unable to complete my degree 30 years ago," the actor said, explaining how his financial situation prevented him from returning for his senior year.
"[My parents] didn’t have a disposable income and I had three younger brothers and sisters at home, so it was just the financial call for me," he added. "I decided to go home with every intention of coming back but then... [I] started having kids, got married, career took off and just had other responsibilities. But then my son was accepted to Howard four years ago and inspired me to come back and finish my degree, and here we are in our full circle moment today."
The Law and Order actor said that he finished his degree for himself and his community. "To see these young Black and brown children who look up to people like me, I want to lead by example and let them know that an education is something that no one can ever take away from you," he explained. "I wanted to finish what I started, most importantly."
"It means everything to go through this ceremony today with my family and my friends," he added. "It’s never too late."
Anderson celebrated the momentous occasion with an Instagram post on Sunday, in which he called his graduation "a full circle moment" that was "30 years in the making."
"To quote Biggie, 'IT WAS ALL A DREAM!'" the Black-ish actor wrote. "Words can't begin to describe the emotional roller coaster I'm on right now. It's literally been 30 years in the making."
"This spring I was finally able to complete the work to graduate from Howard University with a BFA degree from the Chadwick A Boseman College of Fine Arts! Yesterday was a full circle moment," he continued. "It's never too late! Things happen when they're supposed to happen!"
Anderson gave thanks to Phylicia Rashad, the current dean of Howard University's Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts, Dr. Wayne Fredrick, Dean Denise Saunders Thomas and Courtney Bless Long for their help along the way.
"It takes a village. Thank you to my son @hotboynato for inspiring me to return to school to finish my degree after he was accepted into Howard University. This is just the beginning! HU," he finished.
Anderson also shared photos from his graduation day, posing alongside Rashad in one and with fellow actor and Howard grad Taraji P. Henson, who delivered the commencement address at Saturday's ceremony.