Helen was being honoured with the institution's Hasty Pudding Theatricals Woman Of The Year award when she admitted she had "tried twerking in my bedroom [and] it was absolutely humiliating".
Much to the delight of the crowd, she gamely gave the dance move a try – imitating the craze immortalised by Miley Cyrus at the MTV awards.
Helen took part in a parade through Harvard Square in Massachusetts before she was presented with her ceremonial pudding pot.
The Hasty Pudding Theatricals, known informally as The Pudding, is Harvard University's theatrical student society and is the oldest collegiate theatrical organisation in the United States.
Every year they honour performers who have made a lasting and impressive contribution to entertainment.
This year's recipient Helen was supported by her husband Taylor Hackford at the cermony. The pair have been happily married since 1997, but Helen had some surprising advice for those not in relationships.
"My advice to single women probably is to stay single as long as you can," she said.
"I love you darling," she said to her husband. "And you know a relationship is a wonderful thing, but it's not necessary to be happy and successful in life."