(Syracuse, New York) – The “Brunch” is on the road this weekend as I attend my daughter Alexandra’s graduation from Syracuse University, with a double-major in political science and public relations. It made me think about famous politicians and their alma maters. Vice President Joe Biden is a Syracuse Law School grad (photo above). Not that many colleges and universities can boast having a President or Vice President among their own, so I thought we would chat about that this week.
“Ivy League Rules” – Clearly the Ivy League schools have a leg up on Presidents. For undergrads it has Barack Obama (Columbia); John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Theodore Roosevelt; Franklin Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy (Harvard). James Madison and Woodrow Wilson (Princeton). William Howard Taft, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush (Yale).
“Ivy Graduate Schools” – Ivy League dominance is not just limited to undergrads. Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt attended Columbia Law School, but only received honorary degrees. Rutherford B. Hayes and Barack Obama are Harvard Law School graduates. Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton are Yale Law graduates. George W. Bush has an MBA from Harvard Business School. William Henry Harrison attended medical school at Penn, but did not finish.
“Sorry Mom, No Sheepskin!” – Eleven U.S. Presidents (one-fourth of them) never earned a college diploma. While you might – at first – be mortified by that, some of these Presidents are considered among our best: George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley and Harry Truman.
“Military Might?” – For all the prestige of our service academies – and make no mistake they are the best – they’ve only produced three Presidents. Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight Eisenhower at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and Jimmy Carter from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis.
“What’s There Mascot?” – Some Presidents have attended relatively obscure schools, not know for turning out many famous grads, let alone winning football teams. But, hey, having a U.S. President on the alumni rolls is quite a feather in the cap. So we salute Eureka College (Ronald Reagan); Kenyon College (Rutherford B. Hayes); Dickinson College (James Buchanan); Ohio Central College (Warren Harding); Richard Nixon (Whittier College); and Southwest Texas State University (Lyndon B. Johnson).
“What Are We, Chopped Liver?” – Some of the nation’s most prestigious universities are not in the Ivy League, but many consider them “Ivy caliber” in every sense of the word. Richard Nixon graduated from Duke Law School; Herbert Hoover from Stanford; and Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and John Tyler were all graduates of the College of William and Mary. Bill Clinton’s undergraduate degree is from Georgetown.
“Bookends of the Education Spectrum” – Millard Fillmore never graduated from college, yet he founded the University of Buffalo and was Chancellor before becoming President. Woodrow Wilson was the only American President to earn a Ph.D., and was President of Princeton University before he became President of the United States.
“Brown Out” – Okay so the Ivy League’s Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island has never produced a President, but right now it has a unique political bragging right. Currently four U.S. Governors are Brown alums: Lincoln Chafee,(D-RI); Bobby Jindal,(R-LA); Maggie Hassan,(D-NH); and Jack Markell,(D-DE).
“Our Future Leaders” – As we get ready for campaign 2016, the Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton is a Wellesley College graduate, as well as Yale Law School. Her possible challenger Joe Biden is a University of Delaware undergrad (plus the Syracuse Law degree); Republican co-frontrunner Chris Christie also has an undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware and a law degree from Seton Hall. Possible Republican contender Jeb Bush graduated from the University of Texas, which has yet to produce a President, but has a real shot this time around.
Who is a famous politician who graduated from your school? Let me know by clicking the comment button at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.
© 2014, Mark Curtis Media, LLC.
Photo courtesy: Syracuse.com