What's Trump's Real Collegiate Record?

Whose academic record is in question: Trump's or Obama's?

Trump fired off a barrage of Tweets over the weekend bragging about how smart he is. The Tweets caused quite a media stir. Here are a couple of Tweets to consider.

The New York Times twice (at least) promoted Trump as graduating at the top of his class at Wharton.

But is that Trump's fault or the fault of the New York Times?

Trump vs Obama

Penn Live asks and answers What is Trump's real record at Wharton?

Shortly after Donald Trump questioned President Barack Obama's legitimacy as a U.S. citizen, he challenged his academic record.

"I heard [Obama] was a terrible student, terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?" Trump said in an April 2011 interview with The Associated Press. "I'm thinking about it, I'm certainly looking into it. Let him show his records."

During the February 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump said, "The people that went to school with him, they never saw him, they don't know who he is. It's crazy."

Obama graduated from Columbia University in 1983 with a degree in political science and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1991. He was also the first black president of the Harvard Law Review.

University of Pennsylvania records and documents uncovered by the school's student newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian, show it's President Trump's academic record that is now in question.

In 1973 and 1976, the New York Times reported that Trump graduated first in his class in 1968 from the Wharton School of Finance.

B/S Economics - No Special Honors

Just Another Lie

A program from the 1968 commencement ceremony shows no mention of Trump’s name, which Wharton graduate Jon Hillsberg said would be highly unlikely if the president had won academic honors.

The program does list, “20 Wharton award and prize recipients, 15 cum laude recipients, four magna cum laude recipients and two summa cum laude recipients for the Class of 1968. Trump’s name appears nowhere on those lists.”

“Given that there are 366 listed 1968 Wharton graduates on QuakerNet, Penn’s alumni database, the Dean’s List of 56 students represents approximately the top 15 percent of the class.

At other points in his career, Trump has claimed to have an MBA from Wharton, although Newsweek‘s Kurt Eichenwald confirmed that Trump never pursued post-graduate studies at Wharton and only attended the undergraduate program for two years, transferring in as a junior.

Other sources report the similar things. For example, Salon asked in 2011, Just what kind of student was Donald Trump?

Did Trump Ever Claim Post Graduate Studies?

I cannot find a reference where Trump personally claimed he graduated top of his class. Nor can I find a reference where he claims to have postgraduate studies at Wharton.

Wharton Won't Discuss Trump

As Trump becomes Wharton university’s most famous alum, campus leaders scramble to protect its brand.

A November 2016 Politico article discusses Why Penn Won’t Talk About Donald Trump.

Trump graduated in 1968 from Wharton, Penn’s school of business, and isn’t shy about reminding the world. “I went to an Ivy League school,” Trump told a crowd recently in St. Augustine, Florida. “I went to an Ivy League school. I’m very highly educated. I know words, I have the best words,” he said at a rally last December; Wharton, he said on Meet the Press, “is probably the hardest there is to get into,” adding, “Some of the great business minds in the world have gone to Wharton.”

Thousands of alumni have signed an anti-Trump open letter.

Perhaps the most galling moments for Penn arrived when Trump tried to play the Wharton card to excuse his pantomimed mocking of a disabled reporter. “Who would mock a disability?” Trump told Jake Tapper. “I would never. I’m a smart person. I went to the Wharton School of Finance.”

[Discussing Trump] “The topic is just off limits,” said Vice President for University Communications Stephen MacCarthy.

As a nonprofit, the university is blocked from taking an official stance on political figures, says Ron Ozio, director of media relations. And the administration had another concern as well: For much of the time of Gutmann’s silence—including when she gave her statement to the Daily Pennsylvanian—Trump’s daughter Tiffany attended the college. She graduated last spring, just weeks before the national party conventions. Criticizing Trump would go beyond just bashing an alum: It would be blasting a tuition-paying parent. “It would be a disaster,” said one former Penn administrator, explaining the ramifications of a Gutmann statement on Trump.

The Record

  1. The record shows Trump did not graduate at the top of his class at Wharton.
  2. The record shows Trump transferred into an undergraduate class at Wharton.
  3. The record shows Trump graduated.
  4. The record shows Trump likes to brag about graduating from Wharton.

Trump may or may not have lied about "top-of-class" and graduate studies. There are no quotes to lean on.

Among other things, we do have quotes in the form of Tweets where Trump claims he a "very stable genius" and a "top T.V. star".

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (24)
No. 1-24
Sechel
Sechel

trump started out at fordham and transferred to wharton. in my world the only people who stay home are people trying to save money or work up their grades. nobody can remember trump at wharton and those that do say his two years wasn't remarkable. most likely he was having too much fun in ny and his father wanted to send him away. in either case, claiming trump is a genius is a bit much.

Sechel
Sechel

the new york times clearly didn't fact check trump's academic background earlier. the claim probably came from trump and went unchecked. as far as trump's claim obama was a poor student, trump frequently projects his own failings on others. it's rather bizarre or interesting depending on your perspective

Mike Mish Shedlock
Mike Mish Shedlock

Editor

"The claim probably came from trump and went unchecked. " yep - Trump's publicist most likely. Then it gets repeated all over creation

lol
lol

only conceivable reason for a trump presidency is barak Obama period,if barry had been even semi competent,shown a mordicum of competence trump would never had made it past iowa

Mike Mish Shedlock
Mike Mish Shedlock

Editor

LOL, I believe you mean Hillary. She was the only person Trump could beat. Ironically, I was reading reports the other day that Hillary nurtured Trump during the nomination process hoping no one would overtake him.

Greggg
Greggg

I keep running into this statement being reported by publications I never heard of like ALTERNET, VerifiedPolitics, bluedotdaily, ect, ect into obscurity. Quote: “Donald Trump was the dumbest goddamn student I ever had.”
Those are the words of the late Wharton professor William T. Kelley, who had Trump in class. Oh, BTW, Obama was also the first black president of the Harvard Law Review.... also the first president of the Harvard Law Review to never write any papers during his term.

truthseeker
truthseeker

After all that has happened with Trump being so thin skinned, insecure and downright goofy at times, the country is still enormously better off than it would have been with Hillary imo! And now it seems like the opposition is really going after impeachment or the 25th amendment however that works. With the Fed raising interest rates and draining liquidity by letting treasury securities expire, the dollar should b shooting up, yet ironically, Trump’s personal political problems seem to b taking the dollar down which is helping exports and growth at least to some degree, and keeps stocks moving up.

JonSellers
JonSellers

So we have an electoral system that left us with a choice between Trump and Clinton. I blame the System. I voted third party, but I enjoyed Hillary's loss in a remarkable way.

Blacklisted
Blacklisted

As I recall, Trump beat 16 "qualified" Republicans and one establishment hack in 2016. Even if you believe that any anti-establishment figure could've won, Carson and Paul couldn't pull it off and neither could Ross Perot. Also, no one else was willing to make the sacrifice required to run.

We are in a war against the establishment, which is thoroughly entrenched in DC and western govts, and is more than willing to destroy society to maintain its perks and power. I don't care what someone's educational record is, especially in an age when education has been so subverted. Like most successful people, Trump is a doer, which is exactly what's required, if there is any hope of draining the swamp.

Snow_Dog
Snow_Dog

Former Libertarian VP candidate and conservative radio commentator Wayne Root is a Columbia alum, class of ‘83 (Polutical Science major) and has actively sought out any classmate who cares to make the claim they knew Obama. Aspiring to gain Ivy League credentials is all about networking, isn’t it? A young black student named Barack Obama’s with excellent oratory skills and comfortable in many different social circles is not a memorable person? Well traveled and interested in politics, he never much cared to take advantage of NYC for career networking? Nobody no knows him, at least not personally? Root is conservative and that poses some bias to the matter. Fine. George Stephanapoulos was a year behind them and knows tons of Columbia alumni. He cannot quite place ever meeting Barack Obama. An intelligent, engaging personality with a unique sounding name and with an eye on a media career, GS must have a lot of names at his recall but the lifelong Democrat and Clinton White House chief of staff does not have the name Barack Obama. In fact, nobody does. Is it possible that it’s because Obama was never there?

stillCJ
stillCJ

Editor

Based on the this article title, I was hoping to read a comparison of Trump's academic record vs Barack's, but it was all about Donny. So I'll ask, where are the records of Barack's education? What were his grades, what papers did he write, who paid for his education? All a closely held secret that Obama has spent a lot of money to hide. The fact that he hides it makes me very suspicious!

RLJ
RLJ

At least you can find Trumps records, where are Obama's?

Stuki
Stuki

The only reason you even hear about this nonsense, is the indoctrinati is so thoroughly brainwashed by now, they genuinely believe the back markers presented to them as their “leaders,” are somehow “smart,” and should therefore be listened to, not simply disregarded. Or better yet, discarded. It’s the same idiotic story in every sphere by now. From art to “business.” Convenient for the mediocrities making up the welfare receiving classes, from banking executives to lawyers to tax feeders wasting others’ value-add on “public works” and similar drivel. But, as always in our progressive dystopia, at least 178 degrees off from anything resembling an accurate heading.

In general, being a lawyer means you were too dumb to hang in math class. Exactly around which campus you happened to practice chasing ambulances, is pretty darned irrelevant. Having a “business” degree just means you are dumb enough to believe there exists some mythical, separate field; called “business” in the abstract. Rather than realizing “business” is just about adding value in a real field. If any of these clowns were even remotely close to a “genius”, they’d have a Fields medal. Or at least one or more hard science Nobels. Preferably from before the Swedes went all loopyland and fell for the hype themselves. As it is, all they are, “they” comprising the entirety, or at least 99% of, the progressive “leadership,” across all disciplines, are a bunch of vain, insecure, mediocrities with no special qualities whatsoever, beyond simple state sanctioned privilege. But, as always, the indoctrinati fall hook, line and sinker for the nonsense, all up in arms about whether “their” mediocre massa is more “edumecated” that some other halfwit’s preferred version of exactly the same.

Sechel
Sechel

@stuki there are lawyers and there are lawyers. some are ambulance chasers that couldn't make it in a real job and some are brilliant thinkers skilled at logic and deductive reasoning. its the same in just about every profession. look at patent lawyers and tax laywers as a group and i'm pretty sure you'll find a group that on average are far more capable and intelligent than the average lawyer hanging a business sign at the neighborhood strip mall

Wrldtrst
Wrldtrst

@sechel. Myself being a mathematician, I should be flattered by Stukis comment. Unfortunately, it is borderline retarded.

KidHorn
KidHorn

Bot my parents graduated from Ivy league schools. My brother graduated from Harvard. Our family would clean up in Jeopardy, but none of us know how to become rich. I've found that people who define themselves by where they went to school are generally losers and never accomplished anything outside of academics.

Sechel
Sechel

@kidhorn. I know quite a number of people who became rich...for a while, usually what defines them is not brilliance but willigness to gamble, take a short cut, cheat or steal. lots of very smart people who aren't rich and simply work for others. if one were to plot intelligence and success i highly doubt you would find a perfect correlation. Trump himself failed multiple times and had to be bailed out by family.

KHS71
KHS71

Formal education and smarts are not functions of each other. I know many construction people with only a high school diploma that are very successful and can do just about anything. Conversely there are people with PhDs that I would not pay them to lick snot from the streets. I have quite a bit of respect for the trades.

jeco
jeco

The US hires the handicapped, Trump is a meglomaniac.

jeco
jeco

How about Trump's 2 years at Fordham?

Stuki
Stuki

@Sechel
Of course, there are differences. And my comment was a bit tongue in cheek. Not every single lawyer is a hopeless dunce. Quite a few are likely quite erudite. But assigning the “genius” label to oneself (Trump), or someone else (much Media to Obama), simply for supposedly having sat through something pretty darned trite and comparatively unchallenging at a supposedly impressive sounding school, is plenty more retarded. And, more alarmingly, extremely damaging, when that silliness is then used to justify these supposed “geniuses” harassing, restricting the freedoms of and otherwise interfering in the lives of others.

The crucial point being, neither Trump nor Obama is in any way all that different from anyone else. Pretty darned average. Neither in possession in any kind of innate ability that renders them any more justified in ruling anyone else, than whichever schlub happens to be your neighbor. Which is fine, and exactly who Americans were supposed to elect as their President. But is also why said Presidents were never intended to have nearly the kind of authority, power and resources under their command that they do today. “He went to so-and-so-school and ‘studied’ blah blah” is, IOW, no moore than yet another progressive attempt to justify circumventing this limitation on the President's, hence the government's, powers.

Pater_Tenebrarum
Pater_Tenebrarum

Trump is simply the world's greatest internet troll. We should be glad such a highly entertaining person has become president, particularly considering his opponent.

Ambrose_Bierce
Ambrose_Bierce

I know Trump University was sued and lost