There’s been a lot of talk since Trump took office about how intelligent our presidents should be. Though it can be hard to measure a person’s intelligence, we can at least look at their schooling. Here’s a list of the most educated U.S. presidents and how Donald Trump stacks up.
1. Richard Nixon
He went to law school. | National Archive/Newsmakers/Getty Images
Richard Nixon is easily one of the most educated presidents in U.S. history. He was a graduate of both Whittier College and Duke University of Law. According to Excite Education, while at law school he earned the nickname “Iron Butt” for spending so much time at the library. He became the 37th president of the United States (and the first president to ever resign).
Next: This former president met his wife at Yale Law.
2. Bill Clinton
He attended Georgetown, Oxford, and Yale. | Tim Clary/AFP/Getty Images
Bill Clinton is another president with a lot of schooling under his belt. He attended Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, University College, Oxford University (though just briefly — he didn’t graduate from there), and Yale Law (where he met Hillary). After a successful career in politics in his home state, he became the 42nd president of the United States.
Next: This former president was a Yale University cheerleader.
3. George W. Bush
He went to Yale and Harvard. | Mike Nelson/AFP/Getty Images
George W. Bush also makes the list of most educated U.S. presidents. He’s a graduate of Yale University (where he was a cheerleader) and Harvard Business School. He majored in history while at Yale, and received his MBA from Harvard Business School. Twenty-six years later, he became the 43rd president of the United States.
Next: This president graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law.
4. Barack Obama
He has degrees from Columbia and Harvard. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Our last president, Barack Obama, also makes the list of most educated U.S. presidents. He graduated from Occidental College, Columbia University, and Harvard Law School. He majored in political science while at Columbia University, and graduated with a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law.
Next: This former president wrote a thesis that became a best-seller.
5. John F. Kennedy
He was a Harvard grad. | National Archive/Newsmakers/Getty Images
The 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, was also highly educated. He was a graduate of Harvard where he majored in international relations and graduated with a Bachelor of Science cum laude, according to Excite Education. While at school, he wrote a thesis titled, “Appeasement in Munich” that later became a best-seller alternatively titled “Why England Slept.”
Next: The 28th president wrote a dissertation that came in handy when he was voted into office.
6. Woodrow Wilson
He went to Johns Hopkins. | Topical Press Agency/Getty Images
The 28th president, Woodrow Wilson, was another highly educated man. He earned a Ph.D. in both history and political science from Johns Hopkins University. According to Excite Education, he had to learn German to complete his degree. His doctoral dissertation titled “Congressional Government: A Study in American Politics,” probably came in handy when he became president of the United States in 1913.
Next: This president earned degrees in economics and law, and even won national championships.
7. Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford was one of the most athletic presidents. | J.D. Cuban/Allsport/Getty Images
The 38th president of the United States, Gerald Ford, had a reputation for being clumsy, but he was athletic and well-educated. He attended the University of Michigan, where he won college football national championships in 1932 and 1933. In 1935, he graduated with a B.A. degree in economics. He also earned a law degree from Yale while coaching there, and graduated in the top 25% of his class.
Next: Donald Trump’s education
8. Donald Trump
He went to the University of Pennsylvania. | Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
And then we have Donald Trump. Trump did actually attend an Ivy League school. However, some of the finer details of his schooling are typically left out when being reported by the Trump administration. Trump attended Fordham University and then went on to transfer to the University of Pennsylvania where he studied economics for two years, graduating with a bachelor’s degree.
It’s been reported that Trump graduated first in his class at Pennsylvania, but, according to The New York Times, “the commencement program from 1968 does not list him as graduating with honors of any kind.” The Washington Post also reports that Trump’s Pennsylvania entrance interview was conducted by an old friend of his brother’s.
Additional reporting by Eric McWhinnie.
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