Colleges That Produce the Most U.S. Presidents and Vice Presidents
Historically, presidents and vice presidents pursue higher education. Certain colleges across America are known to play host to future presidents and vice presidents. See which colleges produce the highest number of presidents and vice presidents, ahead.
School isn’t required
There are no education requirements to become president but the majority of presidents and vice presidents have attended college on their way to the White House. The most common degree is an undergraduate degree with some having graduate and higher degrees.
Hint: One president helped found a university.
No. 10: University of Virginia
No president has graduated from the UVA, according to Bestcolleges.com. Although Thomas Jefferson helped found the university. And James Madison and James Monroe were among the first people to serve on the university’s board. In 1900, vice president Alben Barkley graduated from the University of Virginia’s law school. Woodrow Wilson enrolled in the university’s law school but dropped out.
Hint: One president lost an election at this school.
No. 9: Georgetown University
Bill Clinton attended Georgetown University for his undergraduate degree. During that time he ran for class president and lost, according to the HuffPost. Lyndon B. Johnson attended law school at Georgetown University but dropped out, according to Bestcolleges.com.
Hint: One president transferred to this school.
No. 8: UNC Chapel Hill
James K. Polk is the only U.S. president to graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill chief campus. Polk, a transfer student, did very well in school, and went on to practice law in Tennessee after graduation.
Hint: Lecture notes written by this president are now on display here.
No. 7: Stanford University
Herbert Hoover attended Stanford University the year of its founding in 1891. Hoover earned a degree in geology. Today, his lecture notes are on display on Stanford’s campus. And the university president’s house is named after him.
Hint: Two presidents dropped out of this school.
No. 6: Columbia University
Barack Obama attended Columbia University as a transfer student and earned a degree in political science, according to Biography. Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt were awarded posthumus J.D.s in 2008 because they both dropped out before graduating.
Hint: A failed physical exam landed a president at this school.
No. 5: United States Military Academy at West Point
Ulysses S. Grant attended West Point and went on to become the lead general of the Union army during the Civil War, according to Bestcolleges.com. Dwight Eisenhower also attended West Point. He got a spot at West Point “when the highest ranking candidate failed the physical requirement,” according to the Eisenhower Presidential Library.
Hint: JFK left this school for Harvard.
No. 4: Princeton
Woodrow Wilson not only attended Princeton as a student, he became a professor of politics, and later the university’s president. James Madison also graduated from Princeton. And John F. Kennedy briefly attended Princeton before transferring to Harvard. Vice presidents Aaron Burr, George M. Dallas, and John C. Breckinridge also graduated from Princeton.
Hint: A supreme court justice graduated from this school.
No. 3: College of William & Mary
Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and John Tyler attended the College of William & Mary when the school was a private institution. Former speaker of the house and presidential candidate, Henry Clay, graduated from the school as well as supreme court justice, John Marshall. And George Washington earned a surveyor’s certificate from the school even though he didn’t attend college.
Hint: The Clinton and Bush families attended college at this school.
No. 2: Yale
The earliest president or vice president to attend Yale was John C. Calhoun, who served as vice president, according to Bestcolleges.com. William Howard Taft, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush earned their undergraduate degrees at Yale. And Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton earned their law degrees at Yale’s law school.
Hint: This school has produced the most presidents and vice presidents.
No. 1: Harvard
Harvard has produced the highest number of U.S. presidents and vice presidents. John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Rutherford B. Hayes, Barack Obama, George W., Bush, Elbridge Gerry, and Al Gore all attended Harvard. These vice presidents and presidents attended the university’s business school, law school, or undergraduate program.
Hint: This president has the most academic accolades.
The most educated U.S. president
Woodrow Wilson earned two doctorates in his life. Apparently one wasn’t enough. He earned a Ph.D in history and another in political science at Johns Hopkins University. In between getting a Ph.D, he learned to speak German.
Hint: This president didn’t want a degree.
This president refused a degree
Millard Fillmore refused an honorary degree from the University of Oxford because the diploma was written in Latin. Fillmore didn’t read Latin and couldn’t understand the degree. “I had not the advantage of a classical education and no man should, in my judgment, accept a degree he cannot read,” Fillmore said on the subject.
Hint: This president dropped out of school.
Martin Van Buren dropped out of school
In what would be considered his freshman year of high school today, Martin Van Buren dropped out at the age of 14. Not having an education didn’t stop him from earning a law degree at 21. He practiced law in New York and went on to become president.
Hint: This president turned down a career in football.
Gerald Ford turned down football for law school
While attending the University of Michigan, Gerald Ford became a star on the football team, according to the HuffPost. He led the team to two national titles, became MVP, and later the school retired his jersey. Instead of pursuing a career in football, he chose to attend Yale Law School.