For years, profiles of Donald Trump have prominently noted that he “graduated first in his class” at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 1968. But a new review of the dean’s list in the year he graduated from Wharton’s undergraduate program shows that he wasn’t even in the top 15% of his class.
According to The Daily Pennsylvanian, the student newspaper, a published list of 56 students who were on the Wharton’s Dean List, representing the top 15% of the class, failed to include Trump. A 1968 Commencement Program also showed that Trump failed to graduate with any honors, despite his previous claim that he was first in his graduating class.
The program, acquired by the newspaper from the Penn Archives, lists 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,” reported the newspaper which reprinted the program from the May graduation (see below).
CLASSMATES CLAIM TRUMP DID NOT ‘SEEM TO CARE ABOUT BEING PREPARED’ FOR CLASS
Trump arrived at Wharton in 1966 as a junior transfer from Fordham University, driving a Ford convertible. The New York Times in 1984 reported that numerous profiles of Trump noted that he “graduated first in his class,” and Trump has consistently claimed that he is a “smart person” who has a degree from a highly prestigious business school.
But many of Trump’s peers in the Wharton Class of 1968 agree that he did not stand out academically, the report added. The newspaper quoted 1968 Wharton graduate Louis Calomaris who recalled that “Don … was loath to really study much.”
Calomaris said Trump would come to study groups unprepared and did not “seem to care about being prepared.” He added that Trump’s academic passivity likely stemmed from his passion for engaging directly in the real estate business.
‘THE DUMBEST GODDAMN STUDENT I EVER HAD’
“He spent all his weekends in New York because residential real estate is a weekend business,” Calomaris told the Pennsylvanian which noted that five of Trump’s other classmates confirmed the alum’s claims. “He was not an intellectual man, but that wasn’t what his goal was,” Calomaris added. “He’s not an intellectual now, [and] that’s pretty obvious … [w]hat I saw early on was an unbounded ambition that did come to fruition, because it matched his firm’s needs, and that’s how these things work.”
One of Trump’s marketing professors at Wharton, the late William Kelley, apparently thought little of his student. A close friend of the professor, Frank DiPrima, said that
Kelley told him 100 times over three decades that “Donald Trump was the dumbest goddam student I ever had.” “I remember his emphasis and inflection — it went like this — ‘Donald Trump was the dumbest goddam student I ever had,’” DiPrima wrote. “Dr. Kelley told me this after Trump had become a celebrity but long before he was considered a political figure. Dr. Kelley often referred to Trump’s arrogance when he told of this — that Trump came to Wharton thinking he already knew everything.”