Which Universities Did American Presidents Attend?

Up until now, there has been 43 U.S. presidents (and 44 presidencies). Some of these have stories of success, and some total failures. It’s a great job on any resume, and although the pay is low and the work demanding- the perks are phenomenon and include free travel, free housing and food.

For anyone with the ambition of becoming the president, history shows it is a must to attend the right school and making the right connections. Over 45% of American presidents have attended one or more of the following schools:




No less than seven presidents of the USA have attended Harvard. John Quincy Adams junior and his father John Adams both received two degrees each from Harvard. Following a quiet spell, 1880 saw Theodore Roosevelt graduating, his fifth cousin Franklin D Roosevelt majoring in history graduated in 1903. 1960 saw John F Kennedy leave Harvard with a diploma based on International Affairs. George Bush earnt his MBA from the Business School at Harvard, but also earnt his B.A at the rival Yale! The most recent president Barack Obama graduated from Harvard Law School.


There were five presidents that graduated from Yale. 1878 saw William Howard Taft graduating second in his class, Gerald Ford followed suit when he graduated from Yale Law School in 1941. Seven years later in 1948, George H W Bush graduated with an economics degree. After a spell of 20 years George W Bush followed in his father’s footsteps graduated in 1968 with a B.A in history. Finally, Bill Clinton graduated in 1973, he also met his wife to be Hillary Rodham whilst at Yale.

US Military Academy

Americans have been known to elect successful generals into the post of president, Both Ulysses Grant and Dwight Eisenhower fall into this category after graduating from West Point. Grant attended in 1843 and Eisenhower in 1915. Jefferson Davis also graduated in 1828, and served as president in the Civil War.


Princeton University was previously known as The College of New Jersey and it was during this time James Madison graduated. Madison was responsible for founding what is now one of the oldest debate unions in the country. 1879, saw Woodrow Wilson also graduate from Princeton, during his time at Princeton he was also the president of the Princeton faculty. Seventy-six years later in 1955, Ralph Nader graduated prior to going on to become the president of the United States.

William & Mary

The College of William and Mary is the second oldest college, behind Harvard, in the nation. Whilst this was a heavy hitter with regards to producing presidents back in the day there have been a distinct lack in the past couple of centuries. Thomas Jefferson was the first future president to graduate in 1762, he was then followed by James Monroe in 1774, however Monroe never actually graduated spending just a year at William & Mary before leaving for the Continental Army. The last president to graduate from the William and Mary was John Tyler in 1807.


Both Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt attended Columbia Law School however they both dropped out before graduating. Columbia’s most famous student has to be Barack Obama who transferred from Occidental College prior to graduating in 1983 after majoring in political science. Although Dwight Eisenhower never attended Columbia he was their 13th president.

Virginia University

Although no American presidents actually attended Virginia University apart from Woodrow Wilson’s brief spell at the law school, the university is immersed in presidential history. The school was founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson and he was responsible for the design of this near perfect campus. James Monroe served on the college’s board of visitors and also lived on the land that the campus now occupies. When Jefferson died in 1826, Madison served as the second president of the Virginia University until he too passed away in 1836.


Located in the centre of Illinois, Eureka College was where Ronald Reagan graduated from in 1932 with a degree in economics. Reagan was captain of the swimming team, part of the football team and active in both Greek and the theatre during his time. Reagan was elected as the president of the student body and whilst other schools have graduated presidents, only Eureka College has the claim to fame of graduating Ronald Reagan.

US Naval Academy

Jimmy Carter graduated 59th from a strong 820 midshipmen at the U.S Naval Academy in 1947. Carter went on to serve and fail in one term of presidency. Other midshipman included Ross Perot in 1953 and John McCain in 1958. It could be argued that the Naval Academy was the worst undergraduate school for those wishing to become president to attend, surely someone has to prove this wrong?