Which Colleges did Most of the American Vice Presidents attend?

In the United States there have been 47 Vice Presidents, and originally the vice president was the person that received the second highest number of votes in the presidential election. In the 1800 election, there was a tie between Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson that led to the establishment of the Twelfth Amendment. This created the current selection process where constituents have to cast an additional vote for the vice president.

The primary function of the vice president is to succeed to the president if the president dies, resigns or is removed from office. There have been nine vice presidents that have gained the presidency this way. The vice president is also the president of the Senate and may be given the casting vote when there is a tie break situation which involves decisions made by the Senate, and this is a power that the vice president has exercised in various ways over the years.

The majority of vice presidents of the United States have all studied in higher education and at a university, law school or college based in America. This should not come as a surprise as it is vital that the vice president is a certain education should they be required to take over the presidency at short notice.


The vice presidents have attended various educational institutions including:


There are four vice presidents to date that have attended Harvard, these being John Adams who was the vice president of George Washington and served from 1789 -1797. Elbridge Gerry, vice president to Madison, served for just a year between 1813 – 1814. Theodore Roosevelt, vice president to McKinley, served for a year during 1901 and the most recent Al Gore who was the vice president to Clinton from 1993 – 2001.

College of William and Mary
Just two of the former vice presidents were educated at the College of William and Mary including Thomas Jefferson who was the vice president to John Adams from 1797 – 1801 and John Tyler who was the vice president for W Harrison and served for just one month in 1841.



Three former vice presidents were educated at Yale, John C Calhoun who was the vice president of J.Q Adams and Jackson during 1825 – 1832. George Bush the vice president to Ronald Reagan from 1981 – 1989 and also Gerald Ford who was the vice president to Nixon from August 1974 – December 1974.


There were three former vice presidents that studied at Princeton, Aaron Burr who was the vice president to Jefferson from 1801 – 1849, George M Dallas vice president to Polk from 1845 – 1849 and John C. Breckenridge who was the vice president to Buchanan from 1857 – 1861.

There is no surprise to see that nearly all of the vice presidents in America have attended some of the top universities and colleges. It may come as a surprise to find that not all of them attended the most well-known educational establishments, in fact, the remaining vice presidents studied at one of the following places:

George Clinton – Studied law with William Smith
Daniel D. Tompkins – Columbia University
Martin Van Buren – Kinderhook Academy & Washington Seminary studied law with Peter Silvester, Francis Sylvester, and William P. Van Ness
Richard Mentor Johnson – Transylvania University
Millard Fillmore – Whig New Hope Academy, studied law with Judge Walter Wood, Cayuga County, and New York
William R. King- the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Hannibal Hamlin – Studied law with Enoch Lincoln
Andrew Johnson was self-taught via instruction from his wife, Eliza
Schuyler Colfax – Common schools of New York City and New Carlisle
Henry Wilson – Academies in Strafford, Wolfeboro, and Concord, New Hampshire
William A. Wheeler – University of Vermont
Chester A. Arthur – Union College, State and National Law School
Thomas A. Hendricks – Hanover College-Cleveland
Levi P. Morton – Shoreham Academy, Shoreham, Vermont
Adlai E. Stevenson – Illinois Wesleyan University, Centre College
Garret Hobart- Rutgers College
Charles W. Fairbanks – Ohio Wesleyan University
James S. Sherman – Hamilton College
Thomas R. Marshall – Wabash College
Calvin Coolidge – Amherst College
Charles G. Dawes – Marietta College
Charles Curtis – Topeka High School, studied law with Aderial H. Case
John Nance Garner – Vanderbilt University
Henry A. Wallace – Iowa State University
Harry S. Truman – Spalding’s Commercial College (did not graduate) & Kansas City Law School (did not graduate)
Alben W. Barkley – Emory University, University of Virginia School of Law
Richard Nixon – Whittier College, Duke University School of Law
Lyndon B. Johnson – Southwest Texas State Teachers College
Hubert Humphrey – University of Minnesota, Louisiana State University, Capitol College of Pharmacy
Spiro Agnew Maryland – Johns Hopkins University, University of Baltimore School of Law
Nelson Rockefeller – Dartmouth College
Walter Mondale – Macalester College, University of Minnesota
Dan Quayle Indiana – DePauw University, Indiana University School of Law
Dick Cheney – University of Wyoming
Joe Biden – the University of Delaware, Syracuse University College of Law