Education - Personal History

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Kew-Forest School

  • Donald Trump has bragged in print about hitting his second-grade music teacher so hard that he gave the man a black eye. “Donald Trump, the new president-elect of the United States, once said he punched a teacher in the face when he was in the second grade. So did he? Here's what he wrote in his 1987 book, ‘The Art of the Deal’: ‘Even in elementary school, I was a very assertive, aggressive kid. In the second grade I actually gave a teacher a black eye. I punched my music teacher because I didn't think he knew anything about music and I almost got expelled. I'm not proud of that, but it's clear evidence that even early on I had a tendency to stand up and make my opinions known in a forceful way. The difference now is that I like to use my brain instead of my fists.’” (Washington Post, November 13, 2016)
  • No other witnesses or documentary evidence supports Trump’s claim and Trump has walked back his claim when challenged to defend it.. “As a second grader, as Trump has described it, he punched his music teacher, giving him a ‘black eye’ because ‘I didn't think he knew anything about music, and I almost got expelled. I'm not proud of that, but it's clear evidence that even early on I had a tendency to stand up and make my opinions known in a very forceful way.’ Peter Brant, his best friend at Kew-Forest, is among several of Donald's pals who recall neither the incident nor Trump's ever mentioning it. When Trump was asked again about the incident decades later, he said, ‘When I say 'punch' when you're that age, nobody punches very hard. But I was very rambunctious in school.’” (Washington Post, November 13, 2016)
  • One of Donald Trump’s music teachers from elementary school has described him as “a pain” who needed”attention all the time.” “For nearly half a century Mr. Walker -- teacher, choirmaster, organist and organ designer, conductor, professor, operetta-company director -- has served the Upper East Side as a sort of semi-official master of musical ceremonies, both secular and sacred. […] In addition to his duties at the Heavenly Rest, Mr. Walker became the president of the American Guild of Organists and taught at the Kew-Forest School in Queens, where one of his pupils was young Donald Trump. ‘He was a pain. There are certain kids that need attention all the time,’ Mr. Walker recalled. ‘He was one of those.’” (New York Times, February 23, 2000)
  • Witnesses have confirmed that Donald Trump was a disruptive student who was constantly in trouble with school administrators. “According to the book ‘Trump Revealed: An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money, and Power,’ by Washington Post reporters Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher, Trump attended the private Kew-Forest School in Forest Hills, N.Y., where he often got into trouble. He and his friends would disrupt class ‘with wisecracks and unruly behavior, such as throwing spitballs and playing racing chairs with desks.’ The book also says this: ‘By his own account, Trump's primary focus in elementary school was ‘creating mischief because, for some reason, I liked to stir things up and I liked to test people.... It wasn't malicious so much as it was aggressive.’” (Washington Post, November 13, 2016)

Yearbook Photos

Kew Forest School

New York Military Academy

  • 1984: Fred Trump bragged that he put Donald in military school to prevent him from “growing up with spoiled kids” and bragged that he made his son ride the subway rather than paying for a car service to ferry him to school. “His father pulled Donald Trump out of a prep school because he didn't want his son growing up with spoiled kids with $40 ball gloves, sending him instead to military school. His father bragged at the sports forum that he had taken the subway and saved $15 car fare.” (New York Times, April 8, 1984)
  • Donald Trump was part of the New York Military Academy’s Class of 1964. “Forget The National Enquirer for a second. If you really want to learn celebrities' deep, dark secrets, read their high school yearbooks. In high school, Donald Trump was voted the Popularity Poll's Class of 1964 Ladies' Man.” (Palm Beach Post, January 2, 1991)
  • Donald Trump’s yearbook identified being a “Ladies’ Man” as his greatest achievement. “Donald Trump wasn't voted most athletic or even the most likely to succeed by the class of 1964 at New York Military Academy. […] And Trump? He was voted ladies man. Said Bekman: ‘There wasn't a lot of time for girls, but he was a good-looking guy and athletic. It was appropriate.’” (USA Today, May 30, 1990)

Yearbook Photos

New York Military Academy

Fordham University

  • Donald Trump has reminisced about studying for the SATs, claiming he remembered "trying to bone up on history for some ridiculous reason." “There was a time when students taking the SAT needed only two things: a sharpened No. 2 pencil and steady nerves. That day is long gone. […] 'My memory of the test is one I think I blotted out. I knew it was a big deal. I recall trying to bone up on history for some ridiculous reason.’ DONALD TRUMP, businessman, University of Pennsylvania, 1968” (New York Times, November 7, 2004)

University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

  • Donald Trump received an undergraduate degree from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in 1968. "Donald Trump, he of the messy divorce and the heavy debt, has an insult added to the injuries: Someone has stolen his picture from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School Hall of Fame. Trump, a 1968 graduate of the Philadelphia business school and one of 16 alumni with portraits in the hall, said through a spokeswoman that a new portrait is on the way. (Los Angeles Times, March 12, 1991)
  • 1985: The Associated Press falsely reported that Donald Trump had graduated first in his class from Wharton: “Anything is possible in Donald Trump's world. For what Donald Trump wants, Donald Trump gets, going after it with a single-mindedness that borders on fanaticism. […] Now, this graduate of the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce (first in his class) at the University of Pennsylvania, who started with his father's cushion of $40 million in real estate and has multiplied it ten or twentyfold, would like to get down to the serious business of world peace.” (Associated Press, February 24, 1985)
  • Donald Trump has bragged about the difficulty of earning admission to the Wharton School of Finance, claiming it shows how smart he actually is. “A year ago, in the early stages of his presidential campaign, Mr. Trump plugged his education at Wharton to distinguish himself as the astute businessman in the crowded Republican field. ‘I'm really smart,’ he said during a speech in Phoenix. ‘Went to the Wharton School of Finance. Even then, a long time ago, like the hardest, or one of the hardest, schools to get into.’” (New York Times, July 12, 2016)
  • Trump has also disparaged the value of his degree from Wharton, claiming in his first book that “the most important thing I learned at Wharton” was that his degree “doesn’t prove very much.” “He often has touted his Wharton education - Trump transferred as a junior from Fordham University to Wharton, where he earned an undergraduate degree. But he wrote in his book The Art of the Deal that academic credentials aren't all they are cracked up to be. ‘Perhaps the most important thing I learned at Wharton was not to be overly impressed by academic credentials.... That degree doesn't prove very much,’ he wrote.” (Philadelphia Inquirer, July 10, 2016)
  • Wharton asked its faculty members to refrain from commenting on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, even as Trump routinely misstated the school’s name while bragging on the campaign trail about his attendance there. “Professors on campus are staying mostly mum about Mr. Trump's presidential prospects, but when it comes to his political marketing skills some of them cannot help but appreciate his results. […] As for Wharton, it has been handling its own bout of Trump publicity with care. The school has asked its faculty members to avoid discussing Mr. Trump's politics publicly. And his incorrect use of its name - he calls it ‘The Wharton School of Finance’ - has not gone unnoticed. ‘He's not treated in the most reverent tone here,’ Professor Berger said. ‘But we wish all of our students well.’” (New York Times, September 1, 2015)
  • Donald Trump was once one of 18 Wharton alumni honored by a “hall of fame” at the school, which included the corporate criminal, Michael Milken. “Michael Milken, the indicted junk bond financier, has been returned to the ‘alumni honor roll’ at his graduate school alma mater. […] The Milken photograph, together with 17 other picture-plaques, will remain until students vote at an unspecified date on a new group of alumni to be placed on the so-called alumni honor roll. Those now shown were chosen in 1986. Among alumni honored on the Wharton wall are entrepreneur Donald Trump, media magnate Walter Annenberg, Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, CBS founder William Paley, Apple Computer Inc.'s John Sculley, Robert Crandall of American Airlines and beer tycoon August Busch III. […] Milken was indicted in March on 98 counts of racketeering and fraud in connection with his activities with the Wall Street investment firm Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc., where he headed the junk bond division. He has pleaded innocent.” (Chicago Tribune, October 24, 1989)
  • July 2016: Alumni of the Wharton school of business signed an open letter deploring Trump’s presidential campaign and expressing outrage “that an affiliation with our school is being used to legitimize prejudice and intolerance.” “Donald J. Trump often cites his undergraduate degree from University of Pennsylvania's prestigious Wharton business school as evidence that he is a pretty smart guy and singularly qualified to be president. But some in the Wharton community would prefer the presumptive Republican presidential nominee simply leave his alma mater out of his campaign. In an open letter to Mr. Trump, Wharton backers wrote that they have been ‘deeply disappointed’ in his candidacy and ‘outraged that an affiliation with our school is being used to legitimize prejudice and intolerance.’” (New York Times, July 12, 2016)
  • The letter decrying Trump’s bigotry was signed by 2,000 former students of Wharton. “‘Although we do not aim to make any political endorsements with this letter, we do express our unequivocal stance against the xenophobia, sexism, racism, and other forms of bigotry that you have actively and implicitly endorsed in your campaign,’ said the letter, which was posted to and as of Monday morning carried the signatures of about 2,000 Wharton students, alumni, faculty members and other supporters.” (New York Times, July 12, 2016)
  • At the time of the letter, Wharton claimed to have 94,000 alumni. “Some 500 alumni and students at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School have signed a letter rebuking Donald Trump for ‘xenophobia, sexism, racism, and other forms of bigotry that you have actively and implicitly endorsed in your campaign.’ […] While the letter had more than 500 signatories as of Saturday, Wharton itself claims to have about 94,000 alumni from 152 countries.” (Philadelphia Inquirer, July 10, 2016)

University of Southern California (Film School

  • Donald Trump has claimed that he applied for film school in 1968, but instead opted to join his father’s real estate business. “1968 - The year he decided not to go to film school: Donald Trump, real-estate mogul ‘I had applied to University of Southern California school of cinema. I wanted to make movies. That was in 1968, when I graduated from Wharton. But my dad was in real estate in Brooklyn and Queens and I had a base, so I decided to put show business into real estate. And it's a better business. There's less risk.’” (Palm Beach Post, December 31, 2003)