Political dramaat Penn is hardly a new phenomenon, as Penn alum and political consultant Frank Luntz knows. This well-known politico studied History and Political Science at Penn before going on to receive his Ph.D. in politics from Oxford University. Luntz regularly appears on shows including the Colbert Report, Good Morning America, and Meet the Press, and also writes op-eds for publications like the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
While Luntz is currently known for his work as a Republican party strategist, he was also an adjunct professor at Penn between 1989 and 1993. Luntz stirred up political drama in a typical Penn fashion when he challenged the students in his class to run in Undergraduate Assembly election (putting our dreaded midterms in some perspective). When the Nomination and Elections Committee objected to Luntz’s assignment, he made it known that he just DGAF, saying, “I will not fuck up my class by buckling to the NEC.”
The university eventually cancelled his classes two years later, which Luntz blames on a poll he published that described Penn as the Ivy with the lowest quality academics and the highest promiscuity. Between controversies over the democratic process and the high DFMO rate, it appears that not much has changed since Luntz’s time at Penn.
So you bought the Steve Jobs biography and haven’t gotten around to reading it? Can’t help ya with that, but we can tell you that the first Penn reference happens on page xv. In the “Characters” section, Laurene Powell is described as a “savvy and good-humored Penn graduate” who “married Steven Jobs in 1991.” (Hah! Suck on that, Susan Patton.)
But this lady isn’t just known for being Jobs’ beau. Homegirl went to Wharton, got her B.A. and her B.S. in Economics and then headed west to Stanford Business School—but not before slaying biddies as a trading strategist at Goldman Sachs for three years. OCR success story, right there.
…was probably something Harold “Hal” Prince has shouted a lot in his career. The incredibly successful Broadway director and producer, now 86, got his start at this fine institution in 1948. At Penn, he was a member of Penn Players, managed a campus radio station, and wrote/acted/directed weekly play adaptations. In other words, he took the phrase “I can’t, I have rehearsal” to a whole new level.
He graduated in 3 years because he was ready to GTFO and become the most successful man in musical theatre. But first he went to the army, serving in Germany and hanging out at a club that would become the muse for his first hit musical “Cabaret.” From there, he started working on the Great White Way, directing and producing with the biggest stars of Broadway. Prince has a whopping TWENTY-ONE Tony Awards, earning him the title of most Tony Awards held by one individual and eternal bragging rights to his BFF Sondheim. Basically, he’s had a part in every big musical out there, including Sweeney Todd, West Side Story, Fiddler On The Roof, Company and Phantom of the Opera.
And in the spirit of all successful Penn alums, Prince gave back to his alma matter with a namesake gift! Next time you’re in the Harold Prince Theater in Annenberg, start planning what you will give to the university upon your future financial success. Another dorm? A lady friend to sit in the bench with Ben? The possibilities are endless.
[Disclaimer: This post was part of our Joke Day series. Our logo was Button the Under for a whole day and you didn't even notice.] Before she came in like a wrecking ball, she came in late to Huntsman Hall. That’s right, the biggest headline-maker of 2013 is a secret Quaker who can shake her money maker. Of course, the ex-Disney starlet didn’t have time for a full college experience, but most don’t know Miley took summer classes at Wharton in 2009 (and we don’t mean her impersonator)!
Then 16 years old, the precocious pop princess just couldn’t be tamed and was accepted to Penn…protecting her privacy under an alias, of course. Can you blame her for wanting the best of both worlds?! According to sources, Cyrus was researching the American educational system for her meaty role in the wrenching critical darling “The Last Song,” in which she delivered an award-winning performance as a grumpy, horny high school student during summer vacation.
An eyewitness confirms that as professional as her session at Penn was meant to be, the “Bangerz” babe couldn’t stop/wouldn’t stop twerking down Locust, presumably already rehearsing for her 2013 VMA performance. So diligent – she’s just being Miley!
Is the end of the semester grind wearing you down? Are you looking for a motivational boost to carry you through the six days until Thanksgivukkah? Look no further than Alice Paul, a Penn alum and suffragist leader who took badassery to another level.
A literal Quaker turned Quaker, Paul came to Penn in 1905 and earned an M.A. in Sociology and a Ph.D in Economics. Before coming to Penn, Alice took some time off to go to England and like, discover herself. She ended up joining a militant suffragette movement, personally breaking more than forty-eight windows and getting arrested several times—just some typical semester abroad shenanigans.
We love a good TV show, and a good leather jacket, and not necessarily in that order. Who better to show off both than Penn grad, news reporter, world-class journalist, and award-winning author H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger, author of the famous Friday Night Lights. After graduating from a ~prep~ school in Massachusetts, Bissinger transitioned to Penn where he began his rise to fame at none other than The Daily Pennsylvanian.
Penn’s reputation for churning out wealthy businesspeople and cancer-curing doctors could stand to be put on trial, and we’ve got none other than the Lynn Toler to preside over it. Seriously, those alums are mere mortals compared to the judge of the renowned drama Divorce Court, who graduated from Penn Law School in 1984.
After getting her undergraduate degree from Harvard in English and American Literature (we’ll give you a pass, Lynn,) Toler saw the light and joined the ranks of our favorite Ivy. Whereas most Penn Law grads would seek to use their JD in a more conventional way, Toler set her eyes on pseduo-reality TV. MAJOR snaps of respect.
Toler has also appeared on other courtroom shows and written two books based on her experiences serving on the bench, but nothing has enduredquite like Divorce Court. Alas, if that life with that “spouse you met at Penn” doesn’t quite work out, then our girl has got your back.
Looking for a good book to cram in before your reading list becomes more text books than page turners? Look no further than this Penn grad’s debut novel, The Execution of Noa P Singleton.
Like Elizabeth Silver (C’01), the book’s title character went to Penn! However unlike Silver, and most Penn students, Noa Singleton happened to drop out and wind up on death row. Some might say she got her degree…in murder! (Sorry, couldn’t help ourselves) Most relevant to us, Silver included numerous shoutouts to life on Penn’s campus, even VP gets a mention!
After graduating from Penn, Silver did everything from teaching English in Costa Rica to working for publisher in NYC, before becoming a criminal lawyer. Like a true overachieving Penn student, Silver combined her varied interests to create one of the summer’s hottest novels. Check out her interview with 34th Street to learn more about one of Penn’s newest famous alumni.
Because we all need another distraction from finals and all things worse, check out this cute collab/cover! It features one of our favorite rap-star Penn alums, Hoodie Allen W’10, and the adorable Kina Grannis. Together, they’re basically a gangsta baby sloth. And the song they’re covering? It’s by Walk The Moon, who’ll be playing at Made In America this year. Too bad Hoodie and Kina didn’t replicate this dance (skip to 1:50, it’s totes, worth it).
John Sculley was a high achiever from the very beginning: at 5 days old, he was one of the first infants to fly the Atlantic Ocean. In the years since, he graduated with an MBA from Wharton (’63) and began working at Pepsi-Cola Company, quickly rising to the top as the company’s youngest president and CEO.
The journey didn’t end there, as Apple was eager to hire Sculley away. As Steve Jobs made the legendary pitch to Sculley, “Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life? Or do you want to come with me and change the world?” When you put it that way, being in charge of a multibillion dollar corporation does seem kind of mundane. Sculley chose the latter and became the CEO of Apple, with things going smoothly except for the infamous power struggle that led to Jobs’ ousting (oops).
Nowadays Sculley has been investing in US health care while advocating for more opportunities to consumerize the industry. Talk about high-achievers…