In honor of Presidents’ Day, we present you with someone who barely manages to pass as the only Penn grad who was also president:
Donald Trump William Henry Harrison. Not only did President Harrison fail to complete his medical degree at Philadelphia’s finest institution (he lasted just one year), but due to a fatal bout of pneumonia, Harrison only lasted 32 days into his presidential term (Yo, that guy John Tyler? He says thanks).
In addition to holding the record for shortest presidency, Harrison (wait, like the high rise?) also is the only president to have had his grandson hold office as well. Hurrah, hurrah, William Henry Harrison, and may your legacy last longer than your career in medicine and politics combined.
In honor of Black History Month, UTB would like to shed light on a very influential Penn alumnus, Willis Nelson Cummings. During his time at the Penn Dental School, Cummings became the first African American captain of any varsity team in the Ivy League, and upon graduation in 1919, he was the first African American admitted into the national dental society, Omicron Kappa Upsilon.
Born in Texas, Cummings attended the historically black Fisk University in Nashville, where he got involved in the school’s track team. After Fisk, Cummings was accepted into the Penn Dental School as one of the two African American students in a class of 259 total. He joined the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and became a member of the varsity track team, earning captainship a year later. Discrimination did pervade even at Penn, and unfortunately “no team photograph was taken of the 1918 cross country team because of a reluctance to show an African-American sitting in the center as captain.”
After his graduation, Cummings moved to New York and established a dental practice in Harlem. In the 1930s, his efforts in the fight against racism and discrimination opened the doors of the Dental Society of New York to admit African Americans and Jews as members.
In 1963, Nnamdi “Zik” Azikiwe joined the ranks of Penn alums serving as countries’ leading men when he became the very first president of Nigeria after the nation declared its independence from the Brits.
Azikiwe graduated from Penn in 1933 with master’s degrees in PoliSci and Anthro, and then headed back home to apply them. In Nigeria, he got involved in the nationalist movement through his career as a journalist, editor and founder of multiple newspapers. One thing led to another, and Editor-in-Chief gradually became Executive Chief. You know how it is.
Although his presidency was cut short by a coup in 1966, Azikiwe remained active in politics and was awarded an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, from the University in 1980 (pictured above). He is survived by the many places in Nigeria still bearing his name and the 500 naira bill which features his smile.
When she’s not following FATJEW on Twitter (no, but really), Hannah August is the Press Secretary for the First Lady of the US of A, Michelle Lavaughn Robinson Obama.
Before her official coronation this past May, August did time as a press secretary for the Department of Justice and served as one of the Regional Communications Directors at the White House since 2010.
This 2005 College grad who majored in International Relations reminds us all that in these tough OCR times, it is in fact possible to apply your degree to a relevant field. But for everything else, there’s “summer analyst” at UBS.
[Disclaimer: Papyrus is such a joke. So is this post.] Before she was the star of Saturday Night Live and Bridesmaids as well as GQ’s “Bro of the Year,” Kristen Wiig was just another face on Locust. Just kidding, she never walked on Locust. Just kidding, she did but she was a whole body, not just a face. Just kidding, she wasn’t a whole body because she was missing a vital organ. Just kidding, it wasn’t that vital. Just kidding, it was if she wanted to join Mask & Wig.
Wiig graduated from the School of Nursing, becoming its only notable alum, and has since put her degree to good use as a placemat on her kitchen table. Rumor has it that she’ll be the school’s graduation speaker this year.
Matt Blank W’72 (obviously, Matt LeBlanc‘s no-frills cousin) is the Chairman and CEO of Showtime, a position he’s held since 1995. Blank hopped over to Showtime from HBO way back when and worked through the ranks, garnering positions like President and Chief Operating Officer in 1991 (piece o’ cake), until he finally landed himself a spot as the network’s top diggity dog.
A bunch of award-winning shows have “sprouted” under Blank’s reign, including Weeds, Queer As Folk and the new BBC collaboration series Episodes (ah, and the Matt LeBlanc reference comes full circle).
Like any true Penn grad, Blank lives in NYC with his wife and kids, and is a big supporter of all things Jewish and gay. You can check out his exclusive advice on how to break into the TV industry on Wharton’s site here.
Last year we wrote about Gloria Allred, hotshot celebrity attorney who went to Penn. Well, she’s back in the news because she’s involved in a sexual harassment lawsuit against GOP front-runner Herman Cain.
While our friends across the state are dealing with their own scandal, Allred’s stirring things up in Penn’s waters. Her client claims that Cain “suddenly reached over and he put his hand on my leg under my skirt.” Cain’s response is that “the Democrat machine in America has brought forth a troubled woman to make false accusations,” and his withdrawal from the presidential race “ain’t gonna happen.”
While all of this legal stuff sorts itself out, we’re left to speculate about the real reason for Allred’s suit against Cain: she’s clearing the way for Penn’s finest to make it to the top.
If you thought Raj Rajaratnam was fun, you’re in for a real treat with this guy. Meet Tyrone L. Gilliams, sketcher extraordinare. He’s been arrested for wire fraud and probably running a Ponzi scheme because one of his clients thought that maybe trips to Miami and Saks receipts were a little suspicious. We can’t say no one saw it coming: the dude, says Dealbreaker, is “an aspiring reality TV star who hired a team of videographers to follow him around. He’s also a hip hop promoter-cum internet pastor-cum “philanthropist.” But best of all, he graduated from Penn in 1990 as a basketball star.
If his company’s website wasn’t sketchy enough for you, here’s some pictures from his birthday party with DJ Khaled. Alums: always putting Penn on the map.
Vikram Chatwal was born in Ethiopia to Indian Sikh parents who moved to Montreal and then finally settled in New York. In other words, during his stint at Wharton, Chatwal was just one operation short of a Tabard bid.
The hotelier, most known these days for making headlines with alleged girlfriend Lindsay Lohan, has been formerly linked to models Kate Moss and Gisele Bündchen, and has been known to hang around P. Diddy Combs Puff, Naomi Campbell and President Bill Clinton. No big.
In a recent New York Times feature, Chatwal maintains that his partying days are over, but unless he’s dating Lohan’s British-accented identical twin, we’re not buying it. Aside from his line of hotels, Chatwal’s notable achievements have included being the first Sikh model to grace the cover of Vogue, a minor role in Zoolander, a 10-day, 3-city wedding to now-separated wife Priya Sachdev, and two trips to rehab.
Do you know Edythe Maa, the former Penn materials science Ph.D. candidate? Oh, you know, the one who goes by the name Jade Vixen and moonlighted as a dominatrix before becoming a fetish model? No? That’s probably a good thing, considering her past two boyfriends have been found dead.
Back in 2008, when Jade was still one of New York City’s most well-known dominatrices, she dated a Manhattan attorney with a bit of a thing for the kinky. Tragically, one of Jade’s obsessive fans killed her boyfriend before kidnapping Jade. That’s messed UP. Read the rest of this entry »