In the past year-and-a-half, President Donald Trump has quickly become one of Penn’s most well-known alumni. Throughout his campaign, Trump has referenced his alma mater, the Wharton School, “as probably the hardest [school] there is to get into,” adding that, “some of the great business minds in the world have gone” there.
Many of his classmates from the Class of 1968, however, say the 45th President wasn’t a prominent presence at Penn.
Out of the 269 people The Daily Pennsylvanian contacted while researching this story, 74 of Trump’s classmates responded. Sixty-eight of those alumni said they had never encountered Trump at Penn. Four shared classes with him and two declined to comment.
“I knew everyone in my class except Donald Trump,” 1968 Wharton graduate Kenneth Kadish said. “Wharton was a pretty small community back then ... you knew everyone. Well, except him.”
“It wasn’t that [Trump] was just not prominent,” Kadish added, “it was like he was non-existent.”
Many classmates made similar remarks, pointing out that the Class of 1968 yearbook does not even have a picture of Trump. Instead, his name is listed at the back of the yearbook under “Seniors Not Photographed.”
Linda Albert Broidrick, a 1968 Wharton graduate, said she spoke to 20 members of the Wharton class at some point during the campaign where they asked if anyone remembered Trump during their undergraduate years.
“None recalled seeing or meeting him,” she said.
A similar question was posed decades earlier at a meeting to plan the Class of 1968’s 25th reunion in 1993. Of the 50 people present, including many class leaders, no one had any real recollection of him, 1968 Wharton graduate William Veronda said.
“There were only a few Wharton students in the Real Estate track and those students ... knew him, but most others did not,” David Chosiad, a fellow 1968 Wharton graduate, said in an emailed statement.
Because Trump transferred from Fordham University after his sophomore year, and “was only at Wharton for two years,” he may not have been as noticeable, Chosiad added.
But many of Trump’s classmates said they were frequent participants in campus academics and extracurriculars, and expressed surprise at never having heard Trump’s name while in college.
“I was very involved in school life when I was at Wharton,” said 1968 Wharton graduate Susan Mason Horn, who was president of Sigma Delta Tau while attending Penn. “I doubt he was as active or as important as he claims or I would have at least heard of him.”
Marc Greenberg, another 1968 Wharton graduate, added that he was particularly surprised that he was never aware of Trump while at Penn since his family’s real estate business was already prominent in the 1960s.
“I was from Brooklyn, so Trump was a name I knew before I even went to Penn,” he said. “In my years at Penn, I never heard his name mentioned once. I was amazed when this whole thing happened, to know that he was there ... [because] certainly, it’s a name I would have been aware of, given who his father was.”
Many alumni from Trump’s class speculated that he took some classes with freshmen or sophomores to fulfill general requirements as a transfer student, potentially a reason for why so few of them remembered him.
“The structure of Wharton classes in the sixties was that there were a ton of mandatory business classes, all introductory, in the first two years of Wharton,” 1968 Wharton graduate Patrick Broderick said in an emailed statement. “As a transfer, [Trump] was probably stuck in the core curriculum courses populated with freshmen and sophomores.”
Some classmates of Trump’s also guessed he might have been less visible on campus because he spent much of his time off campus in New York.
“[H]e was kind of aloof from the rest of the students,” 1968 Wharton graduate Edward Pollard said. “He was really off by himself ... going to New York on the weekends, so he didn’t party or go to football games ... [h]e didn’t hang out at Smokey Joe’s [or] the Dirty Drug,” referring to Cy’s Penn Luncheonette.
“Those were my hangouts. I never saw him there,” he said.
Several of Trump’s classmates noted that he worked for his father’s real estate business, which may have accounted for the time away.
“He was Fred’s bill collector,” 1968 Wharton graduate Louis Calomaris said. “Those were the days before computers, and I’m under the impression there were index cards with these people who were behind on their payments, and he would go to New York on Thursdays and Fridays — so I was told — and knock on doors and collect.”
This article was written by two Daily Pennsylvanian reporters who are part of an investigative team committed to covering all aspects of President Donald Trump's relationship with Penn. The team has previously written about Trump's academic record as an undergraduate.
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