From fashion to prison, the Daily Pennsylvanian took a look at alumni changing the world for better and for worse.
Top Five Famous Alumni
1. Jon Huntsman Sr.
The namesake behind Huntsman Hall and the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business, Jon Huntsman Sr. tops our list of most famous alumni. Huntsman is well known for his business endeavors, political involvement and philanthropic efforts. He decided to attend the Wharton Schoolafter receiving encouragement from Wharton graduate Harold Zellerbach. Graduating in 1959, Huntsman went on to work for and oversee various companies, eventually founding his own, including the Huntsman Container Corporation, which is famous for creating the clamshell container that is used for the Big Mac. Huntsman also served in the White House administration of President Richard Nixon in 1971 as the associate administrator of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Giving more than he receives was always important to Huntsman, and according to Forbes, Huntsman is only one of 19 billionaires out of 1200 whose donations total over $1 billion.
2. John Legend
Fresh from his recent big win at the 2015 Golden Globes for Best Original Song for the song “Glory” from the movie "Selma" in collaboration with Common, Legend continues to succeed in the music industry. Legend has won nine Grammy awards and is nominated for another this year for best pop solo performance. His 2014 hit “All of Me” has sold over 4.6 million copies in the United States. Legend began at Penn when he was 16 years old and graduated with a major in English. While at Penn, he was involved in the a cappella group, Counterparts, and was a member of both the Sphinx and Onyx senior societies.
3. Tory Burch
This former Kappa Alpha Theta has a net worth of $1 billion and is currently the 79th most Powerful Woman in the World, as listed by Forbes. Despite her entrepreneurial success as a fashion designer, she didn’t attend Wharton but rather graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences with a degree in Art History. Before launching her successful fashion line, Burch worked for Harper’s Bazaar and Vera Wang. Her label started as “TRB by Tory Burch” in 2004 and today has 140 locations and is carried in over 3,000 department stores.
4. Elon Musk
Musk transferred to Penn after spending two years at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. The CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors graduated from Wharton and stayed at Penn an extra year to earn a BA in physics. His work in science and business has earned him various awards including being named one of Time magazine's most influential people in the world in 2010 and Fortune Businessperson of the Year in 2013. According to the Time magazine write up, when "Iron Man" director Jon Favreau struggled to make Tony Stark seem real, Robert Downey Jr. said, "We need to sit down with Elon Musk."
5. Elizabeth Banks
You might know her as Effie Trinket from "The Hunger Games" movies or even as Alec Baldwin’s wife in "30 Rock," but the "Pitch Perfect" producer got her start at Penn. During her time as a Quaker, Banks was a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority and, while not a member of any a cappella groups, drew inspiration from Penn'sa cappella scene for 2012’s "Pitch Perfect." Banks graduated magna cum laude in 1996 with a degree in communications. She hasn’t forgotten her Penn roots — Banks chose Penn Masala to be the only real collegiate a cappella group to be featured in "Pitch Perfect 2."
Top Five Infamous Alumni
1. Donald Trump
Our most infamous Quaker transferred to Wharton in 1966 after some time at Fordham University. Trying to pinpoint just one thing Trump is infamous for would be impossible, considering the media attention he’s received. Besides his television shows "The Apprentice" and "The Celebrity Apprentice," Trump is known for his attempts to run for president, his questioning of President Obama’s college transcript and birth certificate and has been accused of anti-Semitism and racism frequently.
2. Sabrina Rubin Erdely
Sabrina Rubin Erdely is best-known currently for her reporting on an alleged University of Virginia rape scandal for "Rolling Stone." Erdely graduated from Penn in 1994 and was a writer for 34th Street. Her article “A Rape on Campus” wasn’t her first to be called into question. In 2011, Erdely reported on child abuse in the Catholic church in Philadelphia, which was criticized by "Newsweek’s" Ralph Cipriano after it was revealed that Erdely hadn’t reported on the victim’s criminal background nor on the fact that the victim changed his story each time he told it. Erdely’s UVA article earned her the Columbia Journalism Review’s “Worst Journalism of 2014” award.
3. Claudia Cohen
Claudia Cohen is more than just the hall in Perelman Quadrangle. Cohen attended Penn and was the first female managing editor of the Daily Pennsylvanian. She graduated with a degree in communications. Cohen is known for writing for and heightening the popularity of the New York Post’s gossip column, Page Six. What makes her infamous at Penn occurred after her death — her ex-husband, Penn alumnus Ronald Perelman, had Logan Hall, named for the secretary to William Penn, renamed to Claudia Cohen Hall in 2008 with a $20 million donation.Penn faculty and students were unimpressed with the change. Chemistry professor Ponzy Lu is quoted in the New York Times as finding the name change “totally idiotic.”
Glass was the executive editor of the Daily Pennsylvanian and coincidentally attended Penn at the same time as Erdely. It was revealed in 1998 that Glass had fabricated over half of his publications in The New Republic. The events were portrayed in the movie "Shattered Glass," in which Glass was played by Hayden Christensen. Glass also attempted to practice law — he earned a law degree from Georgetown University — but the California Supreme Court ruled that he should not be licensed to practice law in California.
5. Michael Milken
Milken is a classic example of a white-collar criminal. Although not a Penn undergraduate alum — Milken graduated from University of California at Berkeley in 1968 — Milken received his MBA from Wharton. In 1989, Milken was indicted for violating U.S. securities laws through racketeering and fraud. Milken was known as the “Junk Bond King,” and this title earned him an indictment on more than 90 counts of fraud. Milken plead guilty only to six counts of tax and securities violations and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Fortunately for him, he was let out after two years for “good behavior.” At the time of his indictment, Wharton students removed his picture from inside of Steinberg Dietrich hall, prompting administrators to put it back up. Once he plead guilty however, it was taken down again.
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