Credit: Alex Fisher

Donald Trump’s rapid rise to the presidency has elevated many Penn alumni to prominent roles in government. Here's a brief guide to some important Penn graduates in the current administration: 

Donald Trump: 1968 Wharton graduate Donald Trump, the first Penn alumnus elected to the United States presidency, transferred from Fordham University into the Wharton School of Finance as a junior. At Penn, he apparently focused on developing his real estate business skills more outside the classroom than in it, according to several of his former classmates

In the 1980s, when Trump stood out among Penn alumni as a celebrity and successful businessman, the University Trustees nominated him to the prestigious Wharton Board of Overseers. And in the next decade, Wharton interviewed him for a recruitment video for high school students and asked him to talk to Wharton students about his path to success. Trump has also sent three of his children to study at Penn and potentially donated over $1.4 million to the University

Penn has been largely silent on Trump's tenure as president so far. Penn President Amy Gutmann made a speech against Trump’s controversial travel ban in January, which was the first time she had publicly mentioned Trump since the start of his presidential campaign. 

Ivanka Trump: Although 2004 Wharton graduate Ivanka Trump has often said she prefers to stay out of politics, she has met with world leaders, works as assistant to the President and has an office in the White House. Like her father, Trump transferred to Penn before her third year of college, though she came from Georgetown University, not Fordham. Her former classmates at Penn have described her as ambitious, but pleasant. Trump focused on real estate at Wharton. 

Donald Trump Jr.: 2000 Wharton graduate Donald Trump Jr. recently attracted international attention and suspicion for his role in meeting with a Russian lawyer during the presidential campaign. He has talked to Wharton students about how his education at Wharton and the relationships he formed at the school has helped his real estate career. Trump Jr. got an economics degree from the Wharton School. 

Welcome back to school! Read our other stories on NSO including a map on where to hit the books once NSO is over and an investigation into what actually happens when students skip mandatory NSO events. 

Jon Huntsman, Jr.: Jon Huntsman Jr., perhaps one of the politicians most visibly connected to Penn, is slated to serve as Donald Trump’s ambassador to Russia. Huntsman, a 1987 College graduate, has previously served as governor of Utah, ambassador to China and ambassador to Singapore. He also ran for president in 2012. The former governor was an occasional critic of Trump during the campaign and called on the real estate mogul to drop out of the race after a tape was released of Trump bragging about his ability to grope women due to his fame. Huntsman’s father, whose name adorns the massive Wharton building, has donated significantly to Penn. Huntsman attended church regularly during his time at Penn and frequently engaged in related volunteer work. Arriving at Penn after studying at the University of Utah, he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at age 27. He is now a trustee emeritus of the University. 

Jay Clayton: Trump’s nominee for the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Walter "Jay" Clayton, is a notable Wall Street attorney. Clayton will likely encourage deregulation and partial reformation of the Dodd-Frank Act, which discouraged risky financial behavior of firms after the 2008 financial crisis, per Forbes reports. Clayton graduated Penn in 1988 with a degree in engineering and received his Juris Doctor degree from Penn Law School in 1993. He also lectured at Penn Law for six years.

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