After a lengthy primary season that yielded a record number of Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) ended his campaign on Wednesday, leaving the 2020 race a presumptive contest between a Penn graduate and a former Penn professor.
Former Penn Presidential Professor of Practice and Vice President Joe Biden now has a clear path to the Democratic nomination for president and will almost certainly face incumbent President and 1968 Wharton graduate Donald Trump in November.
Sanders faced an unclear road to the nomination after a series of losses to Biden in crucial states, including losing South Carolina on Feb. 28 and winning only four states to Biden's 10 on March 3's Super Tuesday contests. Sanders was once considered a frontrunner for the nomination, winning early contests in New Hampshire and Nevada and leading national polls in February.
Biden currently holds 1,217 delegates to Sanders' 914, short of the 1,991 required to secure the nomination.
After finishing his tenure as Vice President in 2017, Biden was appointed a Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice Professor and leader of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. Biden took a leave of absence from his appointments at the University to launch his presidential campaign in April 2019.
Biden made a number of visits to Penn throughout his tenure at the University, including four in 2018, where he discussed both political issues, such as immigration, and personal issues, like the loss of his son, 1991 College graduate Beau Biden, to brain cancer in 2015. Biden never taught formal classes at Penn.
Penn Democrats endorsed Biden's candidacy in March, praising his commitments to gun control, fighting climate change, and his promise to choose a female running mate and appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court.
Trump graduated from Wharton in 1968, transferring to Penn's undergraduate business school after spending two years at Fordham University. Trump frequently boasts his Wharton degree, but the details of his years at Penn remain a mystery. Several news outlets have published claims that he graduated first in his class, a detail Trump has never challenged, but many of his classmates dispute this claim, and his name does not appear on the 1968 dean's list.
Penn's administration has remained quiet on Trump during his presidency. Penn President Amy Gutmann notably broke her silence in January 2017, calling his immigration policies "injurious to our work and inimical to our values."
Trump was the first Penn graduate ever elected to the presidency after defeating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016. Former President William Henry Harrison studied at Penn for one semester, but did not graduate.
Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in December after a months-long investigation into a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump asked the leader to investigate Biden. Trump was acquitted by the Senate in February.
Former Penn Law professor Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) also launched a bid for the presidency but dropped out in March after failing to win a single state — including her home state of Massachusetts — on Super Tuesday.
All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.