Penn was ranked No. 2 in Forbes' 2021 World’s Billionaires list of colleges with the most billionaire alumni.
The University tied with Stanford University for the No. 2 spot with 28 billionaire alumni, placing only behind Harvard University's 29. Penn's total billionaire alumni net worth of $284.8 billion also ranked No. 2, just over $3 billion less than the net worth of Princeton University's 11 billionaire alumni.
A total of six Ivy League schools made the list for the most billionaire alumni. Yale University placed No. 4 with 21 alumni, Cornell University placed No. 6 with 18 alumni, and Columbia University and Princeton tied for No. 9 with 11 alumni each.
More than half of Penn's 28 billionaires received their undergraduate degrees from the Wharton School.
Tesla and SpaceX CEO and 1997 College and Wharton graduate Elon Musk’s $151 billion accounted for over half of Penn’s total billionaire alumni net worth. Musk ranked as the second richest person in the world in 2021, only behind Princeton graduate Jeff Bezos. 2021 marks the first year Musk has placed in the top 10 of the world’s richest people, having seen a spike in over $126 billion of his net worth since the start of 2020, as shares of Tesla stock surged during the pandemic. In January 2021, Musk temporarily rose to world’s richest person, with a net worth of just under $190 billion.
Former President of the United States and 1968 Wharton graduate Donald Trump was among the Penn billionaires, with a net worth of $2.4 billion. Over the course of his presidency, Trump’s net worth has fallen almost $700 million, as the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection and COVID-19 pandemic have more recently decreased the worth of his business ventures.
493 people are new to billionaire status for this year, two of whom are Penn graduates: 1987 M&T graduate Lance Gokongwei who is the CEO of Filipino conglomerate JG Summit Holdings and has a net worth of $1.2 billion, and 1984 College and Wharton graduate Gary Lauder, who has a net worth of $1.5 billion. Most of Lauder's wealth is derived from Estée Lauder, and he hails from the Lauder family for whom The Lauder Institute and Lauder College House are named.
1985 College and Wharton graduate Laurene Powell Jobs, Penn’s 2021 commencement speaker, holds a net worth of $19 billion from investments in Apple and Disney. At one point, Jobs topped Penn’s list of billionaire graduates before Musk's businesses soared in wealth, according to real-time Forbes billionaire data from 2019.
The list, which has been published every year since 1987, compiles individuals from across the globe whose wealth is either inherited or self made, thereby excluding royalty and government heads.