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Universities that have produced the most U.S. presidents

  • Universities that have produced the most U.S. presidents

    Famous alumni are among the most valuable marketing assets for any university. After all, there's no better proof of the quality and efficacy of your degree than the fact that you share it with an award-winning author, successful CEO, or internationally known politician. Though any alumni with cachet will do, one job comes with an undeniable level of prestige: president of the United States. What student wouldn't want to apply to the institution that educated a former resident of the White House?

    To discover which colleges have the most bragging rights, Stacker scoured historical biographies and news sources to compile a list of the universities that have produced the most U.S. presidents. The results are ranked from universities with the fewest alumni who ended up in the Oval Office to the universities with the highest number of graduates who became president. Any ties were broken by the school that had the most recent graduate who achieved the highest office in the land.

    In total, 32 out of the 44 total presidents graduated from college. Though Donald Trump is the country's 45th president, the United States technically has had only 44 presidents, since Grover Cleveland's two non-consecutive terms are counted separately. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, and Cleveland never completed college. Unless it's specifically stated, each president on this list received his undergraduate degree at his alma mater. Click through the slideshow to discover which schools produced the most presidents and find out whether any universities in your home state—or even your alma mater—can claim this distinction.

    You may also like: Where every U.S. president went to college

  • #28. University of North Carolina

    - Number of presidents: 1
    - Presidents: James K. Polk
    - Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

    Before he got into politics, James K. Polk studied at the University of North Carolina. He started school there as a sophomore, graduated with honors, and went on to study law with Nashville lawyer Felix Grundy.

  • #27. Bowdoin College

    - Number of presidents: 1
    - Presidents: Franklin Pierce
    - Location: Brunswick, Maine

    Franklin Pierce started at Bowdoin College at age 15, and his youthfulness had a big impact on his studies. He had such a bustling social life in college—he even became friends with writer Nathaniel Hawthorne—that he was last in his class. Eventually, he rededicated himself to schoolwork and graduated in 1824.

  • #26. Dickinson College

    - Number of presidents: 1
    - Presidents: James Buchanan
    - Location: Carlisle, Pennsylvania

    James Buchanan might have graduated from Dickinson College, but there was no love lost between him and his alma mater. When he began his studies there in 1807, he said the school was in “wretched condition” and he actually was expelled in 1808 for bad behavior. After pledging that he would no longer misbehave, Buchanan was readmitted and eventually graduated with his degree.

  • #25. Kenyon College

    - Number of presidents: 1
    - Presidents: Rutherford B. Hayes
    - Location: Gambier, Ohio

    After attending Norwalk Seminary in Ohio and another private institution in Connecticut, Rutherford B. Hayes enrolled at Kenyon College. He went on to become valedictorian and graduated in 1842.

  • #24. Williams College

    - Number of presidents: 1
    - Presidents: James A. Garfield
    - Location: Williamstown, Massachusetts

    James A. Garfield began his education at the Eclectic Institute in Hiram, Ohio, where he also worked as a school janitor to fund his schooling. As a 23-year-old junior, Garfield transferred to Williams College, where he would later graduate with honors.

  • #23. Union College

    - Number of presidents: 1
    - Presidents: Chester A. Arthur
    - Location: Schenectady, New York

    Chester A. Arthur entered Union College as a sophomore in 1845 to study the traditional classical curriculum. He became known as quite the prankster during his time there, though it didn't interfere with his studies; Arthur graduated in the top third of his class and became a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

  • #22. Miami University

    - Number of presidents: 1
    - Presidents: Benjamin Harrison
    - Location: Oxford, Ohio

    Benjamin Harrison started his studies at Farmers College before enrolling at Miami University. He went graduated in 1852, then studied law under a Cincinnati lawyer.

  • #21. University of Cincinnati College of Law

    - Number of presidents: 1
    - Presidents: William Howard Taft (law)
    - Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

    William Howard Taft can claim two universities on this list as of alma maters: Yale, where he completed his undergraduate studies, and the University of Cincinnati, where he studied law.

  • #20. Ohio Central College

    - Number of presidents: 1
    - Presidents: Warren G. Harding
    - Location: Iberia, Ohio

    Warren G. Harding began his education at Ohio Central College when he was 14. After editing the college newspaper, he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in 1882.

  • #19. Amherst College

    - Number of presidents: 1
    - Presidents: Calvin Coolidge
    - Location: Amherst, Massachusetts

    Though Calvin Coolidge was only a fair student in elementary school, he managed to gain admission to prestigious Amherst College and eventually graduated cum laude in 1895. During his time at Amherst, Coolidge joined the Republican Club and the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.

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