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Wisconsin, Harvard Have Most CEOs

Fifteen current CEOs were graduates of each university

By Evan R. Johnson, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard College has graduated more CEOs than any school but the University of Wisconsin, with which it is tied, according to a recent study by Bloomberg Market News.

The study looked at the backgrounds for all CEOs working for companies on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, and found that Harvard and Wisconsin had each granted undergraduate degrees to 15 people who went on to become current CEOs.

Some of the names headlining the list for Harvard were United Technologies’ George David ’64-’65, Fannie Mae’s Franklin D. Raines ’71, Viacom’s Sumner M. Redstone ’43-’44 and Microsoft’s Steven A. Ballmer ’77, who is also a former Crimson editor.

Princeton and Stanford tied for the next spot on the list, with 10 CEO alums each, while three other Ivy League schools—Yale, Penn and Dartmouth—all made the top 14.

Kent N. Barrett, a spokesperson for Wisconsin—whose CEO alums include Exxon Mobil’s Lee F. Raymond, Halliburton’s David J. Lesar, Exelon’s John Rowe and Kimberly-Clark’s Thomas Falk—said he was not surprised by the study’s findings.

“We have a very different focus,” Barrett said. “We are a much larger public university...We do things where we excel, where Harvard does not.”

A spokesperson from the Office of News and Public Affairs declined comment on the study’s findings.

But the author of the article, Liz Willen, didn’t expect to find a public university competing with the likes of an Ivy League school.

“We were really surprised with Wisconsin, but you always expect to see Harvard at the top,” Willen said.

Still, there were those who were quick to defend Wisconsin’s reputation.

“At Wisconsin, people have to earn their make, as opposed to Harvard where everything is handed to them on a silver platter,” said Derek Y.M. Opert, a junior at Wisconsin. “That way, when we leave school, we’re better socially prepared and ready to make a killing.”

—Staff writer Evan R. Johnson can be reached at erjohns@fas.harvard.edu.

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