The Crimson Presidents

I’ll admit – I ran a little low on blog inspiration this week. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have a long weekend? And everyone else did??? I don’t know, that’s pure speculation. But I was saved by my wonderful friends @ejricca and @betsy_colleen, who reminded me there WAS a holiday this week, and it was President’s Day, and multiple presidents have graduated from Harvard.

Eight of them, in fact. More than any other university. Sorry Yale 🤷🏼‍♀️

In light of the holiday and the 2020 election, I want to talk about the Fearless Leaders (and two potentials) that this institution has produced. I found a great piece about the Harvard Presidents, discussing their activities and thoughts about the school. Now…I’m not saying this indicates future greatness but, I can relate to every. single. one.

Harvard-Graduated Presidents

John Adams

So terrified…I at first resolved to return home”

Lolololol J. Adams, were you in my first week of law school?! Seriously though – my thoughts exactly. I felt wildly out of place and very, very clueless. I never actually thought about leaving, but I’m guessing Adams didn’t either. Just some first day nerves!

John Quincy Adams

“Played flute in the college band”

John Quincy Adams was a baaaaand nerd. I really don’t have room to talk though because (you guessed it) I was too. Not at Harvard though. And I played clarinet because only the COOLEST kids play flute.

Rutherford B. Hayes

Described a guest lecturer (ahem, see the President above) as a “venerable but deluded old man”

Happy to report, the halls of HLS are still full of deluded old men – but we love them!! All my elderly professors are so knowledgeable, so passionate, and do the absolute wildest hand motions when they get excited. I’m not kidding, it’s like they have a club. The Weird Hands Society.

Theodore Roosevelt

Wrote in his senior thesis that “women should have equal rights with men”

HEY TEDDY, I THINK SO TOO. I have a special love for Theodore Roosevelt because he was the mascot at my last Air Force base – my operational wing was called the Roughriders, and we carried Bully Sticks for certain ceremonies. “Speak Softly and Carry A Big Stick” pretty much describes the theory of nuclear deterrence – and we let women start pulling alert a WHILE ago 😏

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“Captain of the football team…and sporting a C average”

^^This type of person is my #1 friend. I’m most comfortable around people who are healthy, fun, and don’t take school too seriously! I’m not saying you shouldn’t try (and honestly, do they even give C’s at Harvard anymore?? Not at the law school, for sure) but I AM saying, live a little. I feel like FDR and I would have gotten along swell.

John F. Kennedy

Described by his classmates as “attractive, witty, and unpurposeful”

…is this wishful thinking on my part? Possibly. I like to think I’m witty. And my cold call answers are DEFINITELY unpurposeful. FDR & JFK sound pretty alike, I’d probably be a Kennedy fan too!

George W. Bush

Favorite past time at Harvard – hot fudge sundaes with his aunt in Lincoln, Mass.

This is eerily similar to my favorite past time, which is eating Ben & Jerry’s with my husband in Cambridge, Mass. I enjoy a good hot fudge sundae too but…B&Js just hits different.

Barack Obama

By his graduation from Harvard Law School in 1991, Obama had national news exposure and a book contract.

Ahahahahaha talk about wishful thinking! My only claims to fame are a) this picture w/former Pres Obama and b) the Harvard article from last November. I do have several book ideas – but the idea of actually writing one, IN law school, is true insanity. That’s President stuff.

(side note – if you want to read the full spiel on these guys, here’s the link:

2020 Harvard Presidential Candidates

Two of the current Democratic candidates also have Harvard degrees, and two more are honorable mentions! Turns out, I have some things in common with them too:

Pete Buttigieg – BA from Harvard University, 2004

He’s also an Oggsford man, old sport. Pete Buttigieg joined the Navy Reserve in 2009, and took a seven-month leave of absence from being Mayor of South Bend to deploy in 2014. In my opinion, that’s pretty dang cool. He also wrote an AMAZING op-ed in 2015 called “Why Coming Out Matters” – I’ve linked it here!

Mike Bloomberg – MBA from Harvard Business School, 1966

These streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire youu, in neww yoooooork…where Mr. Bloomberg became the 108th Mayor back in 2002. I freaking love New York, so that’s pretty neat. He also grew up in Medford, MA, which is one town over from Cambridge, and his company Bloomberg L.P. owns an online legal service called “Bloomberg Law,” which we occasionally use for legal research in school.

Honorable Mention: Deval Patrick – BA from Harvard University, 1978, and JD from Harvard Law School, 1982

Mr. Patrick formally withdrew from the Presidential Race on Feb 11, but THIS IS A MAN AFTER MY HARVARD HEART. He’s from Chicago (south side, so probably a Sox fan but no one’s perfect), graduated with an undergraduate degree in English and American literature (SAME), and has part of Chicago’s Wabash Ave renamed after him. Goals goals goals.

Honorable Mention: Elizabeth Warren

She technically graduated from University of Houston and Rutgers Law School, but taught at Harvard Law for many years (she was the highest-paid professor at one point, and the ONLY tenured prof to graduate from an American public university) Plus, her husband Bruce Mann – a legend among law students – still teaches us dumb 1Ls!

And there you have it! Every day I walk the same campus as eight previous Presidents, which is pretty freaking cool. It’s even cooler to think that I’m currently going to school with people who will someday be Presidents themselves. Honestly, I should stop hanging out with Ben & Jerry so much and start asking around – anyone need a Secretary of Defense for 2040??

1 thought on “The Crimson Presidents”

  1. If you’re going to be the next James “Mad Dog” Mattis, then what is your nickname going to be?
    SecDef Riley “Pole Vault” Vann?
    SecDef Riley “Delta Tau” Vann “Buren Persian”?
    SecDef Riley “BULLY” Vann?

    Also if you become SecDef, will you be disclosing your affiliation with the great Scrunchie Scooter Gang?

    Pls lmk so I can properly prepare for your administration.

    Becca “Bec-CAW” Bates
    Director of National Intelligence 2040

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