Successful People Who Were Expelled From College
PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel recently dared students to drop out of school, receive $100,000, and change the world. Now everyone has heard of college dropouts like Bill Gates who have gone on to alter the face of the earth. Kickouts are another story altogether.
Illuminated here are some of history’s most fabled college expulsions:
Ford was expelled from Ripon College in Wisconsin after flunking a philosophy subject in his senior year. To add insult to injury, he was expelled three days before graduating. Not that he minded – he has since become one of the most bankable actors of all time. His movies have grossed $6 billion worldwide, half of which in the US alone.
Richard Buckminster Fuller
Harvard expelled one Bucky Fuller not once but twice. The multi-hyphenate scientist was kicked out initially for splurging his entire wad on a revelry with a vaudeville troupe. He then proceeded to build the first geodesic dome; coin hitherto-unknown words like “Spaceship Earth,” synergetics, and ephemeralization; and pen more than 30 books.
Robert Frost may have lied to biographers; he would have them believe he dropped out of Dartmouth College.
But some scholars contend that Dartmouth kicked him out after he trimmed a schoolmate’s hair in such a way that it created a bizarre shape at the back.
No teacher at any art school is worthy of evaluating Salvador Dalí’s work. When Dalí himself said so as a student at the San Fernando School of Fine Arts, he was expelled for “disturbing the peace.” That proved to be a blessing in disguise. He left for Paris soon afterwards and rubbed elbows with Picasso. Now he is revered worldwide as a surrealist painter of the first order.
Samuel L. Jackson
Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement was roiling to a boil when Samuel Jackson was still studying at Morehouse College in Georgia.
The future award-winning actor was expelled in his junior year when he took part in one protest, which trapped the school board in a building for 48 hours.
At the end of his second semester, and anxious about maintaining his eligibility for athletics for the next year, the youngest Kennedy brother was kicked out of Harvard bribing a friend who was knowledgeable on the subject take his Spanish language examination for him.
CNN’s founder went out of Brown University unceremoniously. He had been a star student there, captain of the sailing team and vice-presiding over the debating union. Notwithstanding, the university found it unbecoming of him to live with his girlfriend in his dormitory room and promptly booted him out. Today, his television network is richer than Brown University.
William Randolph Hearst
Before William Randolph Hearst began his empire of newspapers and magazines, he had been kicked out of Harvard for presenting his teachers with silver chamber pots with their names inscribed on them.
He later conquered the world as a publisher and lawmaker.
Movie director par excellence Woody Allen was expelled from New York University for failing multiple subjects. It turned out his creativity could not be contained in school. Aside from directing movies, Allen is a master at the jazz clarinet and an adroit thespian. In a piece he wrote for the New York Times, Allen sardonically said his alma mater “had the foresight and good taste to expel me many years ago.”