Tuesday, January 29, 2008


The 300-year-old competition between the premiere Ivy League schools continues to spill over into the presidential elections as we find more and more candidates dropping out of the race and we get down to the real candidates.

For those of you uninformed in the ways of the Ivy League elite let me give you a brief refresher. Harvard was the first college in America founded in Massachusetts in 1636, 140 years before the Declaration of Independence even created America. Sixty-five years later, in 1701, Yale was founded in Connecticut 75 years before the Declaration.

Along about 1875 Harvard and Yale played their first game of football, although it resembled a cross between soccer and rugby at the time. Harvard won easily but it set in motion the modern day game of football when they played the next year, the Centennial anniversary of the USA, in 1876 with rules resembling football.

Some history books credit the Princeton-Rutgers game of 1869 as the first football game but the rules in use in that game were really soccer rules so in truth it was just an evolutionary step in football, not the definitive moment such as THE GAME, which was the 1876 contest.

Well, once the nation was founded and caught up with these Ivy League schools in 1797 the 2nd president of the US, John Adams, was from Harvard. For a long time Harvard dominated the presidents and in time 7 presidents came from Harvard and 5 from Yale. Only one president in our history graduated from both schools, guess who?

Can you believe George W. Bush, our current president, is the only graduate of two of the most prestigious universities in America and the world? And the media calls him the Texas chump? At any rate, that means there have been 11 presidents from the two schools out of 43 total presidents. Put another way that means 25% of all the presidents in our history came from these two schools.

But that is not what is fueling the current competition. You see, the 1st president from Yale was not elected until 1909 when Taft, the 27th president was elected. At that time there had already been 4 Harvard presidents. It is the current Yale success that has rekindled the competition as every president the past 20 years graduated from Yale and every year since 1972 either the Democratic or Republican candidate for president, or both, has been from Yale.

This election Hillary Clinton is the standard-bearer from Yale, attempting to stretch the Yale control of the presidency to 28 straight years. But this Bulldog (the Yale mascot not Hillary) is in for a fight.

Harvard is mounting a serious challenge to take back the mantle and recapture the presidency once again bringing prestige, recognition and endowments to its hallowed halls. Team Harvard includes Barack Obama for the Democrats and Mitt Romney for the Republicans, a pair that might easily be the party choices for the fall election. Stay tuned for further insights as the Harvard-Yale battle continues to unfold.

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