Manti Teo’o has been in the news recently for being fooled by a girl pretending to be a Stanford alum. Much has been made of the fact that journalists should have discovered months ago that she never actually graduated from the university.
Here at Noodle, we don’t have a stance on what happened to poor Manti. We didn’t even watch the whole Katie Couric interview.
But, we will say that his girlfriend follows in a long line of Stanford students who never actually graduated - check out our list here:
#6: John F. Kennedy
• Came to Stanford in the fall of 1940.
• Attended business school classes and slept at night on a plywood board to try to recover from ongoing back ailments.
• Dropped out after a term to travel in South America.
Honorable mention: Mitt Romney. Attended for a year before going on Mormon mission and transferring to BYU.
#5: Tiger Woods
• Enrolled at Stanford in 1994. Majored in economics and was nicknamed “Urkel” by teammates.
• Turned pro after his sophomore year.
• Within a year after leaving, completed the fastest ever climb to be #1 ranked golfer in the world.
Honorable mention: John McEnroe. Stayed at Stanford for one year, winning an NCAA title
#4: John Steinbeck
• Enrolled at Stanford in 1919. Spent six years at the school, but only finished enough classes for junior standing.
• Would later say that he was embarrassed to ever return to the school because he was such a lousy student.
• Left school to move to New York City to try to get his writing published.
Honorable mention: Ken Kesey Entered the creative writing program in 1958, but dropped out while working on manuscript for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
#3: Azia Kim
• Arrived on campus in September 2006, claiming to be a Stanford sophomore – though she was never actually admitted.
• Convinced two students to let her stay in their bedroom. Bought texbooks, joined study groups for classes she didn’t take, and enrolled in ROTC and was issued hundreds of dollars of military equipment.
• Somehow wasn’t discovered until May of 2007.
Honorable mention: Elizabeth Okazaki. A week after Kim was exposed, she was found to have been impersonating a physics grad student for 4 years.
#2: Steve Ballmer
• Dropped out of Stanford’s business school after one year in 1980 to join Microsoft.
• Whenever Microsoft has a problem, classmates like to email him to say it was covered in the second year of classes.
• Now CEO of Microsoft and the 19th richest person in the world.
Honorable mention: Larry Page and Sergei Brin. Google founders never finished computer science PhD program, but still ended up with masters
#1: Elle Woods
• Legally Blonde was originally a book based on the real life experience of a bubbly blonde at Stanford Law school.
• When the book was turned into a movie, however, Stanford refused to allow the movie to filmed at her school, causing the filmakers to go to Harvard instead.
• The movie grossed over $140 million, and spawned a sequel, a reality show, and a successful Broadway musical which has toured around the world.
Elle Woods is arguably the apotheosis of the modern Stanford experience:
(1) Elle, the fictional movie character, was supposed to graduate from Stanford but ultimately didn’t;
(2) Elle’s real life inspiration, Amanda Brown, attended Stanford law school but left before graduating after her career took off;
(3) the actress who played Elle, Reese Witherspoon also attended Stanford, but didn’t graduate – she left after her freshman year when her career took off after starring in Election.