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Ezra's Billionaires

In a celebration of this, the new Gilded Age, Forbes Magazine is running a ranking of the universities associated with the most billionaires.

Cornell is tied for ninth on the list, with UCLA, Berkeley, Northwestern, MIT, and USC, each with nine billionaires. It seems like USC billionaires have made all of their money in Hollywood, and I'm actually surprised MIT hasn't produced more.

Of course, this places Cornell below a lot of other top universities, including Harvard (50), Stanford (30), Penn (27), Yale(19), Columbia (15), Princeton(13), NYU(10), and Chicago (10). But Cornell also stands above other notables including, Duke, with eight (and even then, we wonder how much of Duke's billions represent tobacco money...).

One aspect of these rankings is that they don't separate undergraduate study with graduate schools, so I don't think it's any surprise that over 50 percent of Harvard and Penn's billionaires are associated at the graduate school level. Cornell may be hurt due to the relatively small size of its business and law schools. Secondly, it doesn't consider how many are self made.

Off the top of our head, MetaEzra can think of three of Cornell's billionaires, listed below. But can you name them all without sneaking a peak at Wikipedia?

- Sandy Weill
- Ratan Tata
- Chuck Feeney

Of course, the distribution of billionaires might affect the way the University seeks to to conduct its fund raising. Given that we have less billionaires than peer institutions like Columbia and Penn, it might make sense for Cornell to approach fund raising with a more egalitarian philosophy, like making the alumni magazine free to all alums.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on June 03, 2008 (#)

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