Andrew Puzder’s Educational Background: Could He Have Ran Our Labor Department?

Who Is Andrew Puzder?:

Trump’s former nominee for US Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder withdrew his candidacy for that position on February 15th.  George Thompson, his spokesman stated that his decision stemmed from “an unprecedented smear campaign.”  Evidence against his nomination included allegations of spousal abuse and evidence regarding his employment of undocumented immigrants. If this millionaire had been successful in his bid for the Department of Labor, he would have gained the power to suggest and enforce laws surrounding unions, worker’s rights, and workplace protections.  The fact that Andrew Puzder was nominated in the first place is rather ironic.

In the private sector, he’s best known for being the CEO of CKE Restaurants.  His company, which operates both Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr, has run afoul of labor laws more than once.   In fact, since taking over in 2000, CKE has been the subject of more than 166 OSHA investigations. Before he assumed his current position at CKE, he spent decades as an independent lawyer in Ohio.

Educational and Personal Background:

Andrew “Andy” Puzder, born on July 11th of 1950, spent much of his young life in Russell Township. After graduating from high school, Puzder enrolled at Kent State University.   Within twelve months of starting his studies, the school experienced its greatest tragedy: the Kent State shootings. Due in part to trauma inflicted by that experience, Puzder transferred to Cleveland State University (CSU). He completed his baccalaureate education at that school in 1975.

With his sights set on becoming a lawyer, Puzder then transferred to Washington University’s School of Law. While there, he worked as an editor for the Washington University Law Quarterly.  After earning his JD in 1978, he moved to St. Louis to kick start his law career.  It didn’t take long for the wet-behind-the-ears lawyer to make an impression. By the late 1980s, Puzder was known as one of the best anti-abortion lawyers in the state of Missouri

His knowledge of the law, however, did not save his 15-year-old marriage with his first wife, Lisa Henning.   Remarrying later that same year, Puzder would go on to father a total of six children.

The former cabinet nominee supports a wide variety of causes and organizations. Most notable among these are The National Advisory Board of Washington University’s School of Law, The Job Creators’ Network, and the American Enterprise Institute.


  • Kent State University: Established in 1910, Kent University occupies a roughly 900-acre campus in Kent, Ohio. Thanks to a tragedy that occurred in 1970, this school has also become synonymous with school shootings.  As of 2016, this university served as home to more than 30 thousand students. Despite its somewhat speckled past, Kent State continually ranks as one of the top 200 universities in the world.
  • Cleveland State University (CSU): While smaller than Kent State, CSU holds a spot on many “Top Universities” lists. The school is home to more than 200 academic programs and just under 20,000 students.   This school also takes its role as research university very seriously. In terms of the number of dollars dedicated to research, Cleveland State ranks in the top 20-percent of universities in the USA.
  • Washington University: Established in 1890, WSU is well-known for its programs in business, chemical engineering, communications, and veterinary science. The US News and World Report typically ranks this institution as one of the best American universities With a total enrollment bordering on 30,000, WSU is the second largest university in the state.

Ben Carson’s Educational Background: Is He Qualified to Run HUD?

“Education is a fundamental principle of what made America a success. We can’t afford to throw any young people away.”

Why They’ve Earned Our Notice:

Ben Carson became our Secretary of Housing and Urban Development on March 2nd of 2017. In this position, he’ll be responsible for fulfilling housing needs, ensuring the fairness of real estate, and putting plans in place to improve the nation’s communities. Before being nominated for President Trump’s cabinet, Carson ran against him in the Republican primary.

Long before dabbling in the executive branch, however, he was a neurosurgeon, author, and politician. He is one of the first doctors to successfully separate twins joined at the end and perform a successful brain surgery on a fetus while in the womb.  Carson would go on to set up the Carson Scholar’s Fund for “academic excellence and humanitarian qualities.” While he’s impacted the lives of hundreds of patients before, his new position affects millions.

Personal Life:

Benjamin Solomon Carson was born in Detroit on September 18th of 1951.  By the time he’d reached eight, his parents separated. His next few years were thrown into disarray by his family’s move to Boston, his mother’s attempt at suicide, economic difficulties, and his less-than-stellar education at a Seventh Day Adventist school out east. After reentering Detroit Public Schools, he found himself and his elder brother lagged behind academically. His mother responded by limiting television time and requiring that both sons complete two books a week. By the time Carson reached high school, the family had managed to turn their lives around. His grades followed.

The main issue facing Carson, however, was his violent temper.  In an NBC interview, he explained himself, “”As a teenager, I would go after people with rocks, and bricks, and baseball bats, and hammers,” Aside from his mother, no one has verified the existence of these violent outbursts. This temper didn’t stop him from reaching success. After his high school graduation, Carson started on the path that would take him to a medical career.

Currently, Ben Carson is married and father to three sons. At the moment, he resides with his wife in Florida.


  • Southwestern High School: Ben Carson attended this Michigan school from 9th grade until his graduation. Closed in 2012, Southwestern High School was once a campus of the Detroit Public School district. This three-floored institution once served students from Boynton to Springwells Village.
  • Yale University: In 1973, Ben Carson graduated from this Ivy League institution with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. In doing so, he joins the leagues of other famous alumni including Hillary Clinton, Meryl Streep, and Ansel Adams. Yale is a private research university currently located in the heart of Connecticut.  While open since 1701, the school did not introduce its first doctorate program until 1861. Yale currently has more than 12,000 students spread across its 1,015-acre campus. Its library is the third-largest in the United States.
  • University of Michigan: Carson didn’t wait long to continue his education. He enrolled at the University of Michigan Medical School less than a year after obtaining his bachelor’s degree.  Within a few months of beginning his program, his faculty adviser suggested that he drop out. Carson ignored his device and settled on a new studying schedule. By his sophomore year, Carson began to excel academically. In 1977, he graduated with his M.D. and gained entrance to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.
  • Johns Hopkins University: To finish both his residency and specialization, Carson enrolled in John Hopkin’s neuroscience program. He completed this last piece of his program in 1983. Also, known as Hopkins or JHU, John Hopkins University is a private, research-centric university located in Baltimore. Founded in 1876, it’s considered the first research university in the United States. The school boasts a student population of nearly 20,000 and an endowment that exceeds 3.3 billion dollars. Truly a global campus, JHU boasts campuses as far flung as Italy and Singapore.

Rick Perry’s Educational Background: How Well-Educated Is He?


US Secretary of Energy

Why They’ve Earned Our Notice:

On March 2nd, of 2017, James Richard “Rick” Perry become our newest Secretary of Energy. Nominated to his position by the ever-controversial Donald Trump, Perry takes the seat formerly held by Obama’s Ernest Monis.  In his new role, he’s responsible for US policies regarding energy, energy conservation, genomics, and the safe handling of radioactive materials.

Before becoming the new face of the Department of Energy, Rick Perry served three terms as the governor of Texas and served on the board of directors of Energy Transfer Partners.  While governor, he vehemently opposed same-sex marriage, took a tough stance on crime, supported the death penalty, and staunchly defended the right to bear arms. This highly-conservative politician, who once wished to eliminate the Department of Energy, is now responsible for running it.

Personal Life:

Born in the winter of 1950, Rick Perry spent his foundational years in small town Texas.  So did the rest of his family. The Perry family can trace its Texan roots back more than five generations.  As a child, he joined and flourished within the Texas branch of the boy scouts. By the time of his high school graduation, he’d earned the rank of Eagle Scout. In his younger years, he worked as an author, salesman, small-time movie star, Air Force officer, and cotton farmer. He discovered his love for politics after the death of local US Representative Sam Rayburn.

He married his wife Mary in 1982.  They went on to have two adult children, Griffin and Sydney. When not at home, or at work, he’s also big into “Cowboy Culture” and an active member of the Sons of the American Revolution.


While in office, Perry stood strongly behind effective school budgets and refused to back any budget that shortchanged the children of Texas.  He’s also the proud recipient of a Bachelor’s Degree:

  • Paint Creek High School: James Richard Perry graduated from Paint Creek High School in 1968. This institution originally formed with the  1937 consolidation of the Post, Howard, Weaver, Rose, and McConnell school districts.  By 1941, five additional school districts were folded into its jurisdiction.
  • Texas A&M University: Four years after earning his high school diploma, Rick Perry graduated from Texas A&M University (TAMU) with a degree in animal science. While there, he was a member of both the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and Corps of Cadets. In addition, he was elected his class’ social secretary in his senior year.  TAMU is a coeducational, public research university located in College Station.  With over 60 thousand students in 2016, this school possesses one of the largest student bodies in the US. TAMU also holds the title of first public higher-education institution in Texas.


Elaine Chao’s Educational Background: Would You Believe She has More than 36 Honorary Doctorates?

Why She Deserves Our Notice

A Taiwanese-American politician and our newest Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao is no stranger to the US cabinet. In fact, thanks to her leading of the US Labor Department under President Bush, she’s was the first Asian-American woman to ever hold a cabinet position.  She was also particularly notable in the Bush administration for being the only cabinet member to serve a full two terms. In Trump’s wet-behind-the-ear team, Elaine stands out. In her new capacity, Elaine Chao is responsible for advising President Trump on all matters relating to public and federal transit.

Personal Life and Educational Background:

The eldest of six girls, Elaine came into the world on March 26th of 1953.  While the family was Chinese in heritage, they were forced to flee to Taiwan at the end of the Chinese Civil War.  Three years after her father had arrived, Elaine and the rest of her family picked up and moved to New York. By the time she graduated from Syosset High School, the Chao clan was reaping the rewards of her father’s entrepreneurial spirit.

Following her high school graduation, Elaine enrolled at Mount Holyoke College to pursue a degree in economics.  While there, she represented the field hockey and equestrian clubs and worked as both a student recruiter and yearbook editor. After her 1975 graduation, Elaine Chao set her sights on earning a Harvard MBA. She did so in 1979.  Her education did not stop there. Our current Secretary of Transportation is also the proud recipient of 36 honorary doctorate degrees.

Elaine Chao is currently married to Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Institutional Highlights:

  • Mount Holyoke College: Located in South Hadley, Mount Holyoke College is an all-female liberal arts college. Originally founded as Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in 1837 it was the first member of the Seven Sisters. Holyoke’s 2,000-acre campus features an 18-hole golf course and two botanical gardens. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Holyoke is the fourth highest producer of Fulbright Scholars. The school currently offers more than 50 departmental and interdepartmental majors.
  • Harvard University: A private Ivy League university based in Cambridge, Harvard is particularly well-known for its business programs. Founded all the way back in 1636, this well-regarded institution is the oldest secondary school in the United States. Its roughly 20,000 students can choose from eleven academic units and three separate campuses. Its endowment, which measured more than 34-billion in 2016, is the largest of any academic institution. Famous alumni include 8 US Presidents, 62 billionaires, and 359 Rhodes Scholars.



Mike Pompeo’s Educational Background

Why He Deserves Our Notice:

Mike Pompeo is now the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He took over this position from Obama’s John O. Brennan on January 23, 2017. In his new position, he will assume responsibility for both leading the United States intelligence community and serve as a security advisor to President Trump. Prior to that, Pompeo served as the U.S. Representative for Kansas’ 4th congressional district from 2011 to 2017. In addition to being a staunch Republican, he’s also known for holding many of the same beliefs as the ever-controversial Tea Party.

Personal Life and Education:

Born on December 30, 1963, Michael Richard Pompeo is the Dorothy and Wayne Pompeo. He spent much of his early childhood split between Santa Ana and Fountain Valley, California. After earning himself a name as a basketball forward, Pompeo graduated from Los Amigos High School in 1982.  He then enrolled at West Point to complete his undergraduate education. In 1986, he graduated as his class valedictorian with a degree in mechanical engineering.  Immediately after graduation, Pompeo served as an army officer until he returned to school in 1991.

After his service in the military, Pompeo enrolled at Harvard University to complete his law degree. While there, he served as the editor of the Harvard Law Review.  Mike would go on to join Williams and Connolly as an attorney.

While serving in the House of Representatives, he voted on a variety of educational items. He voted to reauthorize the DC scholarship program, fund further abstinence education, and to revoke the items laid out by common core.

School Profiles:

  • West Point University: Better known as “The Point”, this military academy sits on a scenic bluff overlooking the Hudson River. Upon entry to this university, all students are considered “officers-in-training”; they’re commonly referred to as cadets. Students who make it through the rigorous admission’s process are given the chance to earn a bachelor of science degree in a major of their choice. Since its opening in 1801, The Point has managed to produce two U.S. Presidents and 75 Medal of Honor recipients.
  • Harvard University: Established in 1636, Harvard is one of the world’s most illustrious universities. Harvard University is divided into ten separate academic units. Its graduates include 242 Marshall Scholars, 359 Rhodes Scholars, and eight U.S. Presidents. Harvard currently possesses the largest financial endowment in the world.

Tom Brady’s Educational Background

Why He’s Earned Our Notice:

Tom Brady is a record-breaking quarterback for the New England Patriots. He’s one of only two players to win five Super Bowls, the only player to win all five on the same team, and the only player to do so while playing quarterback. In his 15 seasons with the Patriots, Brady has accompanied them to the Super Bowl on seven separate occasions. This well-known player has been rewarded for his hard work. He’s the proud recipient of four Super Bowl MVP awards and holds the record for most appearances in the postseason. Forbes estimates Brady’s net worth at $540 million.

Personal Life and Education:

The only son born to Galynn and Thomas Brady, the younger Brady spent much of his childhood in California. He, along with all three of his sisters, was raised in the Catholic faith. As a boy, the future quarterback regularly attended games at Candlestick Park. It’s there that he first saw his hero, Joe Montana, dominate the gridiron. Before enrolling at the University of Michigan, Tom Brady completed his primary education at Junipero Serra High School.

Tom Brady excelled both on and off the football field. He graduated in 1999 with a 3.3 GPA. While his degree was in general studies, Brady rounded it out with minors in both psychology and business administration. In addition to his work in football and academics, his college resume includes a variety of part-time jobs and volunteer work. After he finished his bachelor’s degree, Tom Brady wiped his hands clean of education.

In 2009, Brady married Gisele Bundchen. The couple welcomed a son later that year and a daughter, Vivian, in 2012.


  • Junipero Serra High School: Commonly known as JSHS, this school is a Catholic-faith centric institution base out of San Mateo, California. It currently serves male students in grade 9 to 12.  Junipero focuses on five core values: faith, wisdom, service, community, and leadership. As of 2016, JSHS hosts roughly 900  high school students.
  • University of Michigan: Founded in 1817, UoM is Michigan’s oldest university. Since its founding, the school’s campus has grown to cover more than 780 acres. Due to its strict academic rigor and highly-focused approach to research, UoM is considered one of the best universities in the United States. With a body of living alumni totaling well over 500,000, University of Michigan possesses one of the largest alumni bases in the world.

Dwayne Johnson’s Educational Background

Why They’ve Earned Our Notice:

Dwayne Douglas Johnson, better known as The Rock, is an American producer, actor, producer, and singer.   The first third-generation fighter of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., Johnson’s emerged with 10-world and two intercontinental championships. While he’s now retired from full-time wrestling, many consider him one of the greatest wrestlers to ever hit the ring.

Nowadays, however, you’re much more likely to see Johnson on the silver screen. His film career started with 2002’s The Scorpion King. Johnson’s gone on to make a name for himself with The Fast and Furious franchise. Most recently, he voiced Maui in Disney’s Moana.

In 2013, Forbes listed Johnson as one of the most powerful celebrities in the world.  Time Magazine would later announce him as a nominee for its 100 most influential people in the world. In short, even if you hate wrestling, it’s hard to escape The Rock’s influence. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Personal Life and Education:

Dwayne Johnson was born in Hayward, California on May 2, 1972.  With two generations of professional wrestlers before him, his love of the sport developed early. He wasn’t just knowledgeable in the ring, however. A truly international man, The Rock spent much of his life bouncing between New Zealand, Hawaii, and California. He did lay down roots long enough, however, to graduate from Bethelem’s Freedom High School. When it came time to attend college, Dwayne didn’t fall back on his family’s wrestling expertise. It was his prowess on the football field that earned him a full-ride to the University of Miami.

That school made a huge impact on Johnson’s life. Within Miami’s hallowed halls, Dwayne would go on to both meet his first wife and play for a national football championship. In 1995, he graduated with a Bachelor of General Studies with concentrations in both criminology and physiology. Dwayne Johnson is the father of two young girls. Anyone interested in reading up on The Rock’s life can pick up his best-selling autobiography, The Rock Says. . ..


  • Freedom High School: Freedom Hill High is a densely-populated public school located in the heart of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. It’s practically popping at the seams. In 2015, its enrollment numbered close to 1900. With a history of poverty and poor test scores, Freedom High is not exactly the crème-de-la-crème. In 2015, test scores showed that just 57-percent of students were progressing adequately in both reading and literature.
  • University of Miami: Often referred to as UM, the University of Miami is a private research university located in Coral Gables, Florida. It’s a pretty large school. At the end of 2015, it served as home to nearly 17,000 students. Those enrolled at UM can choose between 116 undergraduate, 105 masters, and 63 doctoral degree programs. Unlike Freedom Hill, this school is anything but shabby. In 2017, U.S. News and World Report ranked UM as the 44th best national university in the US.

Drake’s Educational Background

Why He Deserves Our Notice:

Audrey Drake Graham, better known as Drake, is a Canadian-born producer, actor, singer, and songwriter.  He first shot into the public eye in the early 2000s after assuming a role in Degrassi: The Next Generation. Audrey didn’t dream of making a career out of teenage angst, however. In 2007, Drake departed the series to pursue a career in rapping. He flourished. His albums smashed box office records and captured the public imagination. In fact, he holds the record for most charted songs by a solo artist. His second studio album, Take Care, netted him a Grammy.

His success goes far beyond the mike. Drake also owns his own record label and clothing line.  School, however, was never quite his thing.

Personal Life and Education:

Aubrey Drake Graham was born in Toronto on October 24, 1986. His parents represented a rather odd coupling of African-American Catholic drummer and a Jewish-Canadian English teacher. While the couple did not last long, divorcing five years after Drake’s birth, they helped him to become the person he is today. He was raised almost solely by his mother in a small department in Toronto. While he proved himself skilled in the arts, especially drama, Drake never had an easy time at school. For much of his youth, the future superstar was the target of rampant bullying.

Drake dropped out of Vaughan Road Academy at 15 to pursue an acting career.  In 2012, 10 years after dropping out, Drake went back to school to earn his high school diploma.  Shortly after graduating, Drake tweeted about the achievement, “97% on my final exam. 88% in the course. One of the greatest feelings in my entire life. As of tonight, I have graduated high school!” he wrote.  In short, finishing his education made him as elated as winning a Grammy.


  • Vaughan Road Academy: VRA is a Toronto school located in the multicultural Oakwood-Vaughan neighborhood of Toronto. Since 1998, Vaughan Road Academy has offered all students a chance to join its international baccalaureate program. For any future Drakes, the school recently launched its INTERACT program; this highly-flexible program offers the artistically minded a chance to pursue their dreams. The Toronto District School Board’s website starts the school’s summary by saying, “Vaughan Road Academy holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the community and its students.”

Nikki Haley’s Educational Background

Why She’s Earned Our Notice:

On January 27, 2017, Namrata Haley, better known as Nikki, became Trump’s U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. In her new role, she’s responsible for protecting U.S. interests at meetings of the United Nations. Nikki Haley previously served as the Governor of South Carolina. She’s one of only two Indian-Americans in U.S. history, and the first woman in South Carolina, to hold a gubernatorial position.  In 2016, Time magazine singled her out as one of the year’s most influential people.

Personal Life and Education:

Born January 20, 1972, Nimrata Randhawa is a second-generation Indian-American. Her father, Ajit Sing Randhawa, worked as a professor at Voorhees College. Her mother, Raj Randhawa, would go on to open her own clothing shop in 1976. At the age of 12, Haley started to help out in her mother’s clothing shop. The Economist characterized Nikki Haley as “an extreme watchfulness about overheads and a sharp aversion to government intrusion.”

Nikki Haley graduated from the local Orangeburg Preparatory Schools in 1989. After that, Nikki enrolled at Clemson University to complete a accounting. In 2015, the University of South Carolina granted Nikki Haley an honorary doctorate in public service. As governor, Haley supported a variety of initiatives meant to improve school performance.

While raised a Sikh, Haley converted to Christianity in1996. She’s currently married to Michael Haley and mother to two children.

School Profiles:

  • Orangeburg Preparatory Schools: Orangeburg Preparatory Schools, Inc. is a college-preparatory institution serving students in preschool to twelfth grade. The staff at this highly-rated institution make it their goal to provide a high-quality and comprehensive education. Its current dual-campus structure resulted from the 1986 merger of Wade Hampton and Willington Academies.
  • Clemson University (CU): Based out of South Carolina, CU serves more than 20,000 students across its seven academic schools. Classed as a school with high-research activity, U.S. News & World Report ranked Clemson 23rd out of the country’s public universities.
  • University of South Carolina (USC): USC is a public research university based in South Carolina. Its main campus covers more than 300 acres of downtown Columbia. While not as highly-ranked as Clemson, USC is consistently ranked as an “up-and-coming” university by the S. News & World Report. The school also possesses one of the best-rated international business programs in the country. The school currently serves 33,000 students across its more than 350 programs.

Mick Mulvaney’s Educational Background

Who the Heck is Mick Mulvaney?

Confirmed on February 16, 2017, John Michael “Mike” Mulvaney is the current director for the Office of Management and Budget (OBM). In his newest role, Mulvaney oversees and manages the budgets of various federal agencies. Furthermore, it’s his job to prepare and coordinate activities surrounding the President’s annual budget. With over 10 years’ experience in the South Carolinian legislature, Mulvaney was the first Republican in more than 100 years to represent the state’s 5th congressional district. Before discovering his passion for politics, Mike worked as a lawyer out of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Experts estimate his net worth at approximately $2.6 million dollars.

How Educated Is He?

Shortly after his birth, Mulvaney’s family moved to Indian Land, South Carolina. While there, the future OMB director attended and graduated from Charlotte Catholic High School.

After earning his high school diploma, Mulvaney enrolled at Georgetown University to complete his degree in International Economics, Commerce, and Finance. He would go on to graduate with honors in 1989. However, his pursuit of enlightenment did not end there. Mick enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to obtain his law degree. With the help of a full-ride scholarship, he graduated in 1992.

School Profiles:

  • Georgetown University: Georgetown is a private research university situated in the heart of Washington D.C. Since its founding in 1789, the university’s grown to include nine separate schools and forty-eight programs of study. Its nearly 18,000 students have access to some of the largest student-ran businesses in the world. This prestigious university only admits 16.4-percent of applicants. So, before you apply, make certain you have all your ducks in a row.
  • University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill: One of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina systems, UNC’s been open since 1795. This fact makes it one of the oldest public universities in the United States. Its nearly 30,000 students can choose from nearly 70 majors spread across 14 different colleges. All undergraduates spend their first two years focused wholly on the liberal arts. Of its more than 550 organizations, its student-run newspaper, student-run radio station, and men’s basketball team receive the most publicity.