Successful Harvard Dropouts: List of Famous Personalities

Successful Harvard Dropouts

We previously highlighted the top ten notable Oxford University Alumnus and their contributions to Science, Technology, and Entertainment around the world. In today’s article, we’ll take a look at some of the world’s most successful and well-known people who dropped out of Harvard University.

Despite Harvard being one of the oldest and most prestigious higher education institutions, there have been reports of student dropouts. In the 2022 global rankings of QS, Times Higher Education, and US News Report, Harvard University is ranked higher than YalePrincetonUPennSNHUPurdueOxford, Southern New Hampshire University and Portsmouth.

School isn’t for everyone, let’s be realistic about this. Between all the stress and the pressure, most students don’t make it to the final day where they graduate but that doesn’t mean their lives are over.

Many students drop out of school for many reasons including; financial constraints, the pursuit of entrepreneurial dreams, expulsion, and others.

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Although there are many successful people who dropped out of Harvard, in this article, we put together the top 10 famous Harvard dropouts who left the prestigious Ivy school to pursue their individual passions. These people have found tremendous success after leaving Harvard. But bear in mind, that the list below is in no particular order.

What is Harvard’s graduation rate?

Harvard University has a 98 percent graduation rate. This is the highest among American universities, surpassing Princeton, SNHU, Brown, Rice University, Michigan State, Yale, MIT, Purdue, Stanford, Columbia, and UPenn, among others.

The 10 Top Famous Harvard Dropouts

Let’s get down to business…

Below is a little bit of information about the people in the list above;

Bill Gates

NameAttended Harvard
Bill Gates1973-1975
Matt Damon1988-1992
Mark Zuckerberg2002-2004
Robert Frost1897-1899
Alexa Von Tobel2002-2006
Cole Porter 1913-1914
Dustin Moskovitz2002-2004
William Randolph Hearst1881-expelled before 1885
Boonie Raitt1967-1970
Buckminster “Buck” Fuller1913-1915

Bill Gates was known during his time at Harvard because of his studious nature. An applied math major, Bill will pull all-nighters to study, socialize and begin from scratch every day.

He even audited his classes that were at the same time as his own. At the age of 20 years old, He left Harvard to co-found Microsoft with his childhood friend Paul Allen. Bill has been the wealthiest or among the wealthiest people in the world for a long time now.

He is now the technological adviser for Microsoft after stepping down as the Chairman of the company. His net worth is approximately $129 billion according to Forbes Billionaire index. He is ranked ahead of Warren Buffett, Larry Pag, Sergey Brin, and Elon Musk, a former University of Pennsylvania student and CEO of Twitter and Tesla is on top of that list.

Matt Damon

Matt Damon always had a passion for acting, this translated during his time at Harvard. He would skip his classes to attend auditions. An English major, Matt dropped out of Harvard during his senior year with 12 credits of shy degree when he got a role in the film “Geronimo:

An American Legend.” He got his big break in the movie “Good Will Hunting” in which he wrote, produced, and starred in it. He got an Academy Award for his role. Since then, his career has taken off, starring in different movies and tv series genres. His net worth is approximately $170 million.

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg attended Harvard University between 2002 and 2004, after which he dropped out to focus solely on Facebook following its February 4, 2004 launch. He continued to develop the site when he moved to Palo Alto, California.

Since then, Facebook has become the largest social network which ushered in the era of social media. Facebook made history as the biggest tech company to go public with an IPO offering at $16 billion and also the fourth biggest.

Forbes estimates Mark Zuckerberg net worth at 71.5 billion USD as of May, 2022. The Billionaire is married to Priscilla Chan, an American philanthropist.

Alexa Von Tobel

Alexa Von Tobel was the first student to write a thesis on Bhutan when she graduated Magna Cum Laude Plus from Harvard College. Although she did not make it through at Harvard Business School, Alexa committed all her time to her startup LearnVest, which she had been developing while in school. This startup helps people with financial planning. The startup is now valued in millions of dollars. She was also named one of the first members of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship for her work with LearnVest from President Obama.

William Randolph Hearst

William Randolph Hearst got expelled from Harvard for pulling pranks on his professors. The stroke that broke the camel’s back was when he sent his professors chamber pots with their names at bottom of it. He was also keeping an alligator named Champagne Charlie in his dorm.

After his expulsion, he went on to build America’s biggest newspaper chain and media company, Hearst Communications. He also served two terms in the US House of Representatives. The protagonist of the movie “Citizen Kane” is based on Hearst.

Dustin Moskovitz

Moskovitz co-founded Facebook, Asana, and Good Ventures. Along with Mark Zuckerberg and other Patners, he co-founded Meta.

In 2013, he married Cari Tuna, a former Wall Street Journal news reporter. According to the Forbes Billionaire Index, Dustin has a net worth of $11.5 billion USD.