Miscreants, Monsters and Morons From the Ivy League Hall of Yikes

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Miscreants, Monsters and Morons From the Ivy League Hall of Yikes

Most of us were led to believe, especially around SAT time, that entry into an Ivy League university was something reserved for only the best and brightest. That the chance to walk their hallowed halls was a privilege reserved for only the sharpest of shed-tools, ones that had incredible promise. If you were an Ivy Leaguer, it was supposed to be an indication of world-changing potential, that your name might be etched into history after an incredible accomplishment or discovery. 

Of course, there’s more than one way to make sure your name is remembered. There’s also the left-handed path, one that will get you a blue name on Wikipedia for all the wrong reasons, and make sure your prestigious alma mater would rather not be included in the sidebar.

Here are five Ivy League alums who were probably removed from their respective mailing lists…

The Unabomber

Public Domain

This kid’s going places!

If you’ve never read the Unabomber’s famous manifesto, you might have an image in your head of a hodgepodge of nonsense scribbled in red grease pencil. Something that feels pulled from the walls of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining, not a stack of papers that wouldn’t feel that out of place on a grad library table. So you might be surprised to learn that it’s completely grammatically sound and coherent, if a little dry. The guy could have used both a therapist and a punch-up artist.

The reason that Ted Kaczynski’s screed feels so much like academic writing is that it is, indeed, writing done by an academic. He held an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Harvard University. Not only that, he was a smarty-pants there, enrolling at the bright young age of 16. It’s unfortunate, really. If he’d had a harder time with numbers, maybe his little project would have started and ended in an exploded shed instead of across the country. Even worse, Harvard itself was the place where Kaczynski underwent a bit of programming that may have had less-than-ideal effects on his mental health: the MKULTRA program.

The Roadside Strangler

Cornell University was likely less pleased than usual to be name-dropped on the news when they read this NBC coverage of one of their alumni: convicted serial killer Michael Bruce Ross. He’s also known also as “The Roadside Strangler,” though that seems to be a nickname bestowed posthumously in order to spice up some television programming. He also gained the moniker “The Egg Man” at some point, and the best reason I can find for that is that he grew up on a chicken farm. Doesn’t seem like the most relevant of details, but sure.

I won’t spend too much time detailing his crimes and engaging in morally questionable gallows humor, as there’s about a billion podcasts that have paved that road before me. Seriously, it’s hard to research a serial killer these days without having to leaf through about a thousand four-episode failed podcasts called things like Decapitations and Coffee. In the end, Ross confessed to eight murders, and the Cornell grad was executed in 2005.

Lyle Menendez

Public Domain

These are the Menendez brothers, not an ad for Bosley Hair Restoration.

Princeton at least can fall back on the knowledge that one of its students with a particularly grim future was suspended at the time. Of course, the reason for his suspension was plagiarism on top of poor grades, and not “seeming like a guy who might murder both of his parents.” That is, though, exactly what Lyle Menendez, one of the infamous Menendez brothers, did. Lyle and his brother Erik, a lowly plebe, shot and murdered their parents in 1989 in a case that received plenty of national attention. As much as it would like not to be, Princeton University is now part of that story, along with, weirdly, Mark Jackson of the New York Knicks' 1990 trading card.

George Lincoln Rockwell

Brown University is an Ivy League school most well known as part of the Google search “is Brown University an Ivy League school?” Theyre also the school that lays claim to the education of one George Lincoln Rockwell, who, after his days at Brown, went on to pursue a career in politics, where he quickly developed a fervent following. Which would sound all well and good for an Ivy League alum, except that the political party George Lincoln Rockwell founded was the American Nazi Party.

Yup, no dog-hearing needed for that crystal clear whistle. Were talking big ol Nazi flags, “Hitler was right,” the whole shebang. Not exactly the public speaker you want representing your school. Brown can at least breathe the tiniest sigh of relief knowing that he never actually graduated, instead dropping out after two years to join the Navy. Or at least, they could have, if they hadnt then invited him back to campus as a guest speaker after all the Nazi stuff. In the spirit of hearing opposing viewpoints, of course. After all, you want to make sure you hear out a proponent of genocide before you issue an official “I dont know if I agree, my good chum!”

Napalm

Public Domain

Cheers from Beantown!

It may not be a man, but Harvard brags one other horrific product: napalm. I dont know what it is about the Crimson and death-dealing incendiary devices, but they seem to have a knack for it. The substance that burned countless “enemy combatants” (imagine those quotes in bright, bulging red) was invented at, yes, a little college in Boston. Well, not in Boston, but nearby — no, not Tufts. Its impressive, that Harvard was able to achieve vertical integration by producing both a war criminal and their tools.

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