Where Did Vivek Ramaswamy Go to College?

The Republican presidential candidate, New York Times bestselling author, and businessman graduated summa cum laude in biology from Harvard and from Yale Law School with a Juris Doctor (JD) degree.
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Published on October 10, 2023
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  • Vivek Ramaswamy hasn't held any political offices, but he has engaged in political issues since his college days.
  • Ramaswamy wants to incentivize trade schools over "hollow college degrees."
  • He was known in college as a contrarian and debater.
  • Ramaswamy was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Indian immigrant parents.

Vivek Ramaswamy burst onto the national scene when The New Yorker dubbed him the "CEO of Anti-Woke Inc." Now, he's taking the ethos that earned him that title to politics as a Republican candidate for U.S. president.

Ramaswamy is the founder of U.S. biotech company Roivant Sciences, where he served as CEO until he stepped down in 2021. While this may be his first political campaign, he's no stranger to political issues.

Like fellow Republican candidate Ron DeSantis, Ramaswamy garnered national attention with an "anti-woke" platform. Prior to running for president, he authored two books: The New York Times bestseller "Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America's Social Justice Scam" and "Nation of Victims: Identity Politics, the Death of Merit, and the Path Back to Excellence."

Ramaswamy was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, after his parents emigrated from India.

Despite graduating from two Ivies — Harvard and Yale universities — he is committed to "incentivize trade schools over hollow college degrees" in his "America First 2.0" campaign.

Still, Ramaswamy said his college experience "honed and sharpened" his views, NBC reported in an interview after one of his recent campaign events in Ohio.

"I think I got a better education because of it. I got no doubt a better education, more of my money's worth at Harvard and Yale, precisely because a lot of my views were challenged and vice versa."

Harvard: Home to 'The Chairman' and 'Da Vek'

Ramaswamy was a nationally ranked tennis player during high school and graduated as valedictorian, according to his campaign website.

He earned his bachelor of science degree in biology from Harvard, graduating summa cum laude in 2007 as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, a prestigious honor society. At Harvard, he served as one of three student representatives on the college's presidential search committee and participated in the South Asian Association, club tennis, and intramural sports.

Ramaswamy, nicknamed "The Chairman," considered himself a contrarian who called Harvard an ideal playground for intellectual sport.

"Harvard teaches you to be a better questioner … you can be heard even if you aren't in the mainstream," he said in 2006 in the school's independent student newspaper, The Harvard Crimson.

A year prior, he wrote "Uncounted Costs of a Living Wage" in the Crimson, criticizing the campaign to raise wages for janitors and other lower-paid Harvard employees.

"Rather, if the living-wage campaign were successful in achieving a wage increase for Harvard's lowest-paid workers, it will have done so at the cost of respect that the rest of the Harvard community has for these workers — a cost that, no matter how high the wage increase, is too high to pay," he wrote in The Harvard Crimson.

He said instead of supporting higher wages, the college should cultivate an environment where people are given the respect they're entitled to regardless of living situation, language, and wages.

And when he wasn't The Chairman, he was "Da Vek," a rapper dressed in all black offering bars from Busta Rhymes and Eminem. His friends said it was a complete transformation.

He considered Eminem's "Lose Yourself" his life's theme song.

Over a decade later, he rapped his life's theme during a 2023 political campaign at the Iowa State Fair, earning him a cease-and-desist letter from The Real Slim Shady.

A Charmer and Debater at Yale Law

Ramaswamy earned his Juris Doctor (JD) from Yale Law School in 2013. He funded his education by working at a hedge fund and through the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, a graduate fellowship for immigrants and children of immigrants.

According to NBC interviews with classmates, he was a charmer and debater on an "intellectual vacation."

"I do have a general memory of his hand going up almost every day in response to almost any question," one classmate told NBC.

"He was very charming and challenging to argue with in the way that it's interesting and challenging to argue with the Unabomber," another classmate told NBC.