Is College Or HS Degree Needed For Success,Pt.1


by Hank McGrath

During these difficult economic times we, both old and young, must consider the value of a high school graduation or college degree. Does it guarantee a high paying job? Is it a matter of social standing that we wish our child to have something we did not? Do we falsely believe an education controlled by an institution  or compelled by government influence WILL tool children with a stronger and more successful character than we, as parents, can provide? Are we unknowingly sending our children into “the machine” that stunts and diminishes what moves the child most?

Those are just a few of the questions that we will investigate in this three part article.
First and foremost, let us look at the evidence of success for those without degrees. Here is a list provided by Paul Hudson via Young Entrepreneur of the top 100 entrepreneurs that never received a college degree.

1. Abraham Lincoln, lawyer, U.S. president. Finished one year of formal schooling, self-taught himself trigonometry, and read Blackstone on his own to become a lawyer.
2. Amadeo Peter Giannini, multimillionaire founder of Bank of America. Dropped out of high school.
3. Andrew Carnegie, industrialist and philanthropist, and one of the first mega-billionaires in the US. Elementary school dropout. 4. Andrew Jackson, U.S. president, general, attorney, judge, congressman. Home-schooled. Became a practicing attorney by the age of 35 – without a formal education.
5. Andrew Perlman, co-founder of GreatPoint. Dropped out of Washington University to start Cignal Global Communications, an Internet communications company, when he was only 19.
6. Anne Beiler, multimillionaire co-founder of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels. Dropped out of high school.
7. Ansel Adams, world-famous photographer. Dropped out of high school.
8. Ashley Qualls, founder of, left high school at the age of 15 to devote herself to building her website business. She was more than a million dollars by 17.
9. Barbara Lynch, chef, owner of a group of restaurants, worth over $10 million, in Boston. Dropped out of high school.
10. Barry Diller, billionaire, Hollywood mogul, Internet maven, founder of Fox Broadcasting Company, chairman of IAC/InterActive Corp (owner of,
11. Ben Kaufman, 21-year-old serial entrepreneur, founder of Kluster. Dropped out of college in his freshman year.
12. Benjamin Franklin, inventor, scientist, author, entrepreneur. Primarily home-schooled.
13. Billy Joe (Red) McCombs, billionaire, founder of Clear Channel media, real estate investor. Dropped out of law school to sell cars in 1950.
14. Bob Proctor, motivational speaker, bestselling author, and co-founder of Life Success Publishing. Attended two months of high school.
15. Bram Cohen, BitTorrent developer. Attended State University of New York at Buffalo for a year.
16. Carl Lindner, billionaire investor, founder of United Dairy Farmers. Dropped out of high school at the age of 14.
17. Charles Culpeper, owner and CEO of Coca Cola. Dropped out of high school.
18. Christopher Columbus, explorer, discoverer of new lands. Primarily home-schooled.
19. Coco Chanel, founder of fashion brand Chanel. A perfume bearing her name, Chanel No. 5 kept her name famous. 20. Colonel Harlan Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). Dropped out of elementary school, later earned law degree by correspondence.
21. Craig McCaw, billionaire founder of McCaw Cellular. Did not complete college.
22. Dave Thomas, billionaire founder of Wendy’s. Dropped out of high school at 15.
23. David Geffen, billionaire founder of Geffen Records and co-founder of DreamWorks. Dropped out of college after completing one year.
24. David Green, billionaire founder of Hobby Lobby. Started the Hobby Lobby chain with only $600. High school graduate.
25. David Karp, founder of Tumblr. Dropped out of school at 15, then homeschooled. Did not attend college.
26. David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue airlines. Dropped out of college after three years.
27. David Ogilvy, advertising executive and copywriter . Was expelled from Oxford University at the age of 20.
28. David Oreck, multimillionaire founder of The Oreck Corporation. Quit college to enlist in the Army Air Corps.
29. Debbi Fields, founder of Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chippery. Later renamed, franchised, then sold Mrs. Field’s Cookies.
30. DeWitt Wallace, founder and publisher of Reader’s Digest. Dropped out of college after one year. Went back, then dropped out again after the second year.
31. Dov Charney, founder of American Apparel. Started the company in high school, and never attended college.
32. Dustin Moskovitz, multi-millionaire co-founder of Facebook. Harvard dropout.
33. Frank Lloyd Wright, the most influential architect of the twentieth century. Never attended high school.
34. Frederick “Freddy” Laker, billionaire airline entrepreneur. High school dropout.
35. Frederick Henry Royce, auto designer, multimillionaire co-founder of Rolls-Royce. Dropped out of elementary school. 36. George Eastman, multimillionaire inventor, Kodak founder. Dropped out of high school.
37. George Naddaff, founder of UFood Grill and Boston Chicken. Did not attend college.
38. Gurbaksh Chahal, multimillionaire founder of BlueLithium and Click Again. Dropped out at 16, when he founded Click Again. 39. H. Wayne Huizenga, founder of WMX garbage company, helped build Blockbuster video chain. Joined the Army out of high school, and later went to college only to drop out during his first year. 40. Henry Ford, billionaire founder of Ford Motor Company. Did not attend college.
41. Henry J. Kaiser, multimillionaire & founder of Kaiser Aluminum. Dropped out of high school.
42. Hyman Golden, co-founder of Snapple. Dropped out of high school.
43. Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA, one of the richest people in the world, dyslexic.
44. Isaac Merrit Singer, sewing machine inventor, founder of Singer. Elementary school dropout.
45. Jack Crawford Taylor, founder of Enterprise Rent-a-Car. Dropped out of college to become a WWII fighter pilot in the Navy. 46. Jake Nickell, co-founder and CEO of Did not graduate from college.
47. James Cameron, Oscar-winning director, screenwriter, and producer. Dropped out of college.
48. Jay Van Andel, billionaire co-founder of Amway. Never attended college.
49. Jeffrey Kalmikoff, co-founder and chief creative officer of Did not graduate from college.
50. Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo! Dropped out of PhD program. 51. Jimmy Dean, multimillionaire founder of Jimmy Dean Foods. Dropped out of high school at 16.
52. John D. Rockefeller Sr., billionaire founder of Standard Oil. Dropped out of high school just two months before graduating, though later took some courses at a local business school.
53. John Mackey, founder of Whole Foods. Enrolled and dropped out college six times.
54. John Paul DeJoria, billionaire co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems, founder of Patron Spirits tequilla. Joined the Navy after high school.
55. Joyce C. Hall, founder of Hallmark. Started selling greeting cards at the age of 18. Did not attend college.
56. Kemmons Wilson, multimillionaire, founder of Holiday Inn. High school dropout.
57. Kenneth Hendricks, billionaire founder of ABC Supply. High school dropout.
58. Kenny Johnson, founder of Dial-A-Waiter restaurant delivery. College dropout.
59. Kevin Rose, founder of Dropped out of college during his second year.
60. Kirk Kerkorian, billionaire investor, owner of Mandalay Bay and Mirage Resorts, and MGM movie studio. Dropped out eighth-grade. 61. Larry Ellison, billionaire co-founder of Oracle software company. Dropped out of two different colleges.
62. Leandro Rizzuto, billionaire founder of Conair. Dropped out of college. Started Conair with $100 and hot-air hair roller invention. 63. Leslie Wexner, billionaire founder of a Limited Brands. Dropped out of law school. Started the Limited with $5,000. 64. Marc Rich, commodities investor, billionaire. Founder of Marc Rich & Co. Did not finish college.
65. Marcus Loew, multimillionaire founder of Loews theaters, co-founder of MGM movie studio. Elementary school dropout.
66. Mark Ecko, founder of Mark Ecko Enterprises. Dropped out of college.
67. Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Inc. Did not attend college. 68. Michael Dell, billionaire founder of Dell Computers, which started out of his college dorm room. Dropped out of college. 69. Michael Rubin, founder of Global Sports. Dropped out of college in his first year.
70. Micky Jagtiani, billionaire retailer, Landmark International. Dropped out of accounting school.
71. Milton Hershey, founder of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate. 4th grade education.
72. Pete Cashmore, founder of at the age of 19. 73. Philip Green, Topshop billionaire retail mogul. Dropped out of high school.
74. Rachael Ray, Food Network cooking show star, food industry entrepreneur, with no formal culinary arts training. Never attended college.
75. Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s. Dropped out of high school. 76. Richard Branson, billionaire founder of Virgin Records, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Mobile, and more. Dropped out of high school at 16.
77. Richard DeVos, co-founder of Amway. Served in the Army and did not attend college.
78. Richard Schulze, Best Buy founder. Did not attend college. 79. Rob Kalin, founder of Etsy. Flunked out of high school, enrolled in art school for a time, faked a student ID at MIT so he could take classes. His professors subsequently helped him get into NYU, they were so impressed.
80. Ron Popeil, multimillionaire founder of Ronco, inventor, producer, infomercial star. Did not finish college.
81. Rush Limbaugh, multi-millionaire media mogul, radio talk show host. Dropped out of college.
82. Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam records, founder of Russell Simmons Music Group, Phat Farm fashions, bestselling author. Did not finish college.
83. S. Daniel Abraham, founder of Slim-Fast, billionaire. Did not attend college.
84. Sean John Combs, entertainer, producer, fashion designer, and entrepreneur. Never finished college.
85. Shawn Fanning, developer of Napster. Dropped out of college at the age of 19.
86. Simon Cowell, TV producer, music judge, American Idol, The X Factor, and Britain’s Got Talent. High school dropout.
87. Steve Madden, shoe designer. Dropped out of college. 88. Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, billionaire. Did not complete college.
89. Ted Murphy, founder of social media company Izea Entertainment. Dropped out of college.
90. Theodore Waitt, billionaire founder of Gateway Computers. Dropped out of college to start Gateway – one semester before graduating.
91. Thomas Edison, inventor of the lightbulb, phonograph, and more. Primarily home-schooled, then joined the railroad when he was only 12.
92. Tom Anderson, co-founder and “friend” of MySpace. Dropped out of high school.
93. Ty Warner, billionaire developer of Beanie Babies, real estate investor, and hotel owner. Dropped out of college.
94. Vidal Sassoon, founder of Vidal Sassoon, multimillionaire. Dropped out of high school.
95. W. Clement Stone, multimillionaire insurance man, author, founder of Success magazine. Dropped out of elementary school. Later attended high school, graduating. Attended but did not finish college.
96. W.T. Grant, founder of W.T. Grant department stores, multimillionaire. Dropped out of high school.
97. Wally “Famous” Amos, multimillionaire entrepreneur, author, talent agent, founder of Famous Amos cookies. Left high school at 17 to join the Air Force.
98. Walt Disney, founder of the Walt Disney Company. Dropped out of high school at 16.
99. Wolfgang Puck, chef, owner of 16 restaurants and 80 bistros. Quit school at the age of 14.
100. Y.C. Wang, billionaire founder of Formosa Plastics. Did not attend high school.

NOW, Thanx to ,  Here are some successful people who did not get a college degree (and did not get there because they were born with a “silver spoon”):

Sean Connery grew up extremely poor, dropped out of high school to work a number of  jobs and was also in the army. He got a job working backstage at the King’s Theatre in 1951 and the ball rolled… won an Oscar, has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, and is dubbed the “greatest living Scot.”


Dropping out of high-school just two months before graduation, Rockefeller began working as an assistant bookkeeper and ultimately went on to found Standard Oil. Considered one of (if not the) richest American in history, his net worth at his death in 1937 was $1.5 billion.


At just 16 years old, Branson founded The Student, a magazine he distributed to his fellows at Stowe School in England. He barely graduated and chose not to attend college, instead opting to sell popular records out of the church in which he ran the magazine. And thus, the start of Virgin Records.


Despite evidence to the contrary, Rachael Ray had little to no formal cooking training. Instead of heading off to college after high school, she spent most of her twenties working various food service jobs in NYC and Albany. Ultimately she settled there and began teaching classes about how to cook full meals in less than 30 minutes, shortly thereafter a local TV station asked her to do a segment—and that was that.


We’re using Bill Gates as the prime example here, but this list would have to be its own post to do it any kind of justice. From the earliest pioneers of Silicon Valley to its contemporary counterparts like Mark Zuckerberg, these guys all went to top schools and then dropped out to revolutionize the tech industry.


Smith was admitted to a pre-engineering program at MIT, but turned it down in order to pursue a career in music. Starting in the mid-eighties as the MC of DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (you can guess which one he was), it quickly became clear that he had made the right decision.


Ford has one of the most outstanding stories on this list, as he essentially figured out how to mass produce the basis of the modern car on his own—and he started by dissembling a watch his father had given him when he was 15.


Driven from a young age, Thomas started working at restaurants when he was just a teen, quickly realizing that food was his passion. When his family decided to move while he was in tenth grade, he instead chose to stay and dropped out so he could work full-time. He eventually befriended and worked closely with KFC founder Col. Sanders and used his knowledge to open the first Wendy’s in 1969.


On top of having a super sweet name, Cashmore is the CEO and founder of Mashable, one of the most widely read blogs in the world. Instead of continuing his studies in Scotland, he chose to found the top-ten tech blog when he was just 19. Since then, he’s gone onto write for CNN and in 2012 Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
{TheHeritageVoice Thanks Wikipedia for the photos}

According to TheWahingtonPost , Mark Wahlberg, who grew up poor and on tough city streets with no opportunities, recently received his High School Diploma at 42 years of age


NOW ASK YOURSELF: If these folks did not have a silver spoon – by what means did they begin the motion of success – especially at such an early stage of life?
It is evident that if they had a conventional education they would not have achieved…the level they have.

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