No Diploma? No Problem, Says Gov. Scott Walker
Policy + Politics

No Diploma? No Problem, Says Gov. Scott Walker

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, one of the leading candidates for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, is addressing head-on concerns that have been raised that he left college without earning a degree. 

Last week The Washington Post ran a long piece that delved into Walker’s college years, which included how he left Marquette University in the spring of his senior year, in 1990. Then Howard Dean, former Democratic National Committee chair, said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, “The issue is, how well educated is this guy? That’s a problem … I’m absolutely serious. I worry about people being president of the United States not knowing much about the world and not knowing much about science.” 

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Walker – who three times in the past four years has been elected to Wisconsin’s highest office – is dismissing all of this as partisan politics. “It’s interesting. That’s the kind of elitist, government-knows-best, top-down approach from Washington we’ve heard for years,” he told Fox News on Tuesday night

“We’ve had an Ivy-trained lawyer in the White House for six years who’s pretty good at reading off the teleprompter, but has done a pretty lousy job leading this country." (President Obama received his undergraduate degree in political science from Columbia University in New York in 1983 and earned his law degree magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1991.) 

Walker also said on Fox, “I’d rather have a fighter who’s actually proven he could take on the big government special interests and win.” 

As a kid, Scott Walker worked part-time as a dishwasher and spent some time flipping burgers at a local McDonald’s during his high school years. He entered Marquette University in the fall of 1986 and was active in student politics. In February 1990, shortly before he left as a senior, he took a job with a local chapter of the non-profit American Red Cross. 

He said last night that people on the left have worked themselves into a “tither” about his college years and that they assume there must be more to the story than what actually happened – that he left to go to work. “I think people [instead] want to judge, ‘What have you done lately?’” 

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What’s clear is that Walker did not leave college under an academic shadow, as some have insinuated. In a statement released a year and a half ago on this issue and published by, Marquette University said, “Gov. Scott Walker was a student at Marquette from fall of 1986 until spring 1990 and was a senior in good standing when he voluntarily withdrew from Marquette.” 

Walker’s own biography says, “In 1986, Scott moved to Milwaukee to attend Marquette University. While still in college, he worked for IBM before leaving school in his senior year to work full-time in marketing and development for the American Red Cross.” 

“We have people who helped found Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, plenty of other successful businesses and enterprises across this country who did the exact same sort of thing I did,” Walker said on Fox, referring to Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg respectively. 

“I’ve got two sons in college,” Walker added. “I hope they finish, I expect that. My wife [Tonette Walker] and I are helping to fund their pathway, along with the hard work they’ve put in. So we value college for those who want to pursue a career, but in the end you don’t have to have that to be successful like many Americans have over the years.” 

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