The Philly College Dishonor Roll

Clockwise from top left: Tim Donaghy, Kathleen Kane, Ira Einhorn, Chris Harn, Frances Schreuder, Ross Ulbricht, Kermit Gosnell and Michael Milken. Donaghy, Einhorn, Milken, Kane, Harn and Schreuder courtesy of the Associated Press; Gosnell courtesy of Yong Kim/MCT/Newscom; Ulbricht courtesy of the Department of Justice

Over the course of its 278 years, the University of Pennsylvania has racked up plenty of famous alumni: Elon Musk! John Legend! Bring up a certain Donald J. Trump, though, and you’re liable to get hit with a “No comment.” But Penn’s hardly the only local institution with an infamous alumnus or two. (See: Bill Cosby and Temple.) Here, eight folks who don’t turn up in the official college brochures:

1. Tim Donaghy

Institution: Villanova
Graduated: 1989
Major: English.
Later misdeeds: As an NBA referee, gave advice to gamblers and bet on games he officiated.
Quotable: Former ’Nova baseball coach Larry Shane, who knew Donaghy as a boy, told the New York Times: “He didn’t have a good relationship with other kids on the block. He was a small, frail kid.”

2. Kathleen Kane

Institution: Temple Law
Graduated: 1993
Degree: J.D.
Later misdeeds: As PA attorney general, leaked secret grand jury information to the press, then perjured herself. An appeals panel recently upheld her 2016 conviction.
Temple statements: Since proudly announcing her as its 2013 commencement speaker, Temple Law has been very quiet about Kane.

3. Ira Einhorn

Institution: Penn
Graduated: 1961
Major: English.
Later misdeeds: In 1977, Einhorn murdered an ex-girlfriend and, pending trial, fled to Europe for nearly two decades until his extradition and conviction. Einhorn was a cult figure of sorts while at Penn, teaching a series of free courses that included “Analogues to the LSD Experience.”
Quotable: Penn prof Stuart Samuels, a character witness at Einhorn’s 1979 bail hearing, told the student paper: “I’ve found him lovable, warm, compassionate.”

4. Chris Harn

Institution: Drexel
Years attended: 1991-’97
Major: Information systems.
Later misdeeds: With two fellow frat bros, manipulated an online horse-betting system and won $3 million from the Breeders’ Cup in 2002. The bets raised suspicion, and all three went to prison.
Quotable: A frat pledge told the WaPo that Harn got him out of chores and “let me go drink with him in his room.” Sounds like a nice guy!

5. Frances Schreuder

Institution: Bryn Mawr
Years attended: 1956-’58
Major: Philosophy.
Later misdeeds: Schreuder was, per the New York Times, forced out at Bryn Mawr for theft and writing fake checks. Fearing being written out of the family will, she pressured her son to shoot her father. Schreuder still ended up inheriting some family money after her 13-year prison sentence.

6. Ross Ulbricht

Institution: Penn State
Graduated: 2009
Degree: Master’s, materials science and engineering.
Later misdeeds: Founded Silk Road, a “dark web” marketplace that facilitated upwards of $200 million in sales of illicit substances. Serving life without parole.

7. Kermit Gosnell

Institution: Jefferson
Graduated: 1966
Degree: M.D.
Later misdeeds: Convicted in 2013 on three counts of first-degree murder for gruesome, medically unsafe late-term “abortions” at his West Philly clinic.

8. Michael Milken

Institution: Penn
Graduated: 1970
Degree: Wharton MBA.
Later misdeeds: Milken, inventor of “junk bonds,” served two years in the 1990s for federal securities fraud.
Quotable: In 2007, Wharton’s alumni mag published a glowing story on Milken’s innovations: “New Financial Models Can Change the World.” Not technically wrong!

Published as “Dishonor Roll” in the July 2018 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

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