In honor of Presidents' Day, here is a photo gallery highlighting the U.S. presidents who graduated from Yale (there were five), those who were awarded honorary degrees by the University or have visited the campus, and chiefs of state featured in Yale's collections.
For the record, the Yale graduates who went on to hold the U.S. presidency are: William Howard Taft, B.A. 1878; Gerald R. Ford, 1941 LL.B.; George H.W. Bush, B.A. 1948; Bill Clinton, J.D. 1973; and George W. Bush, B.A. 1968.
Which U.S. president do you most admire? Take a moment to visit the wall of the Yale Facebook page and tell us your thoughts about what makes a U.S. president great. While there, take a moment to “like” our page and share it with a friend.
Photos: ‘Hail to the Chief’ at Yale
In 1905, William Howard Taft (B.A. 1878), then secretary of war, spoke at the Yale Law School Commencement. He is flanked by then-former and current Yale presidents Timothy Dwight (the younger) and Arthur Twining Hadley. (Yale Manuscripts & Archives Digital Image Database)
Herman Sodersten painted this portrait of Taft in 1915, two years after the 27th U.S. president left the White House and joined the Yale Law School faculty. He served there until his appointment as chief justice of the Supreme Court in 1921. (Yale University Art Gallery)
“Textile Honoring the Frigate Constitution, Andrew Jackson, and the Presidents of the United States,” 1829, artist unknown, French. This cotton textile pattern depicts the first seven U.S. presidents, with Jackson in the center. (Yale University Art Gallery)
“John Adams,” John Trumbull, 1793. This miniature painting of the second U.S. president was done in preparation for the “Treaty of Peace,” the 1783 accord that ended the Revolutionary War. The painting was never completed. (Yale University Art Gallery)
This photograph from 1900 shows President Theodore Roosevelt and Yale President Arthur T. Hadley leading an academic procession. Nearby, Connecticut Governor George Payne McLean sports a moustache and high hat. (Yale Manuscripts & Archives Digital Image Database)
“Bronze Medal of Chester A. Arthur,” reproduction, c. 1950, by Charles E. Barber. The original of this medal was designed by Barber in 1881 to honor the inauguration of Arthur, the 21st president of the United States. (Yale University Art Gallery)
Yale awarded Dwight D. Eisenhower an honorary Doctor of Law degree in 1948. Eisenhower’s first and second inaugural addresses are among the papers of the 34th U.S. president in the collections of the Law School Library.
After graduating from the University of Michigan, Gerald R. Ford '41 LL.B. (right) turned down offers to play professional football to take a coaching position at Yale and eventually enroll at Yale Law School. (Yale Manuscripts & Archives Digital Image Database)
Babe Ruth and George H.W. Bush (B.A. 1948) at the Yale Field. Bush, who became the 41st U.S. president in 1989, was captain of the varsity baseball team during his time at Yale. (Yale Manuscripts & Archives Digital Image Database)
George H.W. Bush’s son, George W. Bush ’68 B.A., received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from Yale in 2001. His citation read in part: “Few families in Yale's 300 years have so devotedly exemplified the University's commitment to public service as yours.” (Photo by Michael Marsland)
President John F. Kennedy and Yale President A. Whitney Griswold march at graduation on June 11, 1962. The 35th U.S. president received an honorary degree and gave the Commencement address. (Yale Manuscripts & Archives Digital Image Database.)
Alexander Hesler took this photograph of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, when Lincoln was campaigning for the presidency. Lincoln said of it, “That looks better and expresses me better than any I have ever seen; if it pleases the people I am satisfied.” (Yale University Art Gallery)
Former President Harry Truman visited Yale in April of 1958 as a Chubb Fellow. A number former U.S. presidents have served as Chubb Fellows in Timothy Dwight College, including George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan.
Bill Clinton, 42nd president of the United States, was a featured speaker at the Yale Tercentennial celebration in 2001. Clinton, who earned a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1973, most recently spoke on campus at the 2010 Class Day ceremony. (Photo by Michael Marsland)
In 1937, former President Herbert Hoover visited Yale and attended the Yale-Army football game. Here he poses with students in Saybrook College, where he stayed as a guest of the master, Professor Elliott Dunlap Smith. (Yale Manuscripts & Archives Digital Image Database)
This painting of George Washington was originally commissioned for the city hall in Charleston, South Carolina, but was rejected because it was not a traditional portrait. Trumbull made a new painting for Charleston and presented this one to Yale College in 1806. (Yale University Art Gallery)