D for distinction

Forget about John Kerry’s military records. The Boston Globe has his Yale transcript, which shows he was a C student, kind of like another Yalie who went into politics. AP reports:

Sen. John F. Kerry’s grade average at Yale University was virtually identical to President Bush’s record there, despite repeated portrayals of Kerry as the more intellectual candidate during the 2004 presidential campaign.

Kerry had a cumulative average of 76 and got four Ds his freshman year – in geology, two history courses and political science, The Boston Globe reported Tuesday.

His grades improved with time, and he averaged an 81 his senior year and earned an 89 – his highest grade – in political science as a senior.

“I always told my dad that D stood for distinction,” Kerry said in a written response to reporters’ questions. He said he has previously acknowledged focusing more on learning to fly than studying.

Not dumb. Just lazy and unmotivated.

Bush’s highest grade at Yale was an 88 in anthropology, history and philosophy. He received one D in his four years, a 69 in astronomy, and improved his grades after his freshman year, the transcript showed.

Kerry was graduated in 1966; Bush was graduated two years later.

Some speculate that Kerry went to second-tier Boston College rather than Harvard for law school because there was something fishy about his military service. This suggests he didn’t have the grades for a prestigious law school.

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  1. Hunter McDaniel says:

    Of course the only relevance of this information is to counter the “Bush Stupid, Kerry Smart” canard we heard so often last fall. For both candidates we had a 35 year record of their careers after college that was much more informative than their GPAs.

    I’m also afraid that lots of folks may be interpreting these transcripts in the light of today’s inflated grade scale. In those days a ‘B’ took real work and was not just a consolation prize for the bottom third of the class.

  2. Nancy D says:

    I have a totally different and unrelated question:

    In the blog, you use “was graduated in 1966” rather than “graduated in 1966.” I’ve also seen “so and so graduated high school” rather than “graduated from high school”

    What’s up with usuage of “graduated”? Any ideas?

  3. My father taught me that “was graduated” is correct, and I try to be faithful to his teaching in my writing, if not in my speech. I don’t know if grammarians have decided that dropping the “was” is OK. I’m pretty sure grammarians would frown on “graduated high school.”

  4. One correction. BC is not ‘second tier.’ It is third.

    First Tier includes Harvard and MIT.
    Second includes Boston University and Brandeis.
    Third Tier includes BC and Northeastern. Maybe Suffolk Law School as well.
    This is an incomplete listing.

    I have not included my school, UMASS Boston, as I am not certain how it stands now. It was for adult students anyway, not legacies who wanted to party. Much of the faculty were Harvard and Berkeley PHDs and a lot of the math faculty were part timers from their real jobs at MIT.

    Most of the grad schools specialize. Harvard law produces supreme court law clerks and diplomats, BC local politicos, or DAs.

  5. AndyJoy says:

    About the use of graduated–common usage is the intransitive form, “graduated from.” However, “graduated high school” was the accepted form prior to 1900, and the one that I was taught to use, despite the fact that it sounds a bit odd to me.

    Merriam-Webster Online:

    In the 19th century the transitive sense (1a) was prescribed; the intransitive was condemned. The intransitive prevailed nonetheless, and today it is the sense likely to be prescribed and the newer transitive (sense 1b) the one condemned. All three are standard. The intransitive is currently the most common, the new transitive the least common.

  6. Jack Tanner says:

    I always get Kerry confused with Wyle E. Coyote, supergenius.