Presidential Candidate’s Education: Chris Christie and Ben Carson

House Chambers Hall to House of RepsWe are investigating the educational backgrounds and early mentors of U.S. Presidential Candidates. See previous posts here. Inspired by W.E.B. Dubois’ definition of education and its role in shaping the character of a person, this project has already expanded my own view of each candidate. The research here is just a start, a dip into a much larger investigation but it should be useful to those of us who want to make an educated vote for our new President.



Christie was born in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Sondra A. (née Grasso) and Wilbur James “Bill” Christie, a certified public accountant.[1][2][3] His father is of German, Scottish, and Irish descent, and his mother was of Sicilian ancestry.[4][5][6][7][8] Christie’s family moved to Livingston, New Jersey, after the 1967 Newark riots,[9] and Christie lived in Livingston until he graduated from Livingston High School in 1980.[10] At Livingston High School, Christie served as class president, and played catcher for the baseball team.[9]Christie’s father and mother were Republican and Democratic, respectively. He has credited, however, his Democratic-leaning mother for indirectly making him a Republican by encouraging him in 1977 to volunteer for the gubernatorial candidate who became his role model: Tom Kean.[2] Christie had become interested in Kean after Kean, then a state legislator, spoke to Christie’s class while Christie was in junior high school.[9]

Christie graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Arts in political science in 1984 and Seton Hall University School of Law with a J.D. in 1987. Christie was admitted to the New Jersey State Bar Association and the Bar of the United States District Court, District of New Jersey, in December 1987. Later in life, he was awarded honorary doctorate degrees by Rutgers University and Monmouth University.[11][12]


Early Life

Christopher James Christie was born in Newark, New Jersey, on September 6, 1962, to Irish father Bill Christie and Sicilian mother Sondra Christie, and raised in nearby Livingston. “Dad was just a passenger; Mom was the driver,” He later said. “She told me that love without respect was always fleeting, but that respect could grow into real and lasting love. Now, of course, she was talking about women. But I have learned over time that it applies just as much to leadership. In fact, I think that advice applies to America more than ever today.”

Chris Christie has lived in the Garden State his whole life, barring the four years he spent studying political science at the University of Delaware. At Delaware, Christie met his future wife, Mary Pat Foster, whom he married in 1986. Upon graduation, Christie returned to New Jersey to study law at Seton Hall University, where he received his J.D. He was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1987.

BOOKS: Chris Christie: The Inside Story of His Rise to Power; American Governor: Chris Christie’s Bridge to Redemption

OTHER LINKS:; On the Issues



Early life and education

Carson was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Sonya (née Copeland) and Robert Solomon Carson, a minister and later Cadillac factory worker. Both parents came from large families in rural Georgia and were living in rural Tennessee when they met and married. Carson’s mother was only 13 when she married Carson’s father, who was 28. Carson’s mother subsequently discovered her husband had another family, for which Carson’s father eventually abandoned her.[4][5][unreliable source?][6] Following his parents’ divorce, when Carson was eight years old, both he and his older brother, Curtis, were raised by their mother, who worked two or three jobs at a time, usually as a domestic servant. They were poor, and his mother occasionally relied on food stamps and other government assistance.[7]

In his book Gifted Hands, Carson relates that, in his youth, he had a violent temper. He said he once tried to hit his mother over the head with a hammer over a clothing dispute and, while in the ninth grade, he attempted to stab a friend who had changed the station on the radio; the blade broke in his friend’s belt buckle.[8][9][10] After this incident, Carson said that he began reading the Book of Proverbs and applying verses on anger. As a result, Carson states he “never had another problem with temper”.[11][12][13] Some of his narratives, about his childhood violence and poverty, were challenged during Carson’s campaign in 2015. For example, nine friends, classmates and neighbors who grew up with Carson, told CNN in 2015 they did not remember the anger or violence Carson has described; all expressed surprise about the incidents that Carson said had occurred.[14]

Carson attended Southwestern High School in Southwest Detroit, where he participated in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC), a program sponsored by theUnited States Armed Forces, and reached the rank of cadet colonel.[15]

Carson does not say in his books whether he applied for and received a college student deferment during the Vietnam War. He does say that his older brother, who was a student at the University of Michigan, received a low number (26) in the first draft lottery in 1969 and enlisted in the Navy for four years instead of being drafted,[16] whereas he received a high number (333) in the second draft lottery in 1970.[17] Carson said he would have readily accepted his responsibility to fight had he been drafted,[17] but he “identified strongly with the antiwar protesters and the revolutionaries” and enthusiastically voted for antiwar Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern in 1972.[18] In his book, America the Beautiful (2012), Carson said: “The Vietnam War was, in retrospect, not a noble conflict. It brought shame to our nation because of both the outcome and the cause”.[19]

In 1973, Carson graduated from Yale University, where he majored in psychology.[20] He received his M.D. from the University of MichiganMedical School in 1977.[21][22]

Worth going to the link above; much more detail about the influence of Dr. Carson’s mother in changing the trajectory of her son’s education and success.

BOOKS: Think Big; A More Perfect Union

Other Links:, On the Issues

Author: Susan Feathers

Family, friends, nature, books, writing, a good pen and journal, freedom of thought, culture, and peaceful co-relations - these are the things that occupy my mind, my heart, my time...

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