I recently wrote two articles, My Wonder Drug and Modafinil, about my new medication, Modafinil. This miracle drug doesn’t change the direction I am going or my behavior, but it intensifies and focuses my thought process. Additionally, it helps me think creatively even more than what I can usually do. I am able to take seemingly unrelated items and blend them together, but, with Modafinil, I am able to do that more often and/or quicker.

This first item is an example of the morphing of seemingly unrelated items. I have taught at the college level for more than twenty years. There are four issues that I will emphasize regardless of which humanity class I might be teaching. I tell every student that the grade that I send to the registrar, at the end of the semester, if it is a C or better, is essentially irrelevant. Nonetheless, the grade that the world gives them is critical. I also emphasize that each student is intellectually far more capable then they can imagine that they are. Another issue is that I push the value of overseas travel. It is the best teaching experience that they can have. And finally, I tell them not to plagiarize any written assignment. The reason for that is that I’ll catch them if they do, and I don’t want my students to learn how to cheat while attending college.

I assume that all students will follow all four rules…especially the one not to plagiarize. My assumption is that I have the power to communicate to all my students and get them all on the same page is erroneous. Every semester and in every class, a couple students will, in spite of my wishes, cut and paste material off the Internet without quotation marks, inline footnote, and citing the source.

During the semester, a couple of students will plagiarize and will receive a two-prong response from me. They get a zero on that assignment, and I tell them that I am required to report this to my dean.

Then I will make them a deal. They still will get an F for that particular assignment, but I won’t let my dean know of this infraction. Essentially, I am bartering silence from me talking with the dean for their promising me not to plagiarize again. It is an excellent teaching moment. They win and so do I. It is a win-win situation. That is the first seemingly unrelated issue to the next one.

My second and tentatively unrelated story is about Donald the Dumb, our fake president. He claims that he was the first in has class at Wharton. Additionally, I have no idea how many times he has said something like the following, “Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart.” Does anyone assume that Trump’s assertions are true? Einstein said about his intelligence, “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.”

Our fake president does have some problems with his mental stability and his intellectual abilities. However, I wish that I had access to his grades at Wharton. Nevertheless, I do have access to a computer and googled “Trump Wharton intelligence.” There are a half million links to articles about Trump at Wharton and what type of student he was. This is one of them.

This is a quote from The Daily Pennsylvanian referencing a previous article. “In 1968, The Daily Pennsylvanian published a list of the 56 students who were on the Wharton Dean’s List that year — Trump’s name is not among them.”

This is another quote from the same source.

1968 Wharton graduate Jon Hillsberg added that there was no indication on the 1968 Commencement Program that Trump graduated with any honors. A copy of the program acquired from the Penn Archives lists 20 Wharton award and prize recipients, 15 cum laude recipients, four magna cum laude recipients and two summa cum laude recipients for the Class of 1968. Trump’s name appears nowhere on those lists.

Interestingly, Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer, said while testifying before the House Oversight Committee, “I’m talking about a man who declares himself brilliant, but directed me to threaten his high school, his colleges and the College Board to never release his grades or SAT scores.”

Finally, another source explained Donald the Dumb further. Trump not only lied about being first in his class at Wharton, but he lied about using the Laffer curve. In fact, Trump was awarding Arthur Laffer, who came up with the Laffer curve, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Trump transferred from Fordham to Wharton as a junior and graduated from Wharton in 1968. Ever since Trump has claimed that his graduation from Wharton is evidence of his intellect. Trump asserted that he went to “the hardest school to get into, the best school in the world,” calling it “super genius stuff.” Only last month, President Trump pointed to his studies there as he awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to conservative economist Arthur Laffer. At that time, Trump claimed that he had studied the Laffer curve for many years in the “Wharton School of Finance,” even though it was not created until 1974, six years after his graduation from Wharton.

Source for this quote

While I don’t think that I would have enjoyed Trump as a student, he needed to learn some things while in college. I warn my students every semester that if they learn to plagiarize, they will repeat some sort of plagiarizing in the future. Case in point. Trump has repeatedly lied about his claim that Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama. To prove his assertion, he presented a poster put together by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the area where the hurricane could hit land. Since Trump had mistakenly said that it would hit Alabama days before, NOAA’s chart didn’t predict it would even come close to Alabama. Someone in the White House, who loves Sharpies, merely extended the area several hundred miles west of where the chart indicated. If Trump was going to lie and cheat, he should have used a white Sharpie.

The Sharpie-in-Chief

What our brilliant president did was to plagiarize the map document and claim it came from NOAA. To straighten out Trump, NOAA’s Birmingham office tweeted a denial.

Even a Fox News anchor could see that Trump was lying, cheating and plagiarizing.

I tell my students that if they learn to cheat, lie, or plagiarize in college, they will continue doing so in life. Our Sharpie-in-Chief wasn’t academically first in his class nor was he ethically first in his class. Next semester, I’ll give my class this essay as a teaching moment.