Obama FAQs

Barack Obama attended Occidental College from fall 1979 through spring 1981 and then transferred to Columbia University in New York. He is not a graduate of Occidental, however, the Occidental College bylaws state that anyone who completes at least eight courses of undergraduate work (or a year of graduate studies) is eligible for alumni status. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations protect the privacy of student education records. We, therefore, cannot disclose students’ classes, grade point averages, majors or other such information.  

Neither Obama’s image nor name appear in any Occidental yearbooks or weekly student newspaper for the years he attended. The picture featured on this page is the only one we have of the senator; it was sent in with his Occidental application. It is available upon request. Obama did contribute to the now-defunct student literary magazine, Feast . Transcripts of his poems are available upon request. On the heels of his 2004 speech at that summer’s democratic national convention, Obama made the cover story of the fall edition of Occidental Magazine.

Obama did not play basketball on any official team at Occidental, as has been reported. There is a spoof video on You Tube that portrays Obama as the 1974 Occidental Freshman Class President.  Clearly this video is a satire, not a documentary.    
We have a strict privacy policy regarding alumni information.  We do not give out alumni information but we can, on behalf of media outlets, contact alumni with specific requests.

If you would like to speak with an alumnus for a story, please contact associate director of communications Colleen Sharkey at (323) 259-1406 or csharkey@oxy.edu.

Obama featured in Occidental Magazine:


Recent articles that highlight Obama and his Occidental College experience:

Boston Globe, Aug. 25, 2008
U.S. News, Aug. 22, 2008
Times of India, Aug. 19, 2008
Chicago Sun-Times, Aug. 18, 2008
Daily Times, Aug. 16, 2008
Bloomberg, June 7, 2008
USA Today, June 3, 2008