100 colleges whose grads go on to earn the most

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October 22, 2020
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100 colleges whose grads go on to earn the most

Many colleges and universities help prepare students for life after midterms and dissertations by setting up virtual job fairs, providing online office hours for career development, and reaching out to companies to create co-op programs for potential student hires. And while finding high-paying jobs can sometimes be challenging, there are plenty of schools that have a history of placing their graduates into big companies.

Stacker compiled a list of the colleges whose graduates earn the most, using 2020 data from PayScale. Colleges are ranked by the highest mid-career earnings, with ties broken by early career earnings. Mid-career earnings are median salary for alumni with 10+ years of experience, and early career earnings are for alumni with 0-5 years of experience. Slides also include the percentage of students earning degrees in STEM—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Many schools produce yearly reports of graduated students’ placement, which usually includes whether they are employed, attending graduate school, applying to graduate school, in a fellowship program, serving in the military, or searching for jobs. While some fields dictate some kind of prerequisite before full-time employment—like a paid internship or mentor program—it’s not uncommon for new graduates to be thrown right into the fire and land jobs with major industry players like Amazon, Citi, and Google.

Did your school make the list? Read on to find out and learn other morsels of information, like the non-aquatic environments where Coast Guard trainees go on to work, which schools employ “micro internship” programs, and the surprising #1 on the list. And be sure to check out related Stacker topics, such as college majors that make the most money.

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#100. Saint Mary's College of California

- Mid-career pay: $118,900
- Early career pay: $59,600
- Percent high meaning: 51%
- Percent STEM degrees: 5%

This small school in the Bay Area has produced its fair share of notable alumni. Mahershala Ali, who graduated from Saint Mary’s in 1996, has won two Oscars and an Emmy Award and makes millions as one of Hollywood’s most notable actors. The business administration program places graduates at Bay Area powerhouses like AT&T, Amazon, and the San Francisco Giants.

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#99. Texas A&M University-College Station

- Mid-career pay: $119,000
- Early career pay: $61,200
- Percent high meaning: 53%
- Percent STEM degrees: 30%

Texas A&M graduates contributed over $15 million to the university in 2019. Many former Aggies go on to have distinguished military careers, while graduates of the engineering school have a reputation for quickly jumping into research and education jobs.

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#98. Case Western Reserve University

- Mid-career pay: $119,000
- Early career pay: $68,100
- Percent high meaning: 48%
- Percent STEM degrees: 37%

Case Western’s law school churns out scores of lawyers ready to enter the workforce, and the medical school is regularly ranked among the best in the country. Alumni in other programs include Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist.

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#97. United States Coast Guard Academy

- Mid-career pay: $119,200
- Early career pay: $72,600
- Percent high meaning: 70%
- Percent STEM degrees: 69%

Coast guard officers hold a variety of steady jobs that involve responding to disasters, stopping illegal drug trafficking, protecting endangered species, and exploring the Arctic. Many Coast Guard Academy graduates enjoy perks such as military pensions, medical benefits, and tax-free housing allowances.

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#96. Wabash College

- Mid-career pay: $119,300
- Early career pay: $62,300
- Percent high meaning: 36%
- Percent STEM degrees: 34%

More than 30% of Wabash graduates enter the business field. The entire 2018 graduating class was “settled in their first destinations within six months of graduation,” according to the school. Wabash has produced many politicians like Thomas Riley Marshall, the 28th U.S. vice president.

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#95. Bentley University

- Mid-career pay: $119,300
- Early career pay: $68,400
- Percent high meaning: 37%
- Percent STEM degrees: 7%

Bentley touts a 98% job placement rate, and according to The Princeton Review, it’s #1 in career services. The school site features a collection of blog posts about internship preparation, and alums include Jay Leno (who joked that he was unfocused in college).

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#94. Hobart and William Smith Colleges

- Mid-career pay: $119,600
- Early career pay: $56,500
- Percent high meaning: 48%
- Percent STEM degrees: 18%

Hobart and William Smith Colleges are top producers of Fulbright scholars. The colleges are quickly rising on lists of best return on investment, and beginning in 2014, the colleges guaranteed internships to students of "good academic and social standing."

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#93. Boston College

- Mid-career pay: $119,700
- Early career pay: $64,500
- Percent high meaning: 43%
- Percent STEM degrees: 13%

Economics, finance, biology, and political science number among the most popular majors at Boston College. Alumni have gone on to hold top leadership positions at companies like Goldman Sachs, Google, and Condé Nast. 

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#92. Missouri University of Science and Technology

- Mid-career pay: $119,700
- Early career pay: $69,200
- Percent high meaning: 51%
- Percent STEM degrees: 80%

The Missouri University of Science and Technology has traditionally placed 90-100% of their graduates with a SAP Certificate of Excellence. Students go on to work at SAP, BMW, Boeing, Deloitte, and many other top companies.

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#91. Barnard College

- Mid-career pay: $119,900
- Early career pay: $60,000
- Percent high meaning: 59%
- Percent STEM degrees: 19%

More than 90% of Barnard graduates are working or in graduate school six months after graduation. A majority of students end up working in financial services, tech, education, nonprofits, and journalism. Columbia University is most common graduate school attended by recent Barnard graduates: It boasts top business, law, and medical schools.

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#90. University of California-Davis

- Mid-career pay: $119,900
- Early career pay: $62,700
- Percent high meaning: 53%
- Percent STEM degrees: 35%

STEM majors are in abundance at UC-Davis, with biological sciences and neurobiology, physiology, and behavior being popular majors. The school ranks 24th among American colleges for “amount of money made over 20 years after earning a degree.” The school holds internship and career fairs to help future graduates.

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#89. Carleton College

- Mid-career pay: $120,100
- Early career pay: $58,900
- Percent high meaning: 44%
- Percent STEM degrees: 45%

In a recent survey of Carleton graduates, only 6% of students were seeking employment: Others were busy with careers and graduate school. Multiple grads go on to work at big companies like Amazon, Google, and Thomson Reuters. Carleton has also produced several Pulitzer Prize winners.

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#88. Illinois Institute of Technology

- Mid-career pay: $120,100
- Early career pay: $66,100
- Percent high meaning: 47%
- Percent STEM degrees: 64%

Recent engineering and science graduates from the Illinois Institute of Technology have gone on to work for hundreds of companies. The median first-job salary for graduates is over $60,000. A number of students continue their education with graduate studies at Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Cornell.

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#87. University of the Sciences

- Mid-career pay: $120,300
- Early career pay: $59,100
- Percent high meaning: 74%
- Percent STEM degrees: 12%

Many alumni of the University of the Sciences have gone on to illustrious careers in pharmaceuticals, including the founders of Burroughs Wellcome and Company, now part of GlaxoSmithKline. The university offers a career resources library for all students and alumni.

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#86. Northwestern University

- Mid-career pay: $120,300
- Early career pay: $64,600
- Percent high meaning: 46%
- Percent STEM degrees: 20%

Only 3% of recent Northwestern graduates say they are actively job searching—the rest are employed, pursuing graduate school studies, or serving in the military. Business and financial services was the top field for recent grads, with many of the alumni based in Illinois, California, or New York. One graduate even went on to host his own talk show.

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#85. Franklin & Marshall College

- Mid-career pay: $120,900
- Early career pay: $58,000
- Percent high meaning: 43%
- Percent STEM degrees: 23%

Master classes and professional development services are just two of the ways that Franklin & Marshall helps its alumni succeed. Almost two-thirds of students engage in research projects or in a mentorship with a faculty member.

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#84. Boston University

- Mid-career pay: $120,900
- Early career pay: $62,400
- Percent high meaning: 43%
- Percent STEM degrees: 25%

 

More than 90% of recent BU graduates found jobs, fellowships, or served in the military within six months of graduation. IBM, Apple, Buzzfeed, and The White House have employed recent Boston University grads, and nine alumni made Forbes’ 2020 “30 Under 30” list.

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#83. The King's University

- Mid-career pay: $121,400
- Early career pay: $61,000
- Percent high meaning: 37%
- Percent STEM degrees: 0%

The King’s University was founded in 1997, and many students receive credit for experiential learning. The school offers 16 accredited vocational ministry degrees and has been ranked one of the top Bible colleges in the U.S.

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#82. Loyola University Maryland

- Mid-career pay: $121,600
- Early career pay: $60,200
- Percent high meaning: 42%
- Percent STEM degrees: 8%

Historically, 95% of Loyola graduates are employed or pursuing graduate school with six months. These alumni land at top firms and organizations, including Bloomberg, Deloitte, National Institutes of Health, and The Wall Street Journal, and some of the nation's most-celebrated graduate schools. 

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#81. Villanova University

- Mid-career pay: $121,600
- Early career pay: $66,400
- Percent high meaning: 41%
- Percent STEM degrees: 23%

Villanova reports that over 90% of graduates have a successful placement rate, with over 65% employed and others involved in continuing education or other pursuits. Finance and health care services are the top two fields recent Villanova graduates enter. Typical salaries for graduates exceed $60,000.

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#80. Pomona College

- Mid-career pay: $121,900
- Early career pay: $65,200
- Percent high meaning: 46%
- Percent STEM degrees: 37%

Pomona reported that more than 90% of graduates find jobs or fellowships, are accepted to grad school, or accept a service opportunity within six months of graduation. Amazon, Microsoft, and Accenture are some of the notable employers of recent Pomona grads. Those continuing to graduate school enrolled at prestigious universities like Harvard, Yale, MIT, and Stanford.

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#79. Gettysburg College

- Mid-career pay: $122,100
- Early career pay: $58,400
- Percent high meaning: 40%
- Percent STEM degrees: 24%

The National Football League, the State Department, and MTV are some of the companies where you can find recent Gettysburg grads. Some students even took internship opportunities to land work with NASA. This Pennsylvania college also has a special initiative for entrepreneurship and social innovation.

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#78. Fairfield University

- Mid-career pay: $122,200
- Early career pay: $63,100
- Percent high meaning: 41%
- Percent STEM degrees: 17%

Fairfield boasted a 98% placement rate in 2019, and the average salary for a graduate that year was almost $60,000. Well-known alumni include John L. Flannery, who in 2017 was named chairman and chief executive officer of General Electric.

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#77. Virginia Military Institute

- Mid-career pay: $122,200
- Early career pay: $66,100
- Percent high meaning: 68%
- Percent STEM degrees: 47%

VMI deploys the Handshake program, a virtual portal with over 500 companies offering jobs and internships. The most recent data shows that more than 200 new graduates were commissioned in the U.S. Armed Forces. Other cadets went on to work for the American Red Cross, Bloomberg LP, and General Motors.

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#76. Loyola Marymount University

- Mid-career pay: $122,300
- Early career pay: $59,300
- Percent high meaning: 40%
- Percent STEM degrees: 9%

Loyola Marymount had a 97% placement rate in 2020, with 70% of graduates employed. The Los Angeles Lakers, Warner Brothers, and the Obama Foundation hired 2019 Loyola Marymount alumni.

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#75. University of California-Los Angeles

- Mid-career pay: $122,400
- Early career pay: $62,600
- Percent high meaning: 49%
- Percent STEM degrees: 31%

Almost two-thirds of UCLA graduates completed one or more internships, leading to jobs at Facebook, Disney, and Intel. The research, finance, and computer science sectors hired the most UCLA graduates. The school also has micro-internship programs through Parker Dewey that set up students for future success.

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#74. Vanderbilt University

- Mid-career pay: $122,400
- Early career pay: $67,000
- Percent high meaning: 46%
- Percent STEM degrees: 23%

Vanderbilt guides students toward careers that are a good complement to their studies. Two U.S. vice presidents attended Vanderbilt, including Al Gore.

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#73. College of the Holy Cross

- Mid-career pay: $123,100
- Early career pay: $61,300
- Percent high meaning: 50%
- Percent STEM degrees: 24%

Many Holy Cross grads work in technology, health care, financial services, education, and politics, and a handful of alumni enter the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps Vista. The mean starting salary for alumni is over $55,000.

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#72. University of Chicago

- Mid-career pay: $123,100
- Early career pay: $65,800
- Percent high meaning: 40%
- Percent STEM degrees: 22%

Recent graduates of the University of Chicago found employment at companies including Citi, Goldman Sachs, and J.P. Morgan, and were employed in 40-plus countries on six continents. More than 80% of law school and med school applicants were accepted into graduate programs.

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#71. California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

- Mid-career pay: $123,500
- Early career pay: $66,400
- Percent high meaning: 51%
- Percent STEM degrees: 38%

Almost half of employed graduates from Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo’s class of 2019 found jobs through the school’s career services department. The university's "learn by doing" philosophy ensures that graduates are prepared to help solve the world's challenges.

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#70. Wesleyan University

- Mid-career pay: $123,600
- Early career pay: $62,700
- Percent high meaning: 51%
- Percent STEM degrees: 21%

Graduates of this university are often drawn to careers in arts and entertainment, healthcare and the nonprofit sector. Booz Allen Hamilton, the management and IT consulting firm, hires many Wesleyan grads, while those who pursue graduate education enroll in schools including Princeton, Cambridge, and Oxford.

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#69. Maine Maritime Academy

- Mid-career pay: $124,000
- Early career pay: $67,600
- Percent high meaning: 63%
- Percent STEM degrees: 48%

At least 90% of graduates of the Maine Maritime Academy are usually employed within 90 days of graduation. However, not every alum goes right to the seas. Students have gone on to work for Tesla, PepsiCo, and Siemens.

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#68. Kettering University

- Mid-career pay: $124,100
- Early career pay: $71,800
- Percent high meaning: 44%
- Percent STEM degrees: 74%

Kettering prides itself on setting up students for careers in STEM. The school employs a co-op program, connecting students with 420 companies, including Dupont, Ford Motor, and Mitsubishi.

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#67. Yeshiva University

- Mid-career pay: $124,200
- Early career pay: $65,100
- Percent high meaning: 34%
- Percent STEM degrees: 11%

Yeshiva University’s 2018 post-graduation survey reported that 93% of graduates had a destination within six months. Internships were common, and 74% of students completed one during school. Accounting, Jewish communal service, and finance services were popular destinations.

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#66. University of California-Santa Barbara

- Mid-career pay: $124,400
- Early career pay: $59,900
- Percent high meaning: 48%
- Percent STEM degrees: 29%

Beyond the usual in-person events, UC Santa Barbara added virtual career fairs to help current students find jobs. More than three-quarters of graduates in known academic positions in the school's English department are tenure-track faculty. The school has also produced a Nobel Prize winner—Carol W. Greider—who won the award in 2009.

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#65. Wake Forest University

- Mid-career pay: $124,400
- Early career pay: $61,500
- Percent high meaning: 43%
- Percent STEM degrees: 13%

Nike, FedEx, and Volvo gobble up Wake Forest graduates, who are in high demand. Historically, 98% of grads are employed or in grad school six months after graduation. Those who choose to continue their studies often attend Ivy League colleges and others like Duke and Notre Dame. Finance and consulting are the top fields for recent Wake Forest grads.

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#64. Bowdoin College

- Mid-career pay: $124,400
- Early career pay: $62,800
- Percent high meaning: 55%
- Percent STEM degrees: 37%

Data about Bowdoin’s 2019 graduating class showed that only 2% were seeking employment one year after graduation—others were working or attending graduate school. Students went on to work for Bain Consulting, Barclays, HBO, and other companies. The school’s most famous alums include the 14th U.S. president, Franklin Pierce, as well as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth.

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#63. New Jersey Institute of Technology

- Mid-career pay: $124,400
- Early career pay: $65,700
- Percent high meaning: 52%
- Percent STEM degrees: 75%

NJIT places students with companies like American Express, BNY Mellon, and Ikea. Virtual open hours were set up by the school's career services department as an additional resource to assist students and alumni in navigating the job market.

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#62. Bates College

- Mid-career pay: $124,500
- Early career pay: $59,100
- Percent high meaning: 52%
- Percent STEM degrees: 23%

In 2019, 99% of Bates graduates reported having settled into careers. Bates alums can be found working in 30 foreign countries including South Korea, the Czech Republic, and Senegal. A plethora of writers and politicians graduated from Bates, including Robert F. Kennedy.

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#61. George Washington University

- Mid-career pay: $124,500
- Early career pay: $62,000
- Percent high meaning: 48%
- Percent STEM degrees: 15%

George Washington University offers an extensive career coaching program, preparing students for jobs in Washington D.C. and beyond. More than a third of George Washington graduates from the 2015-19 classes work for nonprofits or in public government. Health care, PR/marketing, and legal/law enforcement are among the most popular fields for George Washington grads.

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#60. MCPHS University

- Mid-career pay: $124,500
- Early career pay: $65,300
- Percent high meaning: 73%
- Percent STEM degrees: 2%

The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences provides students with a series of fellowships and residencies. Students can pursue fellowships that are centered on academics and research, biopharmaceutical studies, and more traditional programs. The postgraduate Year 1 residencies are affiliated with seven Boston hospitals, and one in Worcester/Manchester.

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#59. New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

- Mid-career pay: $124,500
- Early career pay: $65,800
- Percent high meaning: 59%
- Percent STEM degrees: 91%

New Mexico Tech offers a Cooperative Education/Internship Program to help students get a leg up on their job search. Recent graduates have found work as software engineers, geologists, and research scientists. Lockheed Martin, the United States Air Force, and the U.S. Forest Service number among the employers that hire New Mexico Tech students.

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#58. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott

- Mid-career pay: $124,600
- Early career pay: $69,200
- Percent high meaning: 57%
- Percent STEM degrees: 43%

ERAU-Prescott offers a variety of unique degrees including forensic biology, space physics, and simulation science. It’s not uncommon for alumni to start their own companies—Katalyst Space Technologies was created to explore innovations in satellite operations.

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#57. New York University

- Mid-career pay: $124,700
- Early career pay: $64,100
- Percent high meaning: 43%
- Percent STEM degrees: 18%

Ninety percent of 2020 graduates were working six months after graduation, and NYU resources were responsible for almost three-quarters of those jobs. Many had secured jobs before graduation. Top fields for NYU grads include entertainment/media, healthcare and financial services/banking.

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#56. Union College (New York)

- Mid-career pay: $124,700
- Early career pay: $64,200
- Percent high meaning: 50%
- Percent STEM degrees: 47%

Union College touts the 12th-best career services department, according to The Princeton Review. Engineering is the most popular field for recent graduates, and only 2% of the 2019 class were still seeking jobs in Union’s most recent survey.

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#55. Tufts University

- Mid-career pay: $124,800
- Early career pay: $66,000
- Percent high meaning: 50%
- Percent STEM degrees: 25%

Tufts’ 2019 class had a 98% placement rate. Finance, consulting, and real estate were among the top industry sectors employing Tufts grads, while engineering and technology were close seconds. Outside of Boston, Tufts grads mostly spread out to New York, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Seattle, and Chicago.

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#54. University of Virginia-Main Campus

- Mid-career pay: $125,200
- Early career pay: $65,700
- Percent high meaning: 45%
- Percent STEM degrees: 23%

UVA's Career Center reports that 82% of 2019 graduates are working or continuing their education. Internet and software is the most common employer, with the average annual salary over $63,000. A majority of jobs were found before graduation or within at least three months of graduation.

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#53. University of California-Irvine

- Mid-career pay: $125,900
- Early career pay: $61,100
- Percent high meaning: 50%
- Percent STEM degrees: 34%

During the pandemic, UCI has set up virtual career fairs for specialized fields like STEM. Engineering, applied innovation, and pharmaceutical sciences are popular majors that offer unique collaborations with organizations like the National Institutes of Health.

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#52. University of Southern California

- Mid-career pay: $126,300
- Early career pay: $66,100
- Percent high meaning: 49%
- Percent STEM degrees: 23%

USC sees hundreds of companies recruit their graduates each year—Chevron, iHeartMedia, and NBC Universal are a few examples. At the prestigious Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, 100% of 2018 journalism graduates with a bachelor of arts found jobs. USC’s film school counts George Lucas and Judd Apatow among its alumni.

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#51. Amherst College

- Mid-career pay: $127,100
- Early career pay: $64,800
- Percent high meaning: 46%
- Percent STEM degrees: 32%

Amherst students have won a number of scholarships and fellowships, including the Fulbright, Gates, and Rhodes. Google, J.P. Morgan, and Bain & Co. are some of the big-name companies hiring Amherst grads, who can pick from 40 majors for a Bachelor of Arts degree.

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#50. Manhattan College

- Mid-career pay: $128,700
- Early career pay: $64,300
- Percent high meaning: 47%
- Percent STEM degrees: 40%

The most recent job placement numbers from Manhattan College report that 85% of 2019 graduates were employed or in grad school. Yelp, Morgan Stanley, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center are some of the employers of Manhattan grads, who benefit from internships throughout New York City at industry leaders like the National Football League and Deloitte.

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#49. University of California-San Diego

- Mid-career pay: $128,900
- Early career pay: $65,000
- Percent high meaning: 52%
- Percent STEM degrees: 58%

UC San Diego grads are evenly spread out through a number of fields. While technology is the most popular sector for recent San Diego alumni, the fields of research, consulting, economics, and environment/energy/sustainability account for 50% of jobs. The geographic range of employment is impressive—20% of San Diego grads found jobs in Asia.

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#48. Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

- Mid-career pay: $129,300
- Early career pay: $85,700
- Percent high meaning: data not available
- Percent STEM degrees: 3%

This Southern California school heavily emphasizes internships and offers a number of connections to set up students for success. The university also has special volunteer initiatives in local areas like Compton to boost resumes. Named after surgeon and medical researcher Charles R. Drew, the university traditionally has served inner-city communities around Los Angeles.

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#47. Samuel Merritt University

- Mid-career pay: $129,300
- Early career pay: $93,900
- Percent high meaning: data not available
- Percent STEM degrees: 0%

Located in Oakland, California, Samuel Merritt places graduates in the Bay Area and beyond. The school specializes in nursing, podiatric medicine, occupational therapy, and other fields. Recently, Samuel Merritt teamed with Kaiser Permanente to strengthen the nursing corps in the Fresno area.

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#46. Brandeis University

- Mid-career pay: $129,400
- Early career pay: $61,400
- Percent high meaning: 46%
- Percent STEM degrees: 29%

Brandeis reports that 98% of 2019 graduates found placement. Almost 20% of those employed are working in health care, while students entered grad school at esteemed institutions like Harvard, Duke, and Brown. A majority of grads remained on the East Coast, but multiple alumni found jobs in Japan and China.

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#45. Bucknell University

- Mid-career pay: $129,500
- Early career pay: $67,700
- Percent high meaning: 40%
- Percent STEM degrees: 40%

The mean starting salary for a 2019 Bucknell graduate was over $60,000. Graduates found jobs at The New York Times, CBS, and the NBA. Medical and law school are other popular postgraduate paths for Bucknell grads.

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#44. Lafayette College

- Mid-career pay: $131,800
- Early career pay: $68,400
- Percent high meaning: 36%
- Percent STEM degrees: 47%

Lafayette reports that only 4% of 2019 grads are still seeking placement. Economics majors had particular success finding full-time employment after graduation, working at companies like Bank of America, Citi, and Wells Fargo & Company.

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#43. Columbia University in the City of New York

- Mid-career pay: $132,100
- Early career pay: $73,700
- Percent high meaning: 47%
- Percent STEM degrees: 30%

Of Columbia’s college and engineering schools’ 2019 classes, 90% of students were employed or in graduate school. These students had a median starting salary of $70,000, and over 95% of students from these schools completed at least one internship. Three U.S. presidents attended Columbia, including Barack Obama, who started a scholars program at his alma mater.

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#42. California State University Maritime Academy

- Mid-career pay: $132,900
- Early career pay: $69,800
- Percent high meaning: 57%
- Percent STEM degrees: 15%

Cal Maritime is the #1 public university in California for alumni earnings 10 years after enrollment. According to the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard, Cal Maritime alumni have an average salary of $79,000. The Equality of Opportunity Project ranks Cal Maritime as the top California college for “raising students from the bottom 20% in family income to the top 20%.”

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#41. Clarkson University

- Mid-career pay: $133,100
- Early career pay: $66,800
- Percent high meaning: 58%
- Percent STEM degrees: 58%

The class of 2019 reports salaries more than 10% higher than the national average. Overall, 97% of Clarkson grads found placement within six months of their 2019 graduation, entering the workforce with an average salary of almost $63,000.

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#40. Cornell University

- Mid-career pay: $133,100
- Early career pay: $71,600
- Percent high meaning: 46%
- Percent STEM degrees: 43%

Students from Cornell’s popular College of Agriculture and Life Sciences had an average starting salary of over $62,000. Multiple graduates from the agriculture school found work in Europe and Asia. At the College of Arts and Sciences, only 4% of 2019 graduates were still seeking employment, according to the school’s latest report.

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#39. Rice University

- Mid-career pay: $134,100
- Early career pay: $72,400
- Percent high meaning: 53%
- Percent STEM degrees: 45%

Rice graduates most commonly enter business and financial operations. Accenture is the top employer, with 106 Rice graduates, followed by Deloitte (80) and Teach for America (71). Architecture and engineering are rising fields for Rice alums.

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#38. Georgetown University

- Mid-career pay: $134,500
- Early career pay: $67,200
- Percent high meaning: 43%
- Percent STEM degrees: 14%

Among the class of 2019, 92% of Georgetown graduates are working or continuing education. JPMorgan Chase & Co. hired the most Georgetown grads, followed by Deloitte and Ernst & Young. More Georgetown alumni entered investment banking than any other field.

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#37. Duke University

- Mid-career pay: $135,000
- Early career pay: $72,300
- Percent high meaning: 51%
- Percent STEM degrees: 26%

The most recent data from Duke, from the class of 2018, shows that just over 71% of grads were employed by the fall of 2018. Over 34% of students pursued law degrees or medical degrees, with Microsoft, Capital One, and Facebook all hiring multiple Duke students. More Duke grads entered the field of computers and IT than any other industry.

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#36. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

- Mid-career pay: $135,200
- Early career pay: $72,600
- Percent high meaning: 49%
- Percent STEM degrees: 78%

Rensselaer’s school of management has had great success placing graduates into top-paying jobs. In 2019, the average starting salary was almost $72,000, with the highest reported salary at $110,000. The school also has co-op programs with 3M, Apple, Toyota, and many other companies.

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#35. Worcester Polytechnic Institute

- Mid-career pay: $135,500
- Early career pay: $74,600
- Percent high meaning: 48%
- Percent STEM degrees: 86%

Worcester Polytechnic Institute reported an average starting salary for 2019 grads of over $72,000. The actuarial mathematics, data science, and the bioinformatics and computational biology programs had particularly high rates of placing graduates into employment.

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#34. Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

- Mid-career pay: $136,100
- Early career pay: $69,300
- Percent high meaning: 47%
- Percent STEM degrees: 56%

Cooper Union is perhaps best known for its free tuition plan, but it also has stellar job placement stats. Engineering students from the class of 2017 found jobs at a rate of almost 90%, and other students were hired by dozens of architecture firms and studios.

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#33. Haverford College

- Mid-career pay: $136,300
- Early career pay: $61,300
- Percent high meaning: 47%
- Percent STEM degrees: 36%

Haverford grads enter business and finance more than any other field. Recent students landed jobs as analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Greenspring Associates. Other students were employed at international companies in Austria, Barbados, Israel, and Malawi.

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#32. Carnegie Mellon University

- Mid-career pay: $136,500
- Early career pay: $78,600
- Percent high meaning: 45%
- Percent STEM degrees: 66%

Hundreds of Carnegie Mellon alums go on to roles at Apple, Google and Facebook. Almost 40% of students from the class of 2019 said that internships and the school’s job fair were most helpful in finding a job. The average starting salary for these new hires from 2019 was over $90,000.

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#31. Brown University

- Mid-career pay: $136,700
- Early career pay: $69,900
- Percent high meaning: 46%
- Percent STEM degrees: 43%

In the class of 2019, 70% of Brown students were employed—the fourth year in a row the school hit the 70% mark. Students found the most jobs in finance, banking, and real estate, while 23% of grads entered nonprofit fields. Brown has also produced a number of famous actors like John Krasinski, Emma Watson, and Laura Linney.

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#30. University of Notre Dame

- Mid-career pay: $136,900
- Early career pay: $68,300
- Percent high meaning: 43%
- Percent STEM degrees: 28%

At Notre Dame, the median salary for full-time employed members of the class of 2019 was $69,000. The school of architecture reported a 100% employment rate, and full-time workers from the college of engineering had a median starting salary of $72,000. Consulting and professional services was the top industry, with 16% of the recent class entering that field.

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#29. Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus

- Mid-career pay: $137,300
- Early career pay: $74,500
- Percent high meaning: 49%
- Percent STEM degrees: 80%

Georgia Tech is regularly ranked as a top school for return on investment. In 2018, the average starting salary for a Georgia Tech grad from that class was $72,000, and over 700 businesses have hired former Yellow Jackets.

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#28. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

- Mid-career pay: $137,700
- Early career pay: $76,600
- Percent high meaning: 51%
- Percent STEM degrees: 96%

This school in Indiana takes job placement for its engineering students seriously. The biomedical engineering, civil engineering, and optical engineering programs at Rose-Hulman were among the departments with a 100% job placement rate for the class of 2019. Students from the chemical engineering, computer engineering, and mechanical engineering programs received offers for salaries of $100,000 or more.

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#27. Webb Institute

- Mid-career pay: $137,900
- Early career pay: $81,500
- Percent high meaning: 35%
- Percent STEM degrees: 100%

Webb promotes 100% job placement after graduation. The school specializes in producing naval architects and marine engineers. Grads go on to work for the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, and top shipbuilding companies.

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#26. Claremont McKenna College

- Mid-career pay: $138,500
- Early career pay: $70,700
- Percent high meaning: 44%
- Percent STEM degrees: 16%

Claremont McKenna is known for its economics programs, computer sciences, and international relations majors. The class of 2019 had a median starting salary of $70,000. Numerous chief executive officers graduated from the school, among them Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture.

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#25. United States Merchant Marine Academy

- Mid-career pay: $138,500
- Early career pay: $84,300
- Percent high meaning: 61%
- Percent STEM degrees: 56%

The Merchant Marine Academy claims that within six months of commencement, “virtually 100% of our graduates obtain well-paying employment.” Students have postgraduate obligations to fulfill, which can include serving time in the Armed Forces.

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#24. University of California-Berkeley

- Mid-career pay: $138,800
- Early career pay: $72,600
- Percent high meaning: 49%
- Percent STEM degrees: 36%

The most recent survey of Cal-Berkeley grads reports that their median salary was $70,000. The majority of recent grads (58%) went into business, working for the likes of Amazon, Barclays Capital, and Deutsche Bank.

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#23. Lehigh University

- Mid-career pay: $139,800
- Early career pay: $70,300
- Percent high meaning: 45%
- Percent STEM degrees: 52%

At Lehigh, 95% of the 2019 class found placement after graduation. The college of business had the highest placement rate at 97%. The average starting salary for the class of 2019 was $67,000.

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#22. United States Air Force Academy

- Mid-career pay: $140,400
- Early career pay: $77,600
- Percent high meaning: 67%
- Percent STEM degrees: 43%

The class of 2019 had 1,559 students offered appointments to the Academy, with 1,242 being inducted. Graduates must “incur a five-year service commitment,” with additional commitment depending on their training or schooling. Graduates go on to highly-respected positions such as combat systems operators or remotely-piloted aircraft sensor operators.

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#21. Washington & Lee University

- Mid-career pay: $140,600
- Early career pay: $66,500
- Percent high meaning: 46%
- Percent STEM degrees: 18%

At Washington & Lee, 76% of graduates from the Class of 2018 were employed six months after leaving school. Financial services, education, and economics were the most common fields students entered, although the school has produced dozens of congressmen.

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#20. Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

- Mid-career pay: $140,800
- Early career pay: $77,700
- Percent high meaning: 86%
- Percent STEM degrees: 2%

Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences focuses on pharmaceutical sciences and public health but also has respected microbiology and clinical laboratory sciences programs. The college boasts a median salary for its alumni of $122,600, one of the highest in the nation.

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#19. Swarthmore College

- Mid-career pay: $141,000
- Early career pay: $67,700
- Percent high meaning: 46%
- Percent STEM degrees: 45%

Swarthmore saw 77% of grads from its class of 2020 find jobs in finance and consulting, technology/engineering, or research. In addition, 75% of grads said they plan to enroll in graduate or professional school within five years. A majority of employed alumni remain on the East Coast.

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#18. Yale University

- Mid-career pay: $141,300
- Early career pay: $72,700
- Percent high meaning: 53%
- Percent STEM degrees: 22%

Full-time employed graduates (working in the U.S.) from Yale’s 2019 class had a starting salary of $68,472. Finance and consulting jobs accounted for almost 30% of jobs for recent Yale grads, with Yale itself being the top employer. More than half of those employed worked in large organizations with 500 or more employees.

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#17. Dartmouth College

- Mid-career pay: $141,400
- Early career pay: $73,300
- Percent high meaning: 45%
- Percent STEM degrees: 35%

Dartmouth’s 2019 class reported 22% of grads earning $90,000 or more. Finance and consulting are the top industries, accounting for 45% of jobs among the class. The top three employers for Dartmouth grads are Amazon, Dartmouth itself, and Goldman Sachs.

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#16. Williams College

- Mid-career pay: $142,300
- Early career pay: $67,600
- Percent high meaning: 46%
- Percent STEM degrees: 32%

Recent Williams grads include six Watson Fellows, two Rhodes Scholars, and 50 Fulbright Scholars. Biology and economics are the most popular majors, and 40% of recent grads said they received important career advice from Williams’ alumni network.

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#15. Colorado School of Mines

- Mid-career pay: $142,800
- Early career pay: $75,800
- Percent high meaning: 60%
- Percent STEM degrees: 93%

The Colorado School of Mines provides assistance and tracking for up to two years after graduation for all students until they reach their first destinations. The average salary for grads in 2018-19 was over $69,000, and the school reported the sixth-best return on investment among U.S. public schools.

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#14. University of Pennsylvania

- Mid-career pay: $142,900
- Early career pay: $73,700
- Percent high meaning: 41%
- Percent STEM degrees: 21%

UPenn’s class of 2020 reported an average median salary of $85,000. Almost half of all grads found jobs through UPenn’s career services office. Financial services was the top hiring industry, with many graduates working in consulting and technology as well. 

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#13. SUNY Maritime College

- Mid-career pay: $143,400
- Early career pay: $74,500
- Percent high meaning: 52%
- Percent STEM degrees: 32%

SUNY Maritime has consistently ranked well in a PayScale survey of the top four-year public colleges for graduates’ salary potential. Students vie for internships at companies like Carnival Cruise Line, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and the Port Authority of NY and NJ.

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#12. Stevens Institute of Technology

- Mid-career pay: $144,300
- Early career pay: $75,800
- Percent high meaning: 48%
- Percent STEM degrees: 79%

Stevens Institute of Technology historically places at least 95% of graduates within six months after commencement. On average, those grads earned over $75,000. Engineering and science students can gain real world experience prior to graduation through internships and the school's cooperative education program. 

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#11. Colgate University

- Mid-career pay: $144,800
- Early career pay: $69,700
- Percent high meaning: 40%
- Percent STEM degrees: 26%

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and NBC Universal are among the top employers of Colgate grads. Communications, consulting, and education are popular industries for recent Colgate alumni, while almost 20% attend graduate school. 60 Minutes’ Andy Rooney and journalist Bob Woodruff are notable Colgate alums.

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#10. Babson College

- Mid-career pay: $146,200
- Early career pay: $73,000
- Percent high meaning: 42%
- Percent STEM degrees: 0%

Babson reports that 99% of graduates are employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation. Entrepreneurial spirit is encouraged at Babson: More than 5% of grads started businesses. Financial services and technology are the top industries where graduates land, with a significant number working in retail, apparel, or fashion.

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#9. Santa Clara University

- Mid-career pay: $146,300
- Early career pay: $71,100
- Percent high meaning: 45%
- Percent STEM degrees: 29%

More than 85% of Santa Clara’s graduates reported employment, with a majority in service or manufacturing industries. One of Santa Clara’s most famous alumni, Steve Nash, was hired as the coach of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets in September 2020.

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#8. United States Military Academy

- Mid-career pay: $146,300
- Early career pay: $81,100
- Percent high meaning: 62%
- Percent STEM degrees: 39%

After graduation, cadets enter an Army unit for three years. Some grads lead military police units, intelligence units, or small artillery fire support teams. After 20 years of service, West Point grads receive a guaranteed pension, among other benefits.

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#7. Stanford University

- Mid-career pay: $147,100
- Early career pay: $81,800
- Percent high meaning: 56%
- Percent STEM degrees: 51%

Amazon, Uber, and LinkedIn are a few of the tech companies seeking Stanford graduates. But not everyone at the Silicon Valley school works in tech—humanities and sciences and engineering are popular majors. 

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#6. Harvard University

- Mid-career pay: $147,700
- Early career pay: $76,400
- Percent high meaning: 55%
- Percent STEM degrees: 19%

In 2019, Harvard students won 157 postgraduate fellowships. More than half of that class had spent summers abroad in a professional environment, and dozens of Harvard graduates eventually found work in China. Eight U.S. presidents graduated with Harvard degrees.

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#5. California Institute of Technology

- Mid-career pay: $150,300
- Early career pay: $87,600
- Percent high meaning: 56%
- Percent STEM degrees: 97%

Bankrate deems Caltech the best value for research opportunities, and UniversityHQ notes that graduates can expect to earn over $2.5 million in 20 years. Caltech alumni include 17 Nobel Laureates.

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#4. Princeton University

- Mid-career pay: $150,500
- Early career pay: $77,300
- Percent high meaning: 49%
- Percent STEM degrees: 48%

More than 70% of Princeton grads accept full-time employment, while almost 20% continue to graduate school. Stanford was the top destination for graduate schools.

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#3. United States Naval Academy

- Mid-career pay: $152,600
- Early career pay: $79,600
- Percent high meaning: 61%
- Percent STEM degrees: 58%

Navy graduates can hold a variety of jobs, including leading sailors and Marines on ships, submarines, or SEAL teams. Students who specialize in the technical nuclear power training program can apply to the Nuclear Power School in South Carolina. Naval special warfare, naval aviation, and submarine warfare are other popular fields.

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#2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

- Mid-career pay: $158,100
- Early career pay: $88,300
- Percent high meaning: 52%
- Percent STEM degrees: 69%

Internships are big at MIT: 39% of the class of 2019 received a full-time job offer as a result of theirs. Harvard, Cambridge, and MIT were top graduate school destinations for MIT grads, while some directly went to work at Harvard, Stanford, and Princeton. Other students found jobs with industry leaders in health care, government, energy/utilities, and information and technology.

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#1. Harvey Mudd College

- Mid-career pay: $162,500
- Early career pay: $91,400
- Percent high meaning: 56%
- Percent STEM degrees: 85%

Harvey Mudd College graduates command a median starting salary of $87,500. Astronauts Stan Love and George Nelson are Harvey Mudd alumni, as is Eric B. Kim, a marketing visionary who worked for Samsung and Intel.

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