Home / General / Howard Schultz’s schmattas to riches story doesn’t check out at all

Howard Schultz’s schmattas to riches story doesn’t check out at all


The WAPO has a well-researched piece on Howard Schultz’s mostly fake Horatio Alger story.

Short version: Schultz grew up in a basically middle-class, almost all-white neighborhood, as opposed to the poor, rough and tumble life in the projects he has made part of his mythologized “brand.”

If his candidacy goes anywhere, a piece of Schultz’s background that still merits further digging is his sojourn at Northern Michigan University.  I checked, and tuition and room and board at NMU for an out of state student in 1971 was approximately $15,000 in 2019 dollars.  Now while Schultz’s family wasn’t poor, $60K to send Howard to college would have been a huge chunk of change, that they almost certainly couldn’t have come up with.

More to the point, Howard could have gone to CUNY for, essentially, free.  50 years ago NMU was an open-enrollment historical teachers college in what to a lifelong NYC resident was essentially outer Siberia.  Schultz’s story about going there on a football scholarship is pure bullshit, as he now admits, so why was he there at all?

It may be of some significance here that Schultz has apparently never given a penny to the only institution of higher learning he ever attended.  Northern Michigan is, in terms of its endowment, just about the poorest four-year college or university in America. The school’s total endowment of $15 million may well not even throw off enough annual expendable income to cover the costs of its fundraising operations.

But Mr. Three Billion Dollar Man can’t come up with something for the tip jar at the school that, per his auto-hagiography, saved him from the mean streets of Canarsie?  There’s an interesting back story here of some sort, although whether it remains worth pursuing is another question I suppose.

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