Many of today's leaders do not attribute their success to education at an elite university. You are no doubt familiar with the following people who took a different path to personal and professional success.
General Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the highest ranking African-American officer in U.S. history, was born in New York on April 5, 1937, the son of Jamaican immigrants. Powell's father worked as a shipping foreman and his mother was a seamstress. Powell attended public schools in the South Bronx and earned a bachelor's degree in geology from the City College of New York (CCNY). After serving two tours in South Vietnam where he earned two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, a Soldier's Medal, and the Legion of Merit, Powell obtained an MBA from George Washington University in 1971.
Oprah Winfrey, television talk-show host, actress, and producer, was born January 29, 1954, in Kosciusko, Mississippi. After a troubled adolescence, she moved to Nashville to live with her father, Vernon, a barber and businessman. She entered Tennessee State University in 1971 and began her career in broadcasting in Nashville. After gaining national attention for her Oscar nominated performance in The Color Purple, Winfrey secured her own nationally syndicated talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show. She later gained control of the program and started Harpo Productions. With the 1999 debut of Oxygen Media, Winfrey ensured her place as one of the most powerful and wealthy people in show business.
Stephen King, the "King of Horror," was born September 21, 1947, in Portland, Maine. King's father disappeared when he was only three years old; with his mother and older brother, King moved around a good deal, finally returning to Maine in 1958. King graduated from the University of Maine in 1970 with a degree in English and in 1974 published Carrie, which became a best seller and a hit 1976 movie. King followed up on the success of Carrie with an astonishing run of best-selling short stories and novels. All together, he has sold more than 100 million copies of his books worldwide and has become the richest writer of all time.