The [[ Ivy League]] is a group of eight old and well-regarded universities in the northeastern United States. Officially, the Ivy League is an athletic conference. Its members have a long history of participation in collegiate sports, and some of America's first sports rivalries were established at these eight schools. The Ivy League was officially established in 1954, although it had existed informally for decades prior.[[note]] The Ivy League claims the history of the Eastern Intercollegiate Basketball League, the first college basketball conference (founded in 1901), as its own. Every member in the the EIBL's history would eventually join the Ivy League; by 1953, the EIBL membership was identical to that of today's all-sports conference; and upon the creation of the new Ivy athletic conference, the EIBL was incorporated into it.[[/note]] Even though the Ivy League is officially a NCAA Division I conference (FCS for football), it operates much closer to a Division III conference as none of the member schools allow athletic scholarships. In football, the league's champion technically receives an automatic invitation to the FCS playoffs; however, the league abstains from the playoffs, citing academic concerns. Also, for basketball, the league does not conduct a conference tournament, instead awarding the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament to the regular season champion[[note]]However, if there is a tie for first, a one-game playoff is conducted[[/note]].

However, the name has much broader connotations. The Ivy League is associated with academic excellence, with many people in fiction and real life dreaming of [[IvyLeagueForEveryone gaining admission to an Ivy League school]], as it is seen as a sign that one is truly the best of the best. (Admissions are highly selective, with admission rates being less -- usually ''much'' less -- than twenty percent.) Indeed, this was the ''real'' reason why the Ivy League was created -- they felt that collegiate athletics were growing too dominated by big money and sponsorship deals, and that continuing to compete with other schools would force them to lower their academic standards.

On the flip side, the Ivy League is also associated with social elitism. It is often subjected to a unique form of StrawmanU, one in which most of the students are [[RichBitch snobbish, preppy]], [[BlueBlood old-money]] [[WhiteAngloSaxonProtestant WASPs]] who are already set for life, and are only going to college to acquire a veneer of respectability (for when they become [[CorruptCorporateExecutive executives and investment bankers]]) and to get into their fathers' "old boys" networks and secret societies. Any student who isn't a member of this elite gets spit on and bossed around by them, partly because of the aforementioned elitism, and partly because most of the people who are academically gifted enough to get into an Ivy League school (without resorting to {{nepotism}}) are nerds who had already been encountering this for [[MiddleSchool twelve]] [[HighSchool years]]. Such a school will typically be the setting of a SlobsVersusSnobs plot. Essentially, it is the [[TransAtlanticEquivalent American equivalent]] of {{Oxbridge}}.

Of course, this hasn't been true of the Ivy schools for decades, but because so few people will ever see the inside of them, the stereotypes linger. Nonetheless, it makes for good drama and comedy both.

It's also worth noting that the mystique of the Ivy League holds less sway in parts of the country that aren't the northeast. While people on the East Coast dream of going to Princeton or Harvard, Californians often dream of getting into Stanford or University of California-Berkeley instead, while Southerners have their sights set on Vanderbilt or Rice. Even people in the relatively close Midwest often aim for Northwestern, Washington University in St. Louis, Rose-Hulman, Notre Dame, or the University of Chicago instead.

The renown of the Ivy League is such that the name "Ivy" is also used to describe other colleges with strong academic reputations. [[ "Little Ivies"]] may refer to the "Little Three" of Amherst, Wesleyan and Williams, or to a set of small and selective liberal arts colleges (mostly in the NESCAC sporting conference). [[ "Public Ivies"]] are [[UsefulNotes/AmericanEducationalSystem public universities]] that are said to provide an Ivy League-quality education at an affordable price, while [[ "Southern Ivies"]] are [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin exactly what they sound like]] -- in fact, there was talk in TheSixties of forming a "Magnolia Conference" of elite Southern universities that wanted to maintain big-ticket sports programs without cutting corners on academics, as they felt that their rivals were doing.

The eight Ivy League colleges, in the order they were founded, along with some [[SarcasmMode totally accurate]] stereotypes about each of them that [[BlatantLies totally weren't written]] [[SuspiciouslySpecificDenial by their rivals' alumni]]:
* '''Harvard University''' in Cambridge, Massachusetts: established in 1636 (oldest university in the US). Motto: Veritas ("Truth")
** Stereotype: Hyper-competitive and nerdy, with terrible sports programs[[note]]Though the men's basketball team has done well of late, with a big upset of New Mexico in the 2013 NCAA Tournament and alum Jeremy Lin gaining notice in the NBA.[[/note]] and a world-renowned law school. You know when someone went to Harvard, [[BlaseBoast because they'll tell you]].
* '''Yale University''' in New Haven, Connecticut: established in 1701. Motto: האורים והתומים [=HaUrim v'HaTummim=]/Lux et veritas ("Light and truth").
** Stereotype: Preppy, elitist, and crawling with secret societies. Possibly [[CardCarryingVillain card-carrying villains]].
* '''University of Pennsylvania''' in UsefulNotes/{{Philadelphia}}, Pennsylvania: established in 1740. Motto: Leges sine moribus vanae ("Laws without morals are useless").
** Stereotype: Business nerds. '''Never''' to be confused with Penn State.
* '''Princeton University''' in Princeton, UsefulNotes/NewJersey: established in 1746. Motto: Dei sub numine viget ("Under God's power she flourishes").
** Stereotype: Snobbish and sports-obsessed, with more singing groups than a UsefulNotes/{{Bollywood}} film.
* '''Columbia University''' ([[TheColonialPeriod originally]] King's College) in UsefulNotes/NewYorkCity, New York: established in 1754. Motto: In lumine Tuo videbimus lumen ("In thy light shall we see the light").
** Stereotype: A [[StrawmanU Berkeley-on-the-Hudson]] filled with artsy {{hipster}}s.
* '''Brown University''' in Providence, Rhode Island: established in 1764. Motto: In Deo Speramus ("In God we hope").
** Stereotype: The ButtMonkey of the Ivy League, with an allegedly lax curriculum.[[note]]They have a class called Atlantic Pirates. No joke.[[/note]] Rival to Columbia for the chief [[StrawmanU Berserkley]] of the Ivy League.
* '''Dartmouth College''' in Hanover, New Hampshire: established in 1769. Motto: Vox clamantis in deserto ("The voice of one crying in the wilderness").
** Stereotype: A [[StrawmanU Jim Jones University]] where everybody dual-majors in [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Wall Street ethics]] and [[WackyFratboyHijinx partying]]. That, or every other person you meet is a recruiter for a spy agency (due to the school's famous international relations program).
* '''Cornell University''' in Ithaca, [[UsefulNotes/NewYorkState New York]]: established in 1865. The only one that gets support from a state government (it's not exactly public, but the State of New York provides some of its budget). Motto: [[TheLastOfTheseIsNotLikeTheOthers I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study]].
** Stereotype: The other ButtMonkey of the Ivy League. The fallback school for those who couldn't get into the others.

Princeton, Harvard and Yale have traditionally been ranked as the top three schools in the United States for well over a century, although the precise ordering of the three varies from year to year. They are also considered among the top schools in the ''world'', as well.

Important note: Neither Princeton nor Brown have law schools, nor does Princeton have a medical school.[[note]]The "University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro"--yes, the similarity to ''Series/{{House}}'' may be intentional--is associated with the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, which is part of Public Ivy Rutgers effective 1 July 2013.[[/note]] In real life, someone claiming to have gone to "Princeton Law" is lying; in fiction, "Princeton Law" and "Brown Law" are useful ways to establish a prestigious lineage for a lawyer/judge/legal scholar without tying him/her down to a real school, its records, and traditions.

Humorously, UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball would not exist if not for Harvard and the Ivy League. The game was nearly banned by Harvard's president due to all of the fataltiies, until a [[UsefulNotes/TheodoreRoosevelt Harvard alumnus]] stepped in, and mediated a new set of rules with representatives from Harvard, Yale, and Princeton designed to make the game safer. Incidentally, the first game of American football--which resembled a cross of [[TheBeautifulGame soccer]] and rugby more than the modern sport--was a UsefulNotes/NewJersey affair played between Princeton and non-Ivy Rutgers in 1869. Rutgers won.

!!Ivy League in the Media

* Multiple presidents and relatives of presidents have gone to Harvard
* Harvard is the setting for the book and film ''LoveStory''. Due to the damage filming caused the campus, Harvard no longer allows filming on its campus.
* Harvard Law School is the setting for the film ''ThePaperChase''.
* The Law School is also the setting of ''Film/LegallyBlonde''. Yes.
* Quentin Compson, in WilliamFaulkner's ''TheSoundAndTheFury'', attends Harvard.
* The early parts of ''Film/TheSocialNetwork'', true to life, were set at Harvard. (Less true to life, these scenes were mostly filmed at [[CaliforniaDoubling Johns Hopkins University]] or on sets.)
* BuckarooBanzai got his medical degree from Harvard.
* The title character of ''Series/TheAdventuresOfBriscoCountyJr'', despite his {{Steampunk}}/[[TheWestern Western]] adventures, was a Harvard-educated lawyer.
* Sara Sidle on ''Series/{{CSI}}'' is a Harvard grad.
* "Film/TheCuriousCaseOfBenjaminButton" (the original story) has the titular character go to Harvard after Yale, his father's alma mater kicks him out over disbelief over his age.
* In the video game ''[[VideoGame/PlantsVsZombies Plants vs. Zombies]]'', the upgrade plant Cob Cannon attended Harvard.
* In one episode of ''Series/GilligansIsland'', after an enraged outburst of gibberish from an apeman, Harvard grad [[UpperClassTwit Thurston Howell III]] comments that the fellow "must be a ''Yale'' man!"

* In Creator/FScottFitzgerald's ''TheGreatGatsby'', both Nick Carraway and Tom Buchanan are Yale men.
* ComicStrip/FlashGordon is a Yale graduate.
* Classic DimeNovel character FrankMerriwell is a Yale man.
* The later seasons of ''GilmoreGirls'' feature Rory applying to and then attending Yale.
** Additionally, Rory's best friend Paris and grandfather Richard both go/went to Yale.
* Jamie (Helen Hunt) in ''MadAboutYou'' is a Yale graduate.
* As is Mr. Burns in ''TheSimpsons''.
* Niles on ''{{Frasier}}'' is an alumnus of Yale, as is David Hyde Pierce, who plays him. As part of the rivalry between him and his brother, Frasier attended Harvard.
* Sideshow Bob of ''TheSimpsons'' went to Yale.
* Troy the Janitor from ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' went to Yale.
* In ''TheFlintstones'', Yale's prehistoric counterpart is "Shale University," archrival of "Prinstone University."

!!!University of Pennsylvania
* Dennis and Dee Reynolds of ''Series/ItsAlwaysSunnyInPhiladelphia'' both studied psychology at [=UPenn=], but Dee didn't graduate, and Dennis is...well...Dennis.

* Series/TheFreshPrinceOfBelAir:
** Will and Carton meet with an admissions counselor. Will impresses him by [[AwesomenessByAnalysis instantly solving a Rubix Cube]] and is admitted.
** Carlton's conflicts are resolved when he successfully transfers into Princeton in the series finale.
* Creator/FScottFitzgerald's first novel, ''ThisSideOfParadise'', centers around a Princeton student ([[AuthorAvatar based on Fitzgerald himself]]), and spends a fair amount of time on the campus.
* The setup of ''Film/AcrossTheUniverse'' involves Jude traveling from Liverpool to find his father at Princeton -- where he meets and befriends Max.
* The title character of ''DoogieHowserMD'' graduated from Princeton at age 10.
* In the episode "Flintstone of Prinstone" of ''TheFlintstones'', Fred briefly attends "Prinstone University".
* President Charles Logan of ''[[Series/TwentyFour 24]]'' is a Princeton grad.
* According to ''Film/BatmanBegins'', Bruce Wayne went to Princeton but dropped out.
* Although ''Series/CharlesInCharge'' took place in New Brunswick, NJ, home of Rutgers University, Charles ended up a graduate student at Princeton (which is 20 minutes away down Route 27).
* Joel in ''RiskyBusiness'' (Tom Cruise) is trying to get ''into'' Princeton over the course of the film.
* From the first episode of ''Series/TheCosbyShow'', daughter Sondra was attending Princeton; she eventually graduated. She also met her husband Elvin Tibideaux there.
* The title character of ''Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen'' by H. Beam Piper, Calvin Morrison, had been a theology student at Princeton, but dropped out to enlist in the Army during the Korean War.
* Dr. Manhattan of ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'', in his pre-superpowered identity as John Osterman, attended Princeton for ten years, finally leaving with a Ph.D. in Physics in 1958.
* The character "Princeton" from ''Theatre/AvenueQ''.
* ''Film/ABeautifulMind'' is in large part set and filmed at Princeton, which is where the real John Nash studied and still works.
* This exchange in ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' episode "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS8E16BrotherFromAnotherSeries Brother From Another Series]]":
-->'''Sideshow Bob:''' Oh, come now! You wanted to be Krusty's sidekick since you were five! What about the buffoon lessons? The four years at clown college?\\
'''Cecil:''' I'll thank you not to refer to Princeton that way.

* In the Creator/SamRaimi films, [[Film/SpiderMan Peter Parker]] attends Columbia.
* Comicbook/{{Daredevil}} went to Columbia Law school.
* UpperClassTwit Nate Archibald from Literature/{{GossipGirl}} goes there.

* Brian from ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' attended to Brown, but dropped out one class short of graduating. In the episode "Brian Goes Back to College", he returns to complete his education (unsuccessfully).
* The much-loathed Microsoft Office Assistant "Clippy" has a biography that claims he has a degree in art-semiotics from Brown.
* Elliot from ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' attended Brown.
* Several characters from ''Series/TwentyFour'' attended Brown, including Audrey Raines and Bill Buchanan.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', Lisa has an ImagineSpot where, having been caught cheating on a test, Brown remains the only Ivy League university open to her.

* Michael Corleone of ''Film/TheGodfather'' and its sequels is a Dartmouth graduate.
* "Trapper John" [=MacIntyre=] of ''Series/{{Mash}}'' and ''TrapperJohnMD'' attended Dartmouth.
* Meredith Grey of ''GreysAnatomy'' is a Dartmouth graduate. Shonda Rhimes, the show's creator, is a Dartmouth alumna herself, and David Rosen, a character on her show ''Scandal'', also seems to be a Dartmouth grad--he and Mer have the same t-shirt.
* The fictional version of himself portrayed by Creator/StephenColbert on ''Series/TheColbertReport'' attended Dartmouth. (The real Colbert went to [[UsefulNotes/{{Chicago}} Northwestern]].)
* ''Film/AnimalHouse'', while set at the fictional Faber College, was largely based on writer Chris Miller's experiences at Dartmouth and [[WackyFratboyHijinx its fraternity culture]].

* Sideshow Mel of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' attended Cornell.
* The eponymous ''Film/CitizenKane'' was expelled from Cornell.
* In ''TheOfficeUS'', the terminally preppy Andy constantly brings up the fact that he went to Cornell.

* In ''The Call of Cthulhu'' by Creator/HPLovecraft, George Gammell Angell is an emeritus professor at Brown.
** Miskatonic University, frequently seen or mentioned in the CthulhuMythos, is modeled on Brown University.
** Harvard's Widener Library houses a copy of the ''Necronomicon''.
* In ''DecadesOfDarkness'', WordOfGod [[ holds]] that the {{alternate|History}} Ivy League covers nine schools in New England[[note]]In the ''[=DoD=]'' [[TheVerse 'verse]], New England includes the Canadian Maritimes, UsefulNotes/{{New|YorkState}} [[UsefulNotes/NewYorkCity York]], UsefulNotes/NewJersey, UsefulNotes/{{Michigan}} (minus the Upper Peninsula, which is Canadian), and parts of northern Indiana and UsefulNotes/{{Ohio}}, in addition to the six states that make up the region in RealLife.[[/note]] instead of eight in the US. Missing from the list are [=UPenn=] (Pennsylvania is part of the *US), Princeton (which didn't survive [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarI the North American War]]), and Cornell (which was founded half a century after the PointOfDivergence, and so doesn't exist in the ''[=DoD=]'' 'verse); added to the list are Union College in Schenectady, King's College in Nova Scotia, and the fictional Brunswick College in New Brunswick and Clinton University in Rochester.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'', both Prinstone and Shale are members of the esteemed "Poison Ivy League."
* In ''WebComic/KevinAndKell'' the Ivy League was mentioned, and it was once apparently quite literal: they only accepted species that ate ivy until diversity became an issue.

!!Ivy League in RealLife:

* UsefulNotes/JohnAdams was the first Harvard grad to become president.
* Other Harvard alums who became President of the United States: John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, George W. Bush (Harvard MBA), Barack Obama (Harvard Law School) and Presidential BadAss UsefulNotes/TheodoreRoosevelt.
* Creator/RalphWaldoEmerson attended Harvard.
* Creator/NataliePortman is a Harvard alum. She parodied this in a [[ famous]] ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' Digital Short.
* Creator/TommyLeeJones went to Harvard; his roommate was UsefulNotes/AlGore.
** Erich Segal, author of ''Film/LoveStory'', also went to Harvard at the same time, and admitted years later to modelling its protagonist Oliver on a fusion of the two.
* Author Creator/WilliamSBurroughs, Harvard 1936.
* Civil Rights leader W.E.B. Du Bois was Harvard 1890.
* HoratioAlger, Harvard 1852.
* Creator/AlFranken, Harvard 1973.
* Professional wrestler and real-life lawyer David Otunga.
* Former professional wrestler Christopher Nowinski, now an activist on concussions in sports.[[note]]Nowinski was forced to retire from Wrestling/{{WWE}} due to a series of concussions.[[/note]]
* Current [[UsefulNotes/NationalBasketballAssociation Los Angeles Lakers]] guard Jeremy Lin.
* Creator/RashidaJones graduated in 1997. She initially intended to be a lawyer, but after the OJ Simpson trial, decided to become an actor.

* JodieFoster, Yale 1984.
* George H. W. Bush
* Both UsefulNotes/BillClinton and his wife UsefulNotes/{{Hillary|RodhamClinton}} attended Yale Law School
* George W. Bush attended Yale and was a member of Skull and Bones.
* John Kerry attended Yale and was a member of Skull and Bones. In 2004, he ran against fellow Bonesman George W. Bush for President.
* Legendary OSS/CIA spymaster JamesJesusAngleton was a Yale man.
* VincentPrice held a degree in art history from Yale (class of 1933).

!!!University of Pennsylvania
* Creator/BenjaminFranklin was one of the university's founders.
* EzraPound attended the University of Pennylvania.
* Creator/WilliamCarlosWilliams was a Penn graduate.

* Creator/FScottFitzgerald attended Princeton.
* As did Creator/JimmyStewart, [[ Joshua Logan]], JoseFerrer, Wayne Rogers (''Series/{{Mash}}''), Brooke Shields (''Series/SuddenlySusan''), Creator/DavidDuchovny, [[ Jeff Bezos]], Dean Cain (''Series/LoisAndClark''), and First Lady Michelle Obama. In fact, the last five were all at Princeton during the ''same four-year span'' between 1982 and 1985.
* The Battle of Princeton (January 3, 1777) was an important rebel victory in UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution. Damage from cannon balls can still be seen in Nassau Hall (Princeton's administration building).
* Princeton's Blair Hall and its famous arch appear at the beginning of the ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' short film "Prose and Cons" ("Kill my lan'lord, kill my lan'lord") from the 1980-81 season.
* Author/adventurer/lecturer RichardHalliburton was Princeton Class of 1922.
* Bestselling author Creator/JodiPicoult is Princeton '87.
* Playwright and Nobel Laureate Eugene O'Neill, Princeton Class of 1910.
* Musician/playwright Gene Lewin of the band {{Groovelily}} attended Princeton.
* Presidents UsefulNotes/GroverCleveland, UsefulNotes/WoodrowWilson, and UsefulNotes/JamesMadison went to Princeton. Wilson was also a professor there several times (he's the only President with a Ph.D.), and he served as the President of Princeton from 1902 to 1910, when he used the post to springboard himself to Governor of UsefulNotes/NewJersey.
* Ralph Nader, Princeton 1955.
* Queen Noor of Jordan, born Lisa Halaby, Princeton 1974.
* Former pro basketball player and former US Senator Bill Bradley is Princeton Class of 1965.
* Syngman Rhee, first president of UsefulNotes/SouthKorea, Princeton 1910.
* Nobel laureate John Nash did his graduate work at and continues to do mathematics at Princeton.

* UsefulNotes/AlexanderHamilton attended Columbia when it was still called King's College.
* UsefulNotes/BarackObama, Columbia 1983.[[note]]He initially started at Occidental College but transferred to Columbia after his sophomore year.[[/note]]
* UsefulNotes/DwightDEisenhower served as president of the university before becoming President of the United States.
* OSS founder William Joseph "Wild Bill" Donovan was a Columbia graduate.
* Rider Strong (Shawn Hunter on ''BoyMeetsWorld'') went to Columbia.
* Creator/EricaJong holds an M.A. from Columbia (with a BA from Barnard--which for complicated historical reasons both is and is not a unit of Columbia).

* The personal papers of Creator/HPLovecraft are in the John Hay Library at Brown University.
* Creator/SJPerelman attended Brown.
* Composer/musician WendyCarlos, Brown 1962.
* Mary Chapin Carpenter, Brown 1981.
* Actress Laura Linney is Brown 1986.
* Actress Leelee Sobieski attended Brown but never graduated.
* Actress Creator/EmmaWatson graduated from Brown in 2014, with a degree in English Literature. She took time off here and there for personal and professional reasons.

* Theodore Giesel, aka Creator/DrSeuss, went to Dartmouth, and in fact his book ''GreenEggsAndHam'' was inspired by an all-green breakfast served to freshmen during his time there.
* Thorne Smith, author of ''Literature/{{Topper}}'' and numerous other books, as well as the grandfather of actress CourtneyThorneSmith, attended Dartmouth but dropped out in 1912.
* Anthropologist JosephCampbell, author of ''TheHeroWithAThousandFaces'', is considered class of 1926 at Dartmouth although he never graduated.
* [[TheMindyProject Mindy Kaling]] graduated in 2001.

* Frank Morgan, better known as the WizardOfOz, attended Cornell from 1908-1909, but dropped out.
* BillNyeTheScienceGuy has both a Bachelor's and a Master's in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell, and was a professor there from 2001-2006.
* BillMaher of ''PoliticallyIncorrect'', Cornell 1978.
* Creator/ChristopherReeve, Cornell 1974.
* Creator/CarlSagan was a professor at Cornell from 1968 to 1996.
* ToniMorrison received an MA there in 1955.
* Creator/VladimirNabokov also taught in Cornell in the fifties, whose students there includes ThomasPynchon and JoannaRuss. He would later satirize his experiences there in ''Literature/{{Pnin}}''.
* KurtVonnegut was a undergrad in Cornell until he joined the US Army in 1943.
* Creator/KeithOlbermann is a Cornell grad, with a BA in 1979. In order to graduate, he had to take 28 credits his last semester, which the University [[LoopholeAbuse had never thought to ban]]. In his own words:
-->'''Olbermann''': Did you know you can sweat from your eyelids?

* JohnFKennedy enrolled at Princeton, but was forced to leave due to illness; despite resuming and completing his education at Harvard, he is still regarded as a member of his original Princeton class by the University and alumni.
* UsefulNotes/FranklinDRoosevelt attended both Harvard University and Columbia Law School.
* Creator/DavidDuchovny's B.A. was from Princeton, his M.A. from Yale.
* Creator/JonathanTaylorThomas, after he quit acting, studied philosophy and history at Harvard, and graduated from Columbia's School of General Studies in 2010.
[--[[spoiler:Harvardiani et Yaliani delenda sunt.]]--]