Another professor, who spoke on the condition he not be identified, said: "(Trump's) egomaniacal antics notwithstanding, at least he characterizes the school as being very selective, and at least he calls it 'The Wharton School of Finance'"—as opposed to the frequently misnomered Wharton Business School.
And you have to give Trump this: He is successfully selling his academic bona fides to a base of tea party supporters, not usually the most receptive audience to the virtues of an Ivy League education.
Trump received his bachelor's degree from Wharton's undergraduate program in 1968, having transferred there from Fordham University (which tends to go unmentioned in his speeches).Three of Trump's children, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Tiffany, also attended Wharton as undergrads; Ivanka reportedly graduated with honors.
Some Whartonites are quick to note that for all of Trump's wealth, his familial ties to the school, and his publicly expressed affection for the school, he's done bupkis as a benefactor. It's difficult to say if Trump has donated anything to Wharton at all. When asked, Wharton spokesman Peter Winicov responded by directing CNBC.com to a school webpage profiling some of its donors, none of whom are named Donald J. Trump. (Trump's campaign did not respond to requests to comment for this story.)
Wharton's most significant backer is plastics magnate Jon Huntsman Sr.—father and namesake of the former Utah governor and 2012 Republican presidential candidate—who made a single $40 million gift to Wharton in 1998, and whose name is now on the school's main building.
Someone like Trump might argue that he's brought the school something equal in terms of earned media. After all, Wharton has taken its public lumps in recent years, what with a four-year decline in enrollment for its MBA program and a shakeup of its leadership structure. A much-discussed 2013 Wall Street Journal story asked, "What's Wrong with Wharton?"
Last year, the school got a new dean, Geoffrey Garrett, and now, in Trump, it has the moment's most intriguing presidential candidate name-dropping it every campaign stop.
"In short, he's a mixed bag," Schweitzer said. "But at least we're talking about Wharton."
Even if Wharton is officially not talking about Trump.