Alum Ivy Leaguer

GPA alum and junior at the University of Pennsylvania says the Academy prepared him well for high school and beyond.

In 1881, American entrepreneur and industrialist Joseph Wharton established the world’s first collegiate school of business at the University of Pennsylvania, a private Ivy League university located in Philadelphia. Wharton’s vision was to produce graduates who would become “pillars of the state, whether in private or in public life.” Today, Wharton boasts nearly 100,000 alumni and more than 5,000 current students.

Count Grosse Pointe Academy grad Alexander Minanov among those current students. He just started his third year at Wharton and he’s majoring in both finance and real estate. He said the Academy gave him a head start in academics as he transitioned to high school as well as to Penn. But he also credits the head start GPA gave him in lacrosse, too.

“I loved playing lacrosse for GPA and that day I decided to play in fifth grade eventually led me to walking on and making the Penn men’s lacrosse team, which competes in Division 1,” he said.

Minanov actually began his GPA experience way before fifth grade when his family moved to the Grosse Pointe area from Kansas and he started in the school’s Pre-K Montessori program. He said the education he received throughout his years at the Academy made his eventual move to University Liggett for high school much easier for him than it seemed for many of his peers.

“The transition to high school was seamless because the Academy prepared me really well,” Minanov said. “I was totally ready for Liggett. My background in advanced math during my time at the Academy prepared me well for all the subsequent math and science classes. Additionally, my French and writing skills were advanced compared to my peers and I did not find the transition to high school to be much of a struggle at all.”

He believes that’s because the workload in middle school at the Academy was fairly heavy, plus, from a young age he had to learn how to manage his time.

“My freshman-year workload at Liggett was no different from my time in 8th grade at GPA, so the transition was easy,” he said. “College was a little more difficult because suddenly I was surrounded by a ton of brilliant people and everything is graded on a curve. However, I’ve done well so far because Liggett and GPA gave me a good basis, plus I learned how to manage my time even more efficiently, and I learned to work and study smarter.”

Among the many teachers and classes he had at the Academy that helped him work and study smarter, according to Minanov, were Mr. Fultz (sixth-grade science); French with Madame El-Hosni and Madame Leslie; Algebra 1 with Mr. Tily; fifth-grade advanced reading with Dr. Blau; and eighth-grade English with Mrs. Patton.

He’s also got a ton of memories still from GPA, but no clear favorites.

“It’s really hard to boil down my Academy experience to one or two specific favorite memories,” he said. “It’s mostly a collection of memories that involved our grade having a good time, whether it be in class, on the playground, or even during gym class.”