Thomas Sowell (; born June 30, 1930) is an American author, economist, political commentator, social theorist, and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He was a recipient of the National Humanities Medal from President George W. Bush in 2002.Sowell was born in Gastonia, North Carolina, to a poor family. After his family migrated to the North, he grew up in Harlem, New York. Beleaguered by financial difficulties and poor home conditions, he dropped out of Stuyvesant High School and served in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War. Thereafter he took night classes at Howard University before attending Harvard University, graduating Magna cum Laude in 1958. He earned a master's degree in economics from Columbia University the next year and a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago in 1968. During his academic career, he served on the faculties of several universities including Cornell University, Amherst College, the University of California, Los Angeles, and, currently, Stanford University. He has also worked at think tanks including the Urban Institute. Since 1977, he has worked at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, where he is the Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy.