Most Duke University graduates can only dream of being famous and influential after years of slaving their way up the corporate ladder, but a few young Blue Devils are already at the forefront of the public's consciousness.
In Details magazine's January 2008 rankings of the 50 most powerful men under 45, Duke-affiliated men snagged two spots.
Presidential hopeful Rudolph Giuliani's son Andrew Giuliani, a junior at Duke, was ranked 19th most powerful along with Mitt Romney's five sons for his possible influence on the 2008 presidential election.
Former Duke lacrosse players Collin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann and David Evans snagged the 36th spot.
Editors and reporters at Details -- a men's lifestyle magazine that targets young, style-conscious professionals -- formulated the list to reflect the ability of certain young men, like the former Duke lacrosse players, to influence how the general public thinks.
A few men are on the list not because of what they've done but because of what they might do in the future, said Details Executive Editor Greg Williams. In particular, Wiliams said Giuliani was included because of his potential to derail his father's bid for the White House.
"The person who could most easily torpedo the presidential campaign of America's Mayor is not a former mistress or political insider; it's Rudy Giuliani's own estranged son, Andrew," writes Details. "This spring, an angry Andrew revealed that he and his father had no relationship and announced that there was no way he'd work on Pop's political campaign."
Giuliani said he was surprised he made the rankings, adding that he did not feel he could have any influence over the Republican party's primary.
"I understand with reality TV and mass media there is a lot more tension and focus on politicians' family members than before," Giuliani said. "But when push comes to shove, people will choose the person who represents them best."
He added that Details mischaracterized his relationship with his father based on a New York Times article earlier this year that he said twisted his words.
"For them to say I have no relationship with my father is flat out wrong. They took a 20-minute interview and spun it in the direction that they wanted," Giuliani said. "It's not anything new to say that The New York Times is not in my father's corner, and they did a good job of proving that. I wasn't careful enough in watching my words and gave them too much rope to hang myself with."
At the top of the rankings was teenage heartthrob Zac Efron, along with the rest of the cast of straight-to-cable Disney sensation High School Musical 2. Also included in the group were actress-turned-singer Hilary Duff and Miley Cyrus, who plays Hannah Montana.
Other young men in the top 50 included Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.
Cultural influence rather than prestige earns people a spot in the rankings, which explains why YouPorn founder Stephen Jones is ranked above Louisiana Governor-elect Bobby Jindal.
"There are no moguls on this list -- no Bill Gates, Rupert Murdochs, or Steve Jobs," Williams said. "It's really about the people who have been occupying the head space of our readers this year, influencing the way you think, what you purchase."
© 2007 The Chronicle via U-WIRE