This picture, being shared on Twitter, alleges that Valerie Jarrett, former Senior Advisor to the President, during the Obama administration, claimed to be of Iranian descent and of Islamic faith in her yearbook.

Image of a purported quotation by Valerie Jarrett

Image reads

Take a look at the 1977 Stanford Yearbook

I am a Iranian by birth and of my Islamic faith. I am also an American Citizen and I seek to help change America to be a more Islamic country. My faith guides me and I feel like it is going well in the transition of using freedom of religion in America against itself.

Did she say this in Stanford's '77 yearbook?


4 Answers 4


No; the caption is written in the Calibri font. This font was not developed until 2002.

Source: https://www.fonts.com/font/microsoft-corporation/calibri

  • 25
    This doesn't address the claim in the question about whether the person said/wrote the quote in question. I see no claim that the picture represents an actual photographic excerpt from the source in question (as opposed to a citation of a quote within it in an arbitrary form). May 31, 2018 at 10:40
  • 124
    @DavidFoerster - Disagree. The question clearly ends with "...in her yearbook." So conclusive proof that the only evidence presented to back this extraordinary statement up, a photograph, cannot possibly have come from a 1977 yearbook, appears quite definitive. Somebody clearly went through extra effort to fake a yearbook "photo", which means the claim itself was fundamentally fraudulent.
    – T.E.D.
    May 31, 2018 at 13:40
  • 10
    The image that is being passed around as proof heavily implies that it is supposed to be an actual photo of her actual yearbook entry. May 31, 2018 at 19:27
  • 29
    @helrich - That's only correct in the most academic sense. The clear implication of making the statement and including the picture is that the picture is from the yearbook mentioned in the statement. The difference between intentionally misleading people and flat out lying might be important in a court of law (might). But here in the real world its effectively nonexistent. For all practical purposes, this was a lie.
    – T.E.D.
    May 31, 2018 at 19:58
  • 23
    @helrich - I'm not sure what you think "take a look at the Stanford 1977 yearbook," along with a graphic that is supposed to be a yearbook capture is supposed to mean, but that is the "evidence" being offered in the original claim that OP is asking to verify. If we can confirm that all aspects of the original claim are fraudulent - her last name, the fact that Iran was a supported ally in 1977, use of a font that did not exist, why is there a need to further prove the negative, when the original claim is shown to be wholly fraudulent? May 31, 2018 at 21:11

The Stanford yearbook in 1977 is mostly photos without captions.

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

(There is no Valerie Bowman on this page anyway, because she didn't graduate until 1978.)

It does have a few short comments that seem to deal with everyday life on campus.

enter image description here

The faculty and staff kept reminding me to take advantage of all the benefits available to me because I was at this prestigious university ... My career placement counselor told me how to gather impressive recommendatiions and explained how to best present my litany of apprenticeships to land the job I wanted or get into the grad school of my choice. ... [unsigned]

I took these photos from an eBay listing and thus cannot look at every last page to confirm that the quoted statement does not appear, but I think the idea that a yearbook that looks like this contains a manifesto of violent Islamic revolution is frankly an absurd far-right fever dream. 1977 was before the Iran revolution and political Islam was not on the American radar.

  • 30
    Bravo! I wish I could upvote twice. Once because it actually focuses on debunking the claim by investigating the source and twice because it gave the most fitting answer with the available evidence: we're not sure, but probably not. Great find! This should be the accepted answer. May 30, 2018 at 21:10
  • 36
    @Jordy, this answer provides zero evidence. The quote from Snopes in the OP's answer about her name being Valerie Bowman in '77 is proof that the photo in the question was altered.
    – CramerTV
    May 30, 2018 at 21:23
  • 5
    Well that's not exactly true. That's not what Snopes doing: it is a matter of opinion. You value the qualities of the yearbook more as inferred from 3 pages. I value more the maiden name, marriage date, and geopolitical situation. The three pages of a yearbook, and the events in time and pertaining to the VJ are all circumstantial. But I certainly don't think the three pages are of a higher standard. May 30, 2018 at 21:50
  • 16
    @Jordy This makes no sense as superior evidence. The lack of quotes on three pages of the yearbook tell us nothing about the contents of the other ~97 pages. If your hypothesis is that the image doesn't claim to be a direct image of the yearbook, then why does the content of three particular pages matter at all? There could easily be quotes on the very next page. May 30, 2018 at 22:19
  • 20
    The Stanford University Library has copies of Stanford's yearbooks available for browsing, so if someone in the Bay Area really wanted to check it's easily doable.
    – 1006a
    May 31, 2018 at 18:17

Just addressed by Snopes apparently,

The quote to attributed “Valerie Jarrett, Stanford University, 1977” about her “seek[ing] to help change America to be a more Islamic country” is an unfounded one that has no source other than recent repetition (primarily on right-wing web sites and blogs). It’s also an anachronism, as “Valerie Jarrett” didn’t exist in 1977: she was born Valerie Bowman and didn’t take the latter surname until she married William Jarrett in 1983.

Also according to Snopes there is no evidence she's Muslim and her parents aren't Iranian -- though she was born in Iran.

  • 2
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Jamiec
    May 31, 2018 at 16:03

In the first place the photo is not a photo of Valerie Jarrett from 1977. It is a photo taken at a later date in her life. Probable a photo after she became a successful business women. You can tell that by comparing it to photos from the year book that was shown as evidence. The features don’t look anywhere similar to the other students the clothes, hair are all wrong for that year.

Second under the statement you can see the name Valerie Jarrett but Valerie Jarrett’s her name in 1977 would’ve been Valerie Bowman. Because she was born Valerie June Bowman to James E. Bowman and Barbara T. Bowman. She did not become Valerie Jarrett until 1983 when she married William Robert Jarrett.

Personal details

Born: Valerie June Bowman, November 14, 1956 (age 61), Shiraz, Imperial State of Iran

Political party: Democratic

Spouse(s): William Jarrett (m. 1983; div. 1988) Parents: Barbara T. Bowman, James E. Bowman

Education: Stanford University (BA), University of Michigan (JD)

Source: Wikipedia page


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .