David Hogg, the survivor of the Marjorie Stone Douglas high school shooting in Parkland, Florida last February who rose to prominence as a gun-control activist, is headed for Harvard University.
He announced his acceptance to the prestigious school on Twitter this morning (Dec. 22), thanking his more than 900,000 followers for their support.
At Harvard, Hogg will undoubtedly be among the students with the most real-world political organizing experience. Immediately following the horrific massacre on Valentine’s Day, in which 17 people were killed by a gunman, Hogg was one of a handful of students who emerged as leaders of a student group intent on changing gun regulation laws and prepared to wage a media war to do so. He also played a central role in organizing the March for Our Lives protest earlier this year (it drew an estimated 800,000 people) and became a leader of the nonprofit with the same name.
More than his fellow student activists, however, Hogg has been viciously attacked by gun-rights and NRA supporters. One 78-year-old troll recently admitted to sending Hogg’s mother a letter threatening to shoot her. Armed protestors appear at events asking for him by name, New York magazine reported.
Earlier this year, when Hogg told his Twitter fans that he’d been rejected by the University of California system, Fox News host Laura Ingraham publicly criticized the 18-year-old, calling him a whiny teen. He shrewdly tweeted the names of advertisers on her show, calling for a boycott. Sure enough, several pulled their ads before Ingraham issued an apology.
Hogg’s new life should be a kind of respite, one he’s been looking forward to. “I can’t wait to go to college next year and get kind of a normal life, at least to some extent where I have at least some form of routine on a weekly basis,” he told Connecticut public radio last month. (He took a gap year after graduating last May.)
On Twitter, his Harvard announcement was celebrated. Laurence Tribe, a scholar of constitutional law and Harvard Law School professor, offered a warm welcome. And the progressive activist group Sleeping Giants saw the news as the ultimate comeback to trolls, critics, and the California university that had inexplicably rejected him. “Believe that is called a checkmate,” they wrote.