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Famous Graduates of Liberal Arts Colleges

I’ve been asking around to find names of famous people, past and present, who have attended liberal arts colleges.

Here is the list by college in alphabetical order.  Feel free to contribute your own in the comments, and I’ll incorporate them in the full list.

Be sure to give details of who the person is (in case the person is not immediately recognizable to all).

ALBION COLLEGE, Albion, MI

  • Rick Smith, ’68, Former editor-in-chief of Newsweek
  • Stanley Kresge–founder of Kmart
  • Cedric Dempsey–former Executive Director of the NCAA

ALLEGHENY COLLEGE, Meadville, PA

AUGSBURG COLLEGE, Minneapolis, MN

  • Dr. Peter Agre, 2003 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry
  • Rev. Mark Hanson: Currently the Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Martin Sabo. Former U.S. Representative from Minnesota. Served in the House from 1979-2007

AUGUSTANA COLLEGE (IL)

  • Brenda Barnes, CEO of Sara Lee

BARD COLLEGE

  • Chevy Chase, actor

BARNARD COLLEGE, New York, NY

  • Martha Stewart, designer, author, publisher, home guru

BATES COLLEGE, Lewiston, ME

BOWDOIN COLLEGE, Brunswick, ME

  • William Cohen, Class of 1962, Secretary of Defense in the Clinton administration 1997-2001

BUCKNELL UNIVERSITY, Lewisburg, PA

  • Kenneth Langone, the CEO of Home Depot

BUTLER UNIVERSITY, Indianapolis, IN

CARLETON COLLEGE, Northfield, MN

CARROLL COLLEGE

  • Steven Burd, CEO of Safeway

CARTHAGE COLLEGE, Kenosha, WI

  • Alden W. Clausen, former President of the World Bank

CLAREMONT McKENNA COLLEGE, Claremont, CA

COLGATE UNIVERSITY, Hamilton, NY

COLORADO COLLEGE, Colorado Springs, CO

  • Ken Salazar, United States Secretary of the Interior, Former United States Senator from Colorado
  • James Heckman, class of ’65, winner of 2000 Nobel Prize for Economics
  • Jane Lubchenco ’69, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Neal Baer ’78, physician and executive producer and writer of “ER” and “Law & Order”
  • Marcia McNutt ’74, director of the U.S. Geological Survey
  • Abdul Aziz Abdul Ghani ‘62, former prime minister of Yemen

DAVIDSON COLLEGE, Davidson, NC

DENISON UNIVERSITY, Granville, OH

  • Michael Eisner, former CEO of Disney
  • Steve Carell, film and television actor

UNIVERSITY OF DENVER, Denver, CO

  • David Adkins, the comedian known as “Sinbad”
  • Andrew Rosenthal, editorial page editor, The New York Times
  • Condoleeza Rice, former United States Secretary of State and National Security Adviser
  • Peter Morton, founder, Hard Rock Cafe chain
  • Heidi Ganahl, founder, Camp Bow Wow chain
  • Ibrahim A. Assaf, finance minister, Saudi Arabia
  • Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman, Emirates Airlines

DePAUW UNIVERSITY, Greencastle, IN

  • Lee Hamilton – co-chair of the Iraq Study Group, vice chair of the 9/11 Commission, and retired United States Representative
  • Vernon Jordan Jr. – noted broker and executive, former president of the National Urban League, advisor to Bill Clinton
  • Percy Julian – research chemist of international renown and a pioneer in the chemical synthesis of medicinal drugs
  • Barbara Kingsolver – contemporary fiction writer, founder of Bellwether Prize for “literature of social change”
  • Dan Quayle – 44th Vice President of the United States under George H. W. Bush
  • Ferid Murad ’58, Nobel Prize recipient
  • James Stewart ’73, Pulitzer Prize winning author
  • Angie Hicks ’95, CEO, Founder of Angie’s List

EARLHAM COLLEGE, Richmond, IN

EMORY AND HENRY COLLEGE, Emory, VA

  • Richard Joshua Reynolds, founder of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco

EUREKA COLLEGE, Eureka, IL

  • Ronald Reagan, President of the United States

GONZAGA UNIVERSITY, Spokane, WA

  • Bing Crosby, Actor and Singer
  • Tom Foley, former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives

GRINNELL COLLEGE, Grinnell, IA

  • Gary Cooper, screen actor
  • Robert Noyce (founder of Intel, inventor of the microchip)
  • Herbie Hancock, jazz musician
  • Joseph Welch (“Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”)
  • Tom Cech ’70, 1989 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
  • Ed Hirsch, ’72, Poet and President of the Guggenheim Foundation
  • Nordahl Brue ’67, cofounder of Bruegger’s Bagels
  • Emily Bergl ’97, actress

HAMILTON COLLEGE, Clinton, NY

HAVERFORD COLLEGE, Haverford, PA

HIRAM COLLEGE, Hiram, OH

  • Dean Scarborough, CEO of Avery Dennison (the labels people!)

HOLLINS UNIVERSITY, Roanoke, VA

  • Margaret Wise Brown, author of Goodnight Moon (one of my personal favorites!)

ITHACA COLLEGE, Ithaca, NY

KENYON COLLEGE, Gambier, OH

  • Rutherford B. Hayes, President of the United States
  • Olaf Palme, Prime Minister of Sweden
  • Carl Djerassi, Creator of the birth control pill, winner of the National Medal of Science
  • Laura Hillenbrand, writer, author of Seabiscuit: An American Legend
  • James Wright, Poet, Winner of Pulitzer Prize
  • Paul Newman, Actor, winner of Emmy Award and Academy Award
  • E.L. Doctorow— Award winning novelist
  • Allison Janney–Emmy winning actress (“The West Wing”)

LAWRENCE UNIVERSITY, Appleton, WI

  • Thomas Steitz (’62), 2009 Nobel Prize for Chemistry
  • Campbell Scott (’82), film and television actor
  • Tom Oreck (’73), president and CEO of the Oreck Corporation
  • Terry Moran (’82), Anchor of ABC News “Nightline”

MACALESTER COLLEGE, St. Paul, MN

  • Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations

MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE, Middlebury, VT

  • Lado Gurgenidze, Prime Minister of Georgia
  • Dan Schulman, CEO of Virgin Mobile USA
  • Vivian Schiller, CEO of National Public Radio
  • Reuben Mark, former CEO of Colgate-Palmolive
  • Jim Davis, Chairman of New Balance,and listed in the top 400 of Forbes’ wealthiest Americans
  • Eve Ensler, playwright, The Vagina Monologues
  • Sam Daly, television actor (“The Office”)
  • Members of the band “Dispatch”:   Chad Urmston, Brad Corrigan, and Pete Heimbold

MILLSAPS COLLEGE, Jackson, MS

MOUNT HOLYOKE COLLEGE, South Hadley, MA

  • Emily Dickinson 1848
  • Frances Perkins 1902, the first woman to be appointed to a presidential cabinet (by FDR)
  • Dr. Virginia Apgar 1929, developer of the Apgar score, an internationally recognized test for evaluating the health of newborns
  • Virginia Hamilton Adair 1933, Poet
  • Ella Grasso 1940, first woman governor elected in her own right; recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Gloria Johnson-Powell 1958, first African American woman to attain tenure at Harvard Medical School
  • Elaine Chao 1975, former US Secretary of Labor
  • Wendy Wasserstein 1971, playwright, winner of the Tony Award, the Dramatists Guild Award, and the Pulitzer Prize.
  • Priscilla Painton 1980, editor-in-chief, Simon & Schuster; former executive editor, Time magazine

MUSKINGUM COLLEGE, New Concord, OH

  • John Glenn, Astronaut, Senator, Candidate for President of the United States

NEW SCHOOL, New York, NY

  • Jack Kerouac, author

OBERLIN COLLEGE

  • Jeff Greenfield, founder of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream

OKLAHOMA CITY UNIVERSITY, Oklahoma City, OK

  • Kristin Chenowith, Tony and Emmy award winning actor

POMONA COLLEGE, Claremont, CA

  • Robert Shaw, noted choral conductor
  • Kris Kristofferson, singer, songwriter, and actor (and Rhodes Scholar!)

PROVIDENCE COLLEGE

  • Raymond Flynn, former Mayor of Boston
  • Rich Gotham, President, Boston Celtics
  • Jack Tretton, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Arthur F. Ryan, former CEO of Prudential

REED COLLEGE

RIPON COLLEGE, Ripon, WI

  • Harrison Ford, actor (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”)
  • Richard Threlkeld, television news correspondent with CBS for 25 years

 

ROANOKE COLLEGE

  • John McAfee, founder of McAfee
  • Jay Piccola, President of Puma North America

ST. JOHN’S UNIVERSITY, Collegeville, MN

  • Eugene McCarthy, former U.S. Senator, author, and Presidential candidate
  • Denis McDonough (’92), Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications to President Barack Obama.
  • George Sinner (’50), Governor of North Dakota 1985-1992
  • Stephen Sommers, movie director

ST. OLAF COLLEGE, Northfield, MN

  • Ward Klein, CEO of Energizer Holdings (think of the bunny…)

SARAH LAWRENCE COLLEGE

  • Rahm Emmanuel, former member of the US House of Representatives, Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama

SOUTHWESTERN UNIVERSTY, Georgetown, TX

  • John Tower – U.S. Senator from Texas (1961–1988)

STETSON UNIVERSITY

  • Larry Johnston, CEO of Albertson’s

SWARTHMORE COLLEGE

  • Michael Dukakis, Presidential Candidate and former Governor of Massachusetts
  • James Michener, historical novelist

TRINITY COLLEGE, Washington, DC

  • Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives (first woman to hold the office)
  • Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, former Governor of Kansas

TUFTS UNIVERSITY, Medford, MA

  • Jamie Dimon, CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

UNION COLLEGE

  • Richard Templeton, CEO of Texas Instruments

VASSAR COLLEGE, Poughkeepsie, NY

  • Meryl Streep, film actress
  • Lisa Kudrow, television actress (“Friends”)

WASHINGTON AND LEE UNIVERSITY

  • Pat Robertson, Christian televangelist
  • Mike Henry, writer for the television series “Family Guy”
  • Fielder Cook, Director and Producer of the classic television series, “The Waltons”
  • Meriwether Lewis, explorer and private secretary to Thomas Jefferson

WELLESLEY COLLEGE, Wellesley, MA

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton, US Secretary of State and former Senator from New York

WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY, Middletown, CT

  • Bill Belichick, ’75—Head coach, New England Patriots, winner of three Super Bowls
  • Michael Bennet ’87—U.S. senator from Colorado; previously superintendant of schools in Denver
  • D. Ronald Daniel ’52—Director and former CEO, McKinsey and Company; former treasurer, Harvard Corporation
  • Christopher Graves ’81—President and CEO, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide
  • Daniel Handler ’92—Author (under the pseudonym Lemony Snicket) of A Series of Unfortunate Events children’s book series
  • Herb Kelleher ’53—Founder and former chairman, president and CEO, Southwest Airlines
  • Randall Pinkston ’72—Emmy Award–winning television journalist; correspondent, CBS News
  • Bradley Whitford ’81—Film and television actor (The West Wing—Emmy award, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Billy Madison, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants)

 

WHEATON COLLEGE, Norton, MA

  • Christine Todd Whitman – Former Governor of New Jersey and former head of the E.P.A., appointed by George W. Bush in 2001.
  • Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck – King of Bhutan
  • Prince Shad Al-Sherif Pasha of The Hijaz & Turkey
  • Catherine Keener (Oscar-nominated actress (“Being John Malkovich”  “Capote”)

WHEELING JESUIT UNIVERSITY, Wheeling, WV

  • Michael Mulligan, former CEO of Mapquest
  • Lionel Cartwright, Country Musician

WHITMAN COLLEGE, Walla Walla, WA

  • Keiko Agena, actress (“Gilmore Girls”)
  • Adam West, actor (“Batman,” “Family Guy”)
  • Ralph Cordiner, CEO and Chairman of General Electric
  • William O. Douglas, United States Supreme Court Justice

WHITTIER COLLEGE, Whittier, CA

  • Richard Nixon, President of the United States

WILLIAMS COLLEGE, Williamstown, MA

  • Stephen Sondheim, composer
  • Arthur Levitt, longest serving Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission
  • George Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees
  • James Garfield, President of the United States
  • A.R. Gurney, playwright
  • Clarence Otis, CEO of Darden Restaurants (Red Lobster and Olive Garden)
  • Thomas Krens, former director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in New York City
  • Elia Kazan, film director
  • Lee Hom Wang, one of the most popular Chinese pop music stars worldwide

WOFFORD COLLEGE, Spartanburg, SC

  • Michael J. Copps, Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission
  • Paul S. Atkins, Commissioner of Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Jerry Richardson, owner of the Carolina Panthers

COLLEGE OF WOOSTER, Wooster, OH

  • Karl Taylor Compton, past president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Stephen Donaldson, New York Times best selling author
  • Stanley Gault,  Former CEO Rubbermaid
  • George Fitch, Co-founder of the Jamaican Bobsled Team

Please, add your own in the comments!

 

Mark Montgomery
College Counselor and Fan of Liberal Arts Colleges

 

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Comments

  1. You forgot a few other wonderful Liberal Arts Colleges with well respected alumni: Connecticut College, Gettysburg College, Dickinson College.

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