Distinguished Alumni

From the Broadway stage to the political stage; biotech startups to the Baseball Hall of Fame; Nobel Prize ceremonies, big city newsrooms and the halls of academia—a Columbia education empowers graduates to pursue great things and world-changing impact. 

Where will Columbia Blue take you? We can’t wait to find out. 

Here you're in good company


Pulitzer Prize winners



Founding Fathers of the United States 



Presidents and Prime Ministers



Nobel Laureates

Meet Our Alumni

Arts & Letters

Isaac Asimov, author

Emanuel Ax, Grammy-winning classical pianist

Chris Baio, Rostam Batmanglij

Ezra Koenig, Chris Tomson, founding members of indie rock band Vampire Weekend

Béla Bartók, Grammy-winning composer

Kathryn Bigelow, film director, first woman to win Best Director Academy Award

Wendy Carlos, Grammy-winning classical composer

Brian Dennehy, Tony- and Emmy-winning actor

Peter Farrelly, filmmaker

Erik Feig, producer

Dede Gardner, Oscar- and Emmy-winning film producer

Allen Ginsberg, Beat poet

Maggie Gyllenhaal, Golden Globe-winning actress

Katori Hall, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright

Oscar Hammerstein II, lyricist

Lorenz Hart, lyricist

Utada Hikaru, musician

Langston Hughes, poet

Zora Neale Hurston, author

Jim Jarmusch, filmmaker

Jack Kerouac, Beat poet

Tony Kushner, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright

Ursula K. Le Guin, Nebula- and Hugo-winning author 

Federico García Lorca, poet

Terrence McNally, Tony Award-winning playwright

Thomas Merton, essayist and poet

Nico Muhly, composer

Sharon Olds, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet

Richard Rodgers, EGOT and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer

Ricardo Scofidio, architect

Upton Sinclair, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer

Jenny Slate, actress

Robert A. M. Stern, architect

Twyla Tharp, choreographer

Christine Wang, architect

Academics & Theorists

William Theodore de Bary, East Asian literary scholar

Jacques Barzun, historian

Joseph Campbell, scholar of mythology

John Dewey, philosopher, educator

Milton Friedman, Nobel Laureate in Economics 

Ellen V. Futter, President of the American Museum of Natural History

Jane Jacobs, urban theorist

Edward Kasner, mathematician who coined the term googol

Donald Keene, renowned Japanese scholar

Jelena Kovacevic, Dean of NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Robert Merton, Nobel Laureate in Economics

Alvin E. Roth, 2012 Nobel Laureate in Economics 

William Schuman, former President of Juilliard School of Music, first President of Lincoln Center

Judith Shapiro, former President of Barnard College, professor of anthropology

Howard Zinn, historian

Business & Entrepreneurship

Armen Avanessians, CIO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management's (GSAM) Quantitative Investment Strategies team   

Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway CEO

William Campbell, Intuit CEO

Philippe Dauman, Chairman of Viacom

James P. Gorman, Morgan Stanley CEO

Ben Horowitz, Co-Founder and General Partner, Andreessen Horowitz LLC

John Kluge, entrepreneur

Randy Lerner, former Cleveland Browns owner, CEO of MBNA Bank

Jon Oringer, Founder & CEO of Shutterstock

Eric Poirier, CEO of Addepar

Louis Rossetto, Founder of Wired Magazine

Robert J. Stevens, former Lockheed Martin CEO

S. Robson Walton, Chairman of Walmart Board of Directors

Marco Zappacosta, Founder of Thumbtack

Media & Publishing

Daniel Alarcón, writer

Roone Arledge Jr., sports broadcasting pioneer, former Chairman of ABC News

Jennifer Ashton, Chief Health and Medical Editor, and Chief Medical Correspondent for ABC News and Good Morning America

Bob Bakish, President and CEO of CBS/Viacom

Dean Baquet, Executive Editor, The New York Times Company

Marcus Brauchli, Managing Partner, North Base Media and former Executive Editor of The Washington Post

Rocco Commisso, Founder, Chairman & CEO, Mediacom Communications Corporations

Jamal Dajani, producer

Poppy Harlow, Journalist with CNN

Sara Just, Executive Producer and Senior Vice President, PBS NewsHour

Jodi Kantor, Pulitzer-Prize-winning New York Times journalist and author

Patrick Radden Keefe, Award-winning journalist and author

Christopher Kimball, Chef, publisher and TV personality

Joseph Lelyveld, former Executive Editor of The New York Times

Anita Lo, Celebrity chef and author

Andrés Martinez, former Editorial Page Editor of The Los Angeles Times

Janice Min, former Chief Creative Officer, Co-president of entertainment group Guggenheim Media (The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard)

Joseph Pulitzer, publisher

Claire Shipman, Journalist, NYT best-selling author, and public speaker

George Stephanopoulos, Chief Anchor and Chief Political Correspondent for ABC News

Elizabeth Trotta, former NY Bureau Chief of The Washington Times, contributor for Fox News

Politics & Advocacy

Bella Abzug, Congresswoman, leader of the women’s movement

Shirley Chisholm, first African American woman elected to Congress

Eric Garcetti, mayor of Los Angeles

Neil Gorsuch, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of Federal Reserve System

Judd Gregg, former Senator and Governor

Eric Holder Jr., first African American Attorney General

Ben Jealous, former President and CEO of the NAACP

Li Lu, leader of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989

James Meredith, Civil Rights Movement figure

Michael Mukasey, former Attorney General

Jerrold Nadler, Congressman and Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee

David Paterson, former Governor of New York

Paul Robeson, civil and human rights activist, writer

Pixley ka Isaka Seme, founder of the African National Congress

Faye Wattleton, former President of the Center for the Advancement of Women

Science & Technology

James F. Albaugh, Boeing Commercial Airplanes former President and CEO

Edwin Armstrong, inventor of FM radio

Arthur Ashkin, Scientist and 2018 Nobel Laureate

Jamey Barbas, Chief Engineer of Mario Cuomo Bridge

Peter DiMaggio, lead engineer for construction on US Embassies in Moscow, Berlin, and Baghdad

Amelia Earhart, aviator

Shawn Edwards, CTO Bloomberg

Stephen Jay Gould, paleontologist, evolutionary biologist

Herman Hollerith, founder of IBM

Gregory H. Johnson, Air Force

Robert Millikan, Nobel physicist

James Scapa, Chairman and CEO of Altair Engineering, Inc

Harvey Seeley Mudd, engineer, founder of Harvey Mudd College

William Barclay Parsons, chief engineer of the first line of the NYC subway

Michael Pupin, inventor of the Pupin coil

Hyman Rickover, inventor of the nuclear submarine

Eugene H. Trinh, first Chinese-Vietnamese American astronaut in Space

George Yancopoulos, President & Chief Scientific Officer Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.


Lou Gehrig, baseball Hall of Famer

Vitas Gerulaitis, tennis champion

Sandy Koufax, baseball Hall of Famer

Nzingha Prescod, Olympic fencer

William Milligan Sloane, founded US Olympic Committee

Erinn Smart, Olympic fencer

Cristina Teuscher, Olympic gold-medal swimmer

US Presidents

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Barack Obama

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt

Two students walking behind Hamilton Hall

Now it’s your turn.

A Columbia education can lead to astonishing places—including taking your own place on this distinguished list. But you don’t have to be Amelia Earhart or Alan Greenspan to find yourself among the greats. More recent Columbia grads are out there shaping the world of tomorrow right now. 

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