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. 

Explore Recent Alumni Outcomes