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Notable Alumni

Arts & Entertainment

  • Dale Chihuly (MS '67), glass artist
  • Joan Cusack ('84), actress ("Raising Helen," "The School of Rock")
  • Michael Feldman ('70), host of public radio show "Whad'Ya Know?"
  • Kit Reuter Foss ('79, MA '82), opera singer
  • W. Jerome "Jerry" Frautschi ('56), donor of $205 million to create Madison's Overture Center
  • Lorraine Hansberry (x'52), playwright, author of "Raisin in the Sun"
  • bell hooks (MA '76), author, poet
  • Jane Kaczmarek ('79), actress ("Malcolm in the Middle")
  • Steve Miller (x'67), singer
  • Joyce Carol Oates (MA '61), novelist
  • Ben Sidran ('67), jazz pianist
  • Boz Skaggs (born William Royce, x'66), singer
  • Daniel J. Travanti ('63), Emmy Award-winning actor ("Hill Street Blues")
  • Butch Vig ('80), musician, Garbage
  • Eudora Welty ('29), Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist
  • Tom Wopat (x'74), TV ("The Dukes of Hazzard") and Tony Award nominated Broadway performer
  • Frank Lloyd Wright (x1890), architect
  • David Zucker ('70) and Jerry Zucker ('72), producers and directors ("Naked Gun", "Airplane")


  • Kenneth Behring ('51), former owner, Seattle Seahawks
  • Steven Bornstein ('74), president and CEO, NFL Network
  • Chris Chelios (x'83), NHL player, Detroit Red Wings
  • Ron Dayne (x'00), 1999 Heisman Trophy winner, NFL player
  • Suzy Favor Hamilton (x'91), three-time Olympian in track
  • Michael Finley (x'95), NBA player, San Antonio Spurs
  • Devin Harris (x'05), NBA player, New Jersey Nets
  • Dany Heatley ('04), NHL player, Ottawa Senators
  • Phil Hellmuth Jr. (x'86), professional poker player, youngest winner of the World Series of Poker
  • Mark Johnson ('94), NHL player, 1980 Olympic gold medalist ("Miracle")
  • D. Wayne Lukas ('57, MS '60), thoroughbred horse trainer
  • Buddy Melges ('51), America's Cup skipper
  • Allan "Bud" Selig ('56), commissioner, Major League Baseball
  • Judith Sweet ('69), first woman president of the NCAA
  • Troy Vincent (x'92), NFL player, 2002 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year


  • Paul J. Collins ('58), vice chair, Citigroup, London
  • Thomas Falk ('80), president and CEO, Kimberly-Clark Corp.
  • Aaron Kennedy (MBA '89), founder, chair and president, Noodles and Co.
  • Kay Smith Koplovitz ('67), founder, USA Network
  • John P. Morgridge ('55), chair Cisco Systems
  • Albert O. "Ab" Nicholas ('52, MBA '55), founder and chair, Nicholas Co., Inc.
  • Arthur C. Nielsen Sr. ('18), and Arthur C. Nielsen Jr. ('41), founder and former chair of A.C. Nielsen Co. (TV ratings)
  • Tadashi Okamura (MBA '73), president and CEO, Toshiba Corp.
  • Tom Pyle (MBA '63), chair and president, Pyle Group; former chair and CEO, Rayovac Corp.
  • Lee R. Raymond ('60), chairman and CEO, Mobil Exxon
  • Duane Zitzner ('70), executive vice president, Hewlett-Packard; president, Hewlett-Packard Personal Systems Group
  • Carol Bartz ('71), President and CEO of the Internet services company, Yahoo!


  • Joanne Creighton ('64), president, Mt. Holyoke College, Massachusetts
  • Phillip Dubois (MS '74, PhD '78), president, University of Wyoming
  • Peter Hoff ('66), president, University of Maine, Orono
  • Alan Merten ('63, PhD '70), President, George Mason University, Virginia
  • Mark Nordenberg (JD '73), chancellor, University of Pittsburgh
  • John Wiley (MS '65, PhD '69), former chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • James Wright (MS '66), president, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire
  • Justice Shirley Abrahamson (SJD '62), chief justice, Wisconsin Supreme Court
  • Nathan S. Heffernan ('42, LLB '48), chief justice (retired), Wisconsin Supreme Court
  • Richard B. Lowe III ('64), justice, New York Supreme Court

Journalism & Media

  • Stephen E. Ambrose ('57, PhD '63), author, biographer, historian
  • Rita Braver ('74), national reporter, CBS News
  • William Broad (MA '77), Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, New York Times
  • Jane Brody (MS '63), health columnist, New York Times
  • William Evjue (x'06), founder of The Capital Times
  • Peter Greenberg ('72), chief travel correspondent, Travel Channel; travel editor, NBC Today Show
  • Jeff Greenfield ('64), news analyst, CNN
  • David Maraniss (x'71), Pulitzer Prize-winning associate editor, Washington Post, author
  • Rudy Martzke ('64), former sports columnist, USA Today
  • Edwin Newman ('40), author, journalist
  • Leonard Shapiro ('68), sports columnist, Washington Post
  • Greta Van Susteren ('76), journalist and host of Fox News Channel's "On the Record"


  • Iajuddin Ahmed (MS '58, PhD '62), president of Bangladesh
  • Dick Cheney (PhD x'68), vice president of the United States
  • Lynne Vincent Cheney (PhD '70), wife of vice president Dick Cheney; former head, national Endowment for Humanities
  • Dave Cieslewicz ('81), mayor of Madison, Wis.
  • James Doyle ('67), Governor of Wisconsin
  • Russ Feingold ('75), U.S. Senator
  • Herb Kohl ('56), U.S. Senator; owner, Milwaukee Bucks
  • Robert M. La Follette (1879), former Wisconsin governor and congressman, leader of the Progressive movement
  • Gaylord Nelson (LLB '42), former U.S. Senator and founder of Earth Day
  • Tommy Thompson ('63, JD '66), former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services
  • Yeshy Zimba ('75, MA '76), prime minister, Bhutan


  • John Bardeen ('28, MS '29), winner, two Nobel Prizes in physics
  • GŁnter Blodel (PhD '67), winner, 1999 Nobel Prize in medicine
  • Laurel Clark ('83, MD '87), astronaut, space shuttle Columbia
  • Hector DeLuca (MS '53, PhD '55), UW professor, pioneer in synthesizing Vitamin D
  • Jack St. Clair Kilby (MS '50), inventor; winner, Nobel Prize in physics
  • Charles Lindbergh (x'24), aviator who completed the first solo trans-Atlantic flight
  • Jim Lovell ('50), astronaut, Apollo 13 mission (portrayed by Tom Hanks in the movie)
  • Alan MacDiarmid (MA '52, PhD '53), winner, Nobel Prize in chemistry
  • John Muir (x1863), naturalist, father of national park system
  • Brewster Shaw ('68, MS '69), astronaut, space shuttle Columbia; former director, Space Shuttle Operations, NASA
  • Henry Steenbock (MS '10, PhD '16), professor, discovered and patented Vitamin D irradiation method

x indicates year person would have graduated had he or she not left the university

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