Notable Alumni

Activism and Public Service

  • Norman F. Bates 1865 (deceased): recipient of Medal of Honor in the Civil War
  • Bruce Friedrich ’96: executive director of The Good Food Institute (GFI) and founding partner of New Crop Capital (NCC)
  • John Garang de Mabior ’69 (deceased): former vice-president of Sudan and past commander-in-chief of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement
  • Louise Rosenfield Noun ’29 (deceased): activist for women’s rights and president, Iowa Civil Liberties Union
  • Carolyn Swartz Bucksbaum '51: Leader in cultural and civic affairs; Trustee, Grinnell College; Vice President of the National Public Radio Foundation; Former Board Member, Des Moines Register; Former Chair of Trustees, Grinnell College

Arts and Entertainment

  • Emily Bergl ’97: actor in film, television, and on Broadway; including TV’s Desperate Housewives, Southland, and Shameless
  • Gary Cooper ’26 (deceased): Oscar-winning actor
  • Peter Coyote ’64: stage, film, TV actor, writer, and director, Wild Dog Productions
  • Hallie Flanagan Davis 1911 (deceased): pioneer of experimental theatre and director, the Federal Theatre Project of the Works Progress Administration; first woman to win a Guggenheim
  • Herbie Hancock ’60: Oscar- and Grammy-winning musician and composer, Hancock Music
  • Pat Irwin ’77: musician/composer, B-52s
  • Amy Johnson ’85: acclaimed soprano and actress
  • Walter Koenig ’58: actor, director, screenwriter, and producer (Star Trek’s Chekov)
  • Thomas Meglioranza ’92: acclaimed baritone
  • Ian Roberts ’87: actor and founder, Upright Citizens Brigade comedy troupe; cast member of Comedy Central’s Reno 911
  • Richard K. Schmiechen ’69 (deceased): Academy Award–winning filmmaker and producer, The Times of Harvey Milk
  • Joan Wilson Sullivan ’50 (deceased): Emmy award winner and former producer of Masterpiece Theatre
  • Kumail Nanjiani '01: stand up comic; actor known for roles in: Franklin and Bash, the Colbert Report, Michael and Michael have issues, and Silicon Valley; star and Academy Award-nominated screenwriter for The Big Sick
  • F. Hudson Miller '80: Sound Editor (Film), earned Academy Awards for "Best Sound Editing" on The Hunt for Red October and Pearl Harbor and an Oscar Nomination for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Vice President, Motion Picture Sound Editors; Board Member, Motion Picture Editors Guild

Authors

  • May-Lee Chai ’89: novelist, My Lucky Face and The Girl from Purple Mountain
  • David Feldman ’71: writer of the Imponderables book series
  • Amy Clampitt ’41 (deceased): internationally acclaimed poet
  • James Norman Hall 1910 (deceased): co-author, Mutiny on the Bounty
  • Curtis Harnack ’49: author and former president of the School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center
  • Rebecca Hill ’66: prize-winning author of Blue Rise, author of Among Birches, and co-author of Killing Time in St. Cloud
  • Edward Hirsch ’72: award-winning poet; president, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
  • George McJimsey ’58: professor emeritus of history at Iowa State University, author of Harry Hopkins: Ally of the Poor and Defender of Democracy and The Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  • David Mura ’74: writer, memoirist, poet, and performance artist; author of Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire
  • Patricia O’Conner ’71: former editor, The New York Times Book Review and author of Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English
  • Sam Tanenhaus ’77: editor, The New York Times Book Review; 1997 National Book Award finalist for the biography Whittaker Chambers; author, The Death of Conservatism
  • Michele Weiner-Davis ’73: psychotherapist and author of books on solution-based brief therapy, including Divorce Busting and Fire Your Shrink: Do-It-Yourself Strategies for Changing Your Life and Everyone in It
  • Ray Young Bear ’76: Native American poet and educator

Business

  • Nordahl Brue ’67: co-founder, Bruegger’s Bagels; chair, Franklin Foods and PKC Corp.
  • Lucia McMillan Cleveland ’74: former owner/operator, The Spice Hunter Inc.
  • Andrew Cooper ’70: principal, CooperKatz & Co.
  • Henry Cornell ’76: managing director, Goldman Sachs & Co.
  • Allison Davis ’61: manager, The Davis Group; Chicago attorney and real estate developer
  • Vernon Faulconer ’61: president, Vernon E. Faulconer Inc.
  • David Fisher ’59: chief executive officer, G.W. Onthank Co.
  • Shelley Floyd ’72: chief administrative officer, Intel Corporation
  • Ronald Gault ’62: managing director, J.P. Morgan Securities Inc.
  • Kihwan Kim ’57: international chair, Pacific Economic Cooperation Council; chair, Seoul Financial
  • Forum; senior international adviser, Goldman Sachs
  • James Maxmin ’64: founder and chair, Global Brand Development
  • Paul McCulley ’79: partner, PIMCO, the world’s largest fixed income investment management company
  • Vance Opperman ’65: president, Key Investment Inc.
  • John Price Jr. ’60: president and CEO, Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh
  • Joseph Rosenfield ’25 (deceased): trustee, General Growth Companies
  • Joel Spiegel ’78: former vice-president responsible for website technology, Amazon.com

Education

  • Mary Sue Wilson Coleman ’65: president, University of Michigan
  • George Drake ’56: former president, Grinnell College
  • Michael Hager ’65: president and CEO, San Diego Natural History Museum
  • Wallace Loh ’65: president, University of Maryland; former executive vice president and provost, University of Iowa
  • David Marker ’59: chief academic officer, Pacific Oaks College
  • David Maxwell ’66: president, Drake University
  • Kathryn Jagow Mohrman ’67: executive director, Hopkins-Nanjing Center, John Hopkins University
  • Paul Risser ’61 (deceased): former chancellor, Oklahoma State System of Higher Education
  • John “Fritz” Schwaller ’69: president, State University of New York-Potsdam
  • Irma McClaurin '73: president, Shaw University

Government and Politics

  • Paul Appleby 1913 (deceased): deputy director, U.S. Bureau of the Budget, FDR administration
  • Thomas Cole ’71: member, U.S. House of Representatives, State of Oklahoma, and fourth-leading Republican leader in the House
  • Chester Davis 1911 (deceased): director, Agricultural Adjustment Administration, FDR administration
  • Harry Hopkins 1912 (deceased): chief presidential adviser to FDR; architect of the New Deal
  • Lorelei Kelly ’88: national security specialist and senior associate, Henry L. Stimson Center
  • Florence Stewart Kerr 1912 (deceased): assistant commissioner of the WPA and the Federal Works Agency, FDR administration
  • Keith Kozloff '73: director, Office of Accountability for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation
  • Jodie Levin-Epstein ’72: deputy director, Center for Law and Social Policy
  • George Moose ’66: former assistant secretary of state for African affairs, U.S. Department of State
  • Thomas Railsback ’54: member, U.S. House of Representatives, 1967–83
  • A. Gregory Thielmann ’72: former intelligence analyst, U.S. Department of State
  • Sheryl Walter ’78: director, Office of Information Programs and Services, U.S. Department of State
  • K.C. Wu ’23 (deceased): governor of Taiwan Province, 1949–53
  • Joan Zimmerman ’71: senior analyst, John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Review Board

Journalism and Media

  • Kenneth Adelman ’67: diplomat, political writer, policy analyst, and William Shakespeare historian; director of arms control and disarmament agency, Reagan administration
  • Hal Fuson Jr. ’67: retired executive vice-president and chief operating officer, The Copley Press
  • Gary Giddins ’70: writer, filmmaker, and lecturer, formerly of the Village Voice
  • David Heath ’81: senior reporter, Huffington Post Investigative Fund
  • Robert Hodierne ’68: Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist; associate professor of journalism, University of Richmond
  • Eric Johnson ’88: director, Internews Europe
  • Adam Kempenaar ’97: host of popular movie review podcast, “Filmspotting”
  • Caroline Little ’81: chief executive officer, Guardian News and Media, North America; leader of the Newspaper Association of America
  • Marileta Sawyer Robinson ’65: senior editor, Highlights For Children
  • John Ruane ’76: Emmy-winning producer, formerly of NBC Sports
  • David Schechter ’77: senior national editor, CNN
  • Roberta Smith ’69: art critic, The New York Times
  • Cynthia Wagner ’78: managing editor, The Futurist Magazine

Law

  • Kenneth “J-C” E. Labowitz ’71: attorney and pioneer of the law regarding AIDS and HIV infection
  • Andrew Sacks ’81: environmental and complex litigation litigator; handled the largest single land-owner verdict ($1 billion) in US history
  • Joseph Nye Welch 1914 (deceased): counsel for the Army during Army-McCarthy hearings
  • David White ’90: national executive director, Screen Actors Guild
  • Henry Wingate ’69: chief district judge, Southern District of Mississippi

Medicine

  • Richard Anderson ’67: ophthalmologist and surgeon, University of Utah School of Medicine; developed surgical procedures for reconstructive and cosmetic surgery of the eyelids and orbital region
  • Vincent Anku ’65: hematologist and oncologist; author, Health of the Nation
  • John Canady ’80: plastic surgeon, otolaryngologist, and orthopedic surgeon, University of Iowa Hospitals; director of cleft lip and palate service, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
  • Jeffrey Greenberg ’80: faculty member and attending surgeon, Indiana Hand Center
  • Katherine Sutherland Hauser ’71: reproductive endocrinologist, McFarland Clinic; fertility specialist for the parents of the McCaughey septuplets
  • I. Craig Henderson ’63: medical hematologist and oncologist; renowned breast cancer clinician and researcher, University of California-San Francisco Medical Center
  • Randall Morgan Jr. ’65: orthopedic surgeon; executive director, Cobb/National Medical Association Health Institute
  • Rein Saral ’65: senior associate director, Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University School of Medicine and School of Public Health
  • Randy Seeley ’89: professor of psychiatry, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine; director, Obesity Research Center
  • Dennis Spencer ’67: chair of the department of neurosurgery, Yale University School of Medicine; included in the book The Best Doctors in America
  • Jessie Ternberg ’46: pioneering woman surgeon and former chief of pediatric surgery, Children’s Hospital of the Washington University Medical Center
  • Eric Whitaker ’87: executive vice president, strategic affiliations, and associate dean of community-based research, University of Chicago Medical Center

Retail and Fashion

  • Hugh Acton ’50: designer, artist, and creator of iconic modern furniture
  • Susan Klein ’63: artist and jewelry designer
  • Elena Rubinova ’78: sweater designer
  • Richard Von Maur Jr. ’55: co-chair, Von Maur department stores

Science and Mathematics

  • Nathaniel Borenstein ’80: scientist, programmer, inventor, and entrepreneur; distinguished engineer, IBM Lotus Division
  • Oliver Buckley 1909 (deceased): president and director, Bell Labs, 1940–51; led the company to develop the transistor, a pivotal invention that transformed communication
  • Thomas Cech ’70: 1989 Nobel laureate in chemistry; former president, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • Dean Martin ’55: director, Institute for Environmental Studies, University of South Florida
  • Robert Noyce ’49 (deceased): co-inventor of integrated circuit; co-founder, Intel Corp.
  • Clair Patterson ’43 (deceased): professor of geochemistry, California Institute of Technology; pioneer in the elimination of lead pollution
  • Roberta Smith Reuben ’57: director, biochemical genetics, Merck and Co. and Dohme research laboratories; pioneer of genetic research
  • Arthur Risser Jr. ’60 (deceased): general manager, San Diego Zoo
  • Stephen Rockwood ’65: chief technology officer, Science Applications International Corp.
  • George Simon ’55: retired senior scientist, space physics division, National Solar Observatory
  • Gordon Stacey ’79: professor of astronomy, Cornell University, and principal investigator of NASA’s Kuiper Airborne Observatory’s Wide-Field Infrared Camera
  • Henry Wilhelm ’68: co-founder, president, and director of research, Wilhelm Imaging Research; expert on print and photo permanence

Sports

  • Marvin Clein ’54: former chair, University of Denver’s physical education and sports science departments; authority in kinesiology; coach of top athletes including Olympic figure-skating champion Dorothy Hamill
  • Erik Kocher ’84: project designer of athletic facilities, principal/owner, Hastings & Chivetta Architects
  • Judy Mahle Lutter ’61: co-founder and former president, The Melpomene Institute for Women’s Health Research
  • F. Dayle “Hap” Moran ’26 (deceased): professional football player, New York Giants, 1929–33
  • Veronika Platzer ’87: former member, U.S. Rowing Team; coach, Olympic rower Ken Jurkowski
  • Norman Sonju ’60: founder and former chief operating officer/general manager, Dallas Mavericks (NBA)
  • Morgan Taylor ’26 (deceased): Olympic gold medalist, 400-meter hurdles, Paris 1924
  • Christine Thorburn ’92: physician and Olympic cyclist, 2004 and 2008

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