List of 25 Famous Columbia University Notable Alumni

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Famous Columbia University Notable Alumni

Columbia University located in the heart of America, New York City is one of the prestigious universities and also a member of the Ivy League. It is the 5th oldest university in America, established in 1754. It is also the second university with the most number of Nobel prize laureates. Columbia University was also awarded the Pulitzer Prize award for achievements in newspaper, magazine, and online journalism, literature, and musical composition. Being a part of Columbia University provides you with a platform to access an exceptional alumni network. From Nobel prize winners to Bollywood celebrities, let’s explore some of the famous Columbia University notable alumni.

Top 25 Columbia University Notable Alumni

  1. Barack Obama
  2. Art Garfunkel
  3. Jake Gyllenhaal
  4. Amanda Peet
  5. Julia Stiles
  6. Alicia Keys
  7. B.R. Ambedkar
  8. Amelia Earhart
  9. Sara Ali Khan
  10. Casey Affleck
  11. Isaac Asimov 
  12. Kathryn Bigelow
  13. Warren Buffett 
  14. Chelsea Clinton
  15. Lou Gehrig 
  16. Allen Ginsberg
  17. Zora Neale Hurston 
  18. Jenny Slate
  19. Timothée Chalamet
  20. Federico García Lorca
  21. Lauryn Hill
  22. Anna Paquin
  23. Hunter S. Thompson
  24. Dr. Ruth Westheimer 
  25. Gene Roddenberry

Do you know? The MGM Studio’s Lion was inspired by Columbia’s Mascot. 

Barack Obama – First African-American President of the USA

Barack Obama created history by becoming the first African American president of the USA. From introducing new financial laws to improving relations with countries around the world, Obama worked very hard to make his nation proud across the globe. He introduced reforms for saving the environment, and climate change, and encouraged women entrepreneurship. Barack Obama is one of the iconic Columbia University’s notable alumni. He started his higher education in Political Science in the year 1979 at Occidental College and later transferred to Columbia University. He pursued Political Science with a specialization in International Relations and English literature.

Art Garfunkel- Greatest Singer of All Time

Art Garfunkel is a famous American singer, poet, and actor. His duo albums with Paul Simon gained popularity around the globe. He has received 8 Grammys and a People’s Choice award. Art Garfunkel enrolled as an architecture student initially and later rejoined again as an art student. He has performed with many of Colombia’s societies and is also part of Columbia’s Acappella group and performed in different venues. Art Garfunkel dropped out a year later and returned in 1965 and enrolled in BA Art History at Columbia University.

Credits: Tim Bracken

Do you Know? Columbia University was the first university to grant MD in America.

Jake Gyllenhaal- Oscar-Nominated Actor

Do you remember the Mysterio from Spider-Man: Far From Home? Everyone in the audience hated his character but at the same time were astonished by the performance of Jake Gyllenhall. It is not easy to make the audience fall in love with a villain. He attended Columbia University and enrolled in Eastern Religions and Philosophy but dropped out to focus on his acting career. His mother and sister were also attendees of Columbia University.

Amanda Peet- Writer & Actor

Another actor who attended and is next on the list of Columbia University’s notable alumni is Amanda Peet started her acting career with a small part in television and debuted in Animal Room. Other than acting, Amanda Peet is also involved in social work and was a spokeswoman for Every Child By Two. This campaign promotes the importance of vaccination in children. Some of the famous movies include The Whole Nine Yards, Changing Lanes, and Igby Goes Down. She studied American History at Columbia University.

Also Read: University of Toronto Notable Alumni

Julia Stiles- Queen of Teen Movies

Born and brought up in New York, Julia Stiles started acting at the age of 11. She has received many awards over the years for her role in the Down to You (2000), Dexter series. She received the MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance for Down to You and also a Golden Globe award for Dexter. Known for her role in 10 Things I Hate About You Kat Stratford, Julia Stiles is an English literature graduate from Columbia University. 

Do you know? After Harvard, Columbia is the second university with Nobel Prize winners.

Alicia Keys- Winning 15 Grammy Awards

Being a part of an Ivy League institution is not a walk-on cake and getting a full scholarship on top is truly unbelievable. One such person is Alicia Keys. Alicia Ket is an American singer-songwriter, and pianist. She was an extraordinary child from the start and started composing from the age of 12 and was signed by a record label at the age of 15.  She was enrolled in Columbia University with a fully-funded scholarship but dropped out one year later and enrolled in Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan for a major in Choir.

Credits: Alicia Keys

B.R. Ambedkar- Inspired Dalit Buddhist Movement

B.R. Ambedkar is one of the greatest leaders of India. B.R. Ambedkar popularly known as Babasaheb Ambedkar was an Indian Jurist, Politician, and Social Reformer. He campaigned against social discrimination and untouchability in India. He was also the first law minister of India after independence. He moved to America for studies at the age of 22 to pursue postgraduate studies. He studied MA in Economics at Columbia University. 

Credits: Siddhartha Chabuskwar

Amelia Earhart- First Female American Aviator

Amelia Earhart was a female who inspired millions of women. The first female to fly across the Atlantic Ocean was not just an aviator but also an author. Her book featuring her flying experiences was the best-selling novel in America. The famous American aviator was enrolled at Columbia University for medical studies. She was also a social activist and encouraged women to reject constrictive social norms, inspiring others to join the aviation field as well. She was truly a symbol of Girl Power. 

Do you know? Columbia University was originally called King’s College.

Sara Ali Khan- New Star of Bollywood

Sara Ali Khan stole many hearts with her performance in Kedarnath. The Pataudi princess was focused on her studies from the beginning and excelled in academics. Being a part of the Ivy League was always her dream and it came true when was accepted into Columbia University. She was enrolled in History and Political Science. Sara was able to graduate early because of her credit score. 

Also Read: National University of Singapore Notable Alumni

Casey Affleck- Academy Award Winner

The Oscar-winning director, Cassey Affleck is next on the list of Columbia University notable alumni. Started in the industry as a child actor and later turned into a director popular for his leading role in the supernatural drama film- A Ghost Story. Cassey Affleck transferred to Columbia University from George Washington University. He was enrolled in the physics and astronomy course.

Credits: Oscars

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Q.1 Who was the famous Indian alumni of Columbia University?

Answer: Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, Former Minister of Law and Justice of India, has studied MA in Economics at Columbia University.

Q.2 What is Columbia University famous for?

Answer: Columbia University is renowned for its academic values and world-class researchers.

Q.3 Is Columbia as prestigious as Harvard?

Answer: Both Harvard and Columbia University are prestigious and renowned for their excellence in academics and research.

These were some of the Columbia University notable alumni that the world knows about. They have achieved great success in their respective fields and have made sure to give their best through their hard work and determination. For the latest updates around study blogs, you can follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and also subscribe to our newsletter. Leverage Edu wishes you all the best for all your future endeavours. 

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