Harvard University Notable Alumni: Top 10 Famous Personalities

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Harvard University Notable Alumni: List of Prominent Personalities

Ranked 4th amongst the top 10 universities in the world by QS World Rankings 2024, Harvard University is known for academic excellence and extensive research. As an Ivy League school, the university has a rich tradition of producing global leaders, scientists, and entrepreneurs like JF Kennedy, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and Natalie Portman. According to the Harvard Alumni Association, there are over 400,000+ alumni members across the world. Keep reading to find out more about the Harvard University Notable Alumni and where they are now!

Harvard University Notable Alumni 

Harvard graduates have made substantial and creative contributions to society, the arts and sciences, business, and national and international politics for more than three and a half centuries. Eight US presidents, 188 surviving billionaires, 79 Nobel laureates, seven Fields Medal winners, nine Turing Award laureates, 369 Rhodes Scholars, 252 Marshall Scholars, and thirteen Mitchell Scholars are among Harvard’s alumni. Harvard students and graduates have won ten Academy Awards, 48 Pulitzer Prizes, 108 Olympic medals (including 46 gold medals), and founded a slew of prominent businesses around the world.

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Also Read: National University of Singapore Notable Alumni

Top 10 Famous Notable Alumni of Harvard University

Let’s take a look at the top 10 famous notable alumni of Harvard University:

John F. Kennedy

harvard university notable alumni
Source: Biography.com

JFK, or John Fitzgerald Kennedy, was an American politician who served as the 35th President of the United States from 1961 until his assassination towards the conclusion of his third year in office. He went to study at Harvard University and he majored in government and international relations.

Barack Obama

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

Barack Hussein Obama II is an American politician and served as the 44th president of the United States of America from 2009-2017. He is a member of the Democratic party, USA and was the first African-American president of the United States of America. He graduated from the Harvard Law School where he was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review.

Natalie Portman

Source: Popsugar

Natalie Portman was born in Israel and is an American actress. She has had a long and successful career in movies, starring in both blockbusters and indie films and winning multiple honors, including an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, and two Golden Globe Awards. After graduating from high school, the actress enrolled at Harvard University in 1999 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology, which she completed four years later. She received her first Oscar nomination for Close a year after graduating.

Matt Damon

harvard university notable alumni
Source: Refinery29

Matt Damon is an American actor, producer, and screenwriter. He is one of the highest-paid actors of all time, with films in which he has starred grossing more than $3.88 billion in North America, making him one of Forbes’ most bankable celebrities. At age 18 he landed a small part in Mystic Pizza (1988) and also enrolled in Harvard University as an English major.

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Source: Biography

Neil deGrasse Tyson is a renowned American astronomer, planetary scientist, author, and science communicator. Among other schools, Tyson attended Harvard University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Columbia University. He worked as a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University from 1991 to 1994. Tyson graduated from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1980.

Conan O’Brien

harvard university notable alumni
Source: Wikipedia

Conan Christopher O’Brien is an American comedian, writer, podcaster, and producer. With a degree in History and Literature from Harvard University, he went on to work on the sets of The Simpsons and host his American talk show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien. O’Brien earned a bachelor’s degree in American history from Harvard University. He was twice elected president of The Harvard Lampoon, a venerable parody publication (the only other person to hold that distinction was humorist Robert Benchley in 1912).

Tommy Lee Jones

harvard university notable alumni
Source: Biography.com

Tommy Lee Jones is a famous American actor and film director. In 1993, he won Best Supporting Actor for his work as US Marshal Samuel Gerard in the thriller The Fugitive, for which he was nominated for four Academy Awards. Jones earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with honors in 1969, and his final thesis focused on “the mechanics of Catholicism” in Flannery O’Connor’s works. He studied dramatist Robert Chapman at Harvard.

Michael Bloomberg

harvard university alumni
Source: Business Insider

Michael “Mike” Rubens Bloomberg is an American novelist, politician, and philanthropist. Bloomberg L.P., of which he is the major owner and co-founder, is his company. From 2002 to 2013, he served as the mayor of New York City, and in 2020, he ran for President of the United States as a Democrat. He earned his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Harvard Business School in 1966.

W. E. B. Du Bois

Source: openDemocracy

Born in the United States, William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was a sociologist, socialist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, writer, and editor. Du Bois enrolled as a junior at Harvard College and graduated with his second bachelor’s degree in 1890. In 1895, he graduated from Harvard University with a Ph.D., making him the first African American to do so.

Margaret Atwood

Source: Wikipedia

Margaret Eleanor Atwood was born in Canada and is a poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, teacher, environmental activist, and inventor. She is the author of The Handmaid’s Tale, a popular book that has been adapted into a television series. With a Woodrow Wilson grant, she graduated from Harvard University’s Radcliffe College. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English (honours) with majors in philosophy and French in 1961. In 1961, Atwood began graduate studies at Radcliffe College of Harvard University, with a Woodrow Wilson fellowship.

Also Read: University of Toronto Notable Alumni

Harvard University Notable Alumni

Here are the Harvard University Notable Alumni members across diverse fields like Business, Science, technology, mathematics, medicine, psychology etc

Science, Technology, Medicine, and Mathematics

Roger Adams Pioneering organic chemist
Howard H. Aiken Harvard Mark I designer and computer scientist
James Gilbert Baker Astronomer, optician
John Bartlett Minister, founder of Massachusetts General Hospital
Manjul Bhargava Mathematician, Fields Medal winner
Craig Call Black Paleontologist
Francine D. Blau Economist at the National Bureau of Economic Research, the first woman to receive the IZA Prize in Labor Economics
Hilary BlumbergProfessor of Psychiatric Neuroscience
Dan Bricklin Creator of VisiCalc
Fred Brooks Turing Award laureate


Bill Ackman CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management
Darius Adamczyk CEO of Honeywell
William McPherson Allen CEO of Boeing
Adam Aron CEO of AMC Theatres
J. Paul Austin CEO of The Coca-Cola Company
Charles Francis Adams Jr. President of Union Pacific Railroad
Marcus Agius Chairman, Barclays PLC
A. Charles BaillieCEO of Toronto-Dominion Bank
Steve Ballmer President and CEO of Microsoft
Jim Balsillie CEO of Research in Motion


Sophia Akuffo Ghana’s Chief Justice
Solomon Areda Waktolla Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration and Deputy Chief Justice of Ethiopia’s Federal Supreme Court.
Mary Arden, Lady Arden of Heswall Judge of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Richard Reeve Baxter Justice of the International Court of Justice
Kwamena Bentsi-Enchill Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana
Harry Blackmun Supreme Court Justice of the United States
Peter Blanchard Supreme Court Justice of New Zealand
Louis Brandeis Supreme Court Justice of the United States
William J. Brennan Supreme Court Justice of the United States
Stephen Breyer Supreme Court Justice of the United States


John Abizaid General of the United States Army and Commander of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM)
Douglas Campbell Soldier, World War I ace
Erle Cocke Jr.Officer in the United States Army during World War II, recipient of the Silver Star Medal, and National Commander of the American Legion (1950–51).
George Downing English soldier, diplomat
Peter FantaU.S. Navy admiral
Manning Force General of the Union Army, Medal of Honor recipient, judge, and author
David GurfeinU.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel, and CEO of the nonprofit organization United American Patriots
Pierpont M. Hamilton U.S. Army Air Forces general in World War II, Medal of Honor recipient
Walter Newell HillMedal of Honor recipient and general in the United States Marine Corps.
Henry S. Huidekoper Union Army officer, Medal of Honor recipient


Jill Abramson Former executive editor of the New York Times
Jacqueline Alemany CBS News White House Reporter
Christian AlfonsiAuthor of the book Circle in the Sand, which is about the Gulf War and the Iraq War.
Jonathan Alter Former senior editor of Newsweek
Melissa Block Host of NPR’s All Things Considered
Ben Bradlee Washington Post executive editor during Watergate scandal
Warren T. Brookes Columnist for the Detroit News who specialises in economics reporting.
James Brown Sportscaster
Leslie T. ChangJournalist (former Wall Street Journal correspondent in Beijing, China; author of Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China)
Susan Chira The foreign editor of The New York Times since 2004


Horatio Alger Jr. Novelist
Tahmima Anam Novelist
Michael J. Arlen Writer, journalist, critic
Margaret Atwood Novelist
Peter Benchley Novelist
Robert BenchleyComedian
John Berendt Writer
Robert Bly Poet
Marita Bonner Harlem Renaissance writer, essayist, poet
Bill BranonNovelist

Film, Theater, and Television

Tatyana Ali Actress, singer
Darren Aronofsky Film director and screenwriter
Ronald Bass Screenwriter
S. N. Behrman Playwright, screenwriter
Roberts Blossom Actor, poet
Andy Borowitz Comedian, film actor
Josh Brener Actor
Amy Brenneman Actress
Bill BrownExperimental filmmaker
Nestor Carbonell Actor

Art, Architecture, and Engineering

Barbara BestorArchitect
Anna Campbell Bliss Artist and architect
Charles Bulfinch Architect
Rika BurnhamMuseum Educator, dancer, and PROSE Award winner
Geoffrey Chadsey Artist
Kate CordsenPhotographer, Artist
Allan Crite Artist
Hardy Cross Civil engineer
Joseph Goldyne Artist, printmaker, curator
Gulgee Pakistani artist and certified engineer are known for his paintings and Islamic calligraphy.


Craig Adams NHL player, Pittsburgh Penguins
Eugene Belisle Two-time gold medalist at the 1896 Summer Olympics
Matt Birk NFL centre
Brian Burke NHL general manager
Dick Button Figure skater, two-time Olympic gold medallist, five-time world champion, and seven-time national champion from 1948 to 1954.
Ellery Harding Clark Silver medalist in fencing at the 2008 Summer Olympics
Emily Cross Silver medalist in fencing at 2008 Summer Olympics
Clifton Dawson NFL player, Indianapolis Colts
Jillian Dempsey Ice hockey player
Eli Dershwitz 2015 Saber Junior World Champion, a competitor for the US in fencing at the 2016 Summer Olympics

The Three Lies of Harvard

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Who are the famous female Harvard graduates?

The following are the famous female Harvard graduates:
Natalie Portman
Jane N. Fraser
Amy E. Hood
Mary C. Erodes

Who are the notable Indian Harvard alumni?

The following are the notable Indian Harvard alumni:
Ashish Nanda
Suhel Seth
Jayant Sinha

Who are famous Harvard dropouts?

The following are the famous Harvard dropouts:
Mark Zuckerberg
Bill Gates
Robert Frost

Want to join the prestigious Harvard University Notable Alumni Association? If that is the case, then we can help you with that. Consider joining a free counselling session with Leverage Edu if you plan to study abroad.

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