Harvard University Notable Alumni

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Harvard University Notable Alumni

Ranked 3rd amongst the top 5 universities in the world by QS World Rankings 2022, 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, 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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Top 10 Famous Notable Alumni of Harvard 

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.

Mark Zuckerberg

Source: BBC

Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is an American media magnate, internet entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is best known for co-founding Facebook and serving as chairman, CEO, and controlling shareholder of the corporation. By the time Zuckerberg started studies at Harvard in 2002, he had already established a “reputation as a programming genius,” according to The New Yorker. He was a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi and Kirkland House and studied psychology and computer science.

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 own 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 (honors) 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.

Science, Technology, Medicine, and Mathematics

Name Notability
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 Blumberg Professor of Psychiatric Neuroscience
Dan Bricklin  Creator of VisiCalc
Fred Brooks  Turing Award laureate

Business

Name Notability
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 Baillie CEO of Toronto-Dominion Bank
Steve Ballmer  President and CEO of Microsoft
Jim Balsillie  CEO of Research in Motion

Law

Name Notability
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

Military

Name Notability
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 Fanta U.S. Navy admiral
Manning Force  General of the Union Army, Medal of Honor recipient, judge, and author
David Gurfein U.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 Hill Medal of Honor recipient and general in the United States Marine Corps.
Henry S. Huidekoper  Union Army officer, Medal of Honor recipient

Journalism

Name Notability
Jill Abramson  Former executive editor of the New York Times
Jacqueline Alemany  CBS News White House Reporter
Christian Alfonsi Author 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. Chang Journalist (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

Literature

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

Film, Theater, and Television

Name Notability
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 Brown Experimental filmmaker
Nestor Carbonell  Actor

Art, Architecture, and Engineering

Name Notability
Barbara Bestor Architect
Anna Campbell Bliss  Artist and architect
Charles Bulfinch  Architect
Rika Burnham Museum Educator, dancer, and PROSE Award winner
Geoffrey Chadsey  Artist
Kate Cordsen Photographer, 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.

Athletics

Name Notability
Craig Adams  NHL player, Pittsburgh Penguins
Eugene Belisle  Coxswain at 1928 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  Two-time gold medalist at 1896 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

Want to join the prestigious Harvard University Notable Alumni Association? Get in touch with our Leverage Edu experts and build an unstoppable application to get into your dream university! Call us right now at 1800572000 to schedule your free consultation!

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