The University Of Wisconsin–Madison Notable Alumni

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University of Wisconsin–Madison Notable Alumni List

The University of Wisconsin–Madison is a public land-grant research university. The institution is the largest employer in Wisconsin and a substantial contributor to the state’s economy. UW–Madison, was founded when Wisconsin became a state in 1848. It was Wisconsin’s first public university. The University is now its largest and oldest public university. In 1866, it was designated as a land-grant institution. UW–Madison has 20 schools and colleges in it, with 30,361 undergraduate and 14,052 graduate students enrolled in 2018. It offers 136 undergraduate majors, 148 master’s degree programs, and 120 doctorate degrees. With nearly 21,600 academics and employees.

Must Read: University of Wisconsin Madison Acceptance Rate

University of Wisconsin–Madison Alumni

Nobel Laureates

  • Joseph Erlanger (faculty) & Herbert Gasser – Physiology, Medicine: Study of the differentiated functions of individual nerve threads
  • John Bardeen- Physics: Discovery of the transistor effect
  • Joshua Lederberg (faculty) – Physiology, Medicine: Study of bacteria genetics
  • Edward Tatum -Howard Temin (faculty)- Physiology, Medicine: Retroviruses and cancer research
  • Saul Bellow – Literature 
  •  John Van Vleck-  Physics – Theories of magnetism and conductivity and contributions to the development of electronic solid-state circuitry
  •  Theodore Schultz – Economics: Economics of developing countries
  • Har Gobind Khorana (faculty)- Physiology, Medicine: Interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis
  • Stanford Moore- Chemistry: Research on the structure of ribonuclease, a complex protein
  •   John Bardeen – Physics: Research on superconductivity


  • Alan Ameche –  Heisman trophy winner
  • Kenneth Behring – Former owner, Seattle Seahawks
  • Chris Borland – Prematurely left a promising NFL career because of concerns about CTE; is now an advocate for those with the disease
  • Steven Bornstein – Former president and CEO, National Football League
  • Ron Dayne – Heisman trophy winner
  •  Harold “Bud” Foster – Longtime UW basketball coach
  • Suzy Favor Hamilton – Track star; An Olympian who has taken part in 1992, 1996, and 2000 Olympics
  •  Eric Heiden – Olympic speed skater
  • Phil Hellmuth – professional poker player, the youngest winner of the World Series of Poker
  • Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch – UW football star


  • Carolyn “Biddy” Martin – Former chancellor
  • Kit Saunders Nordeen – First UW women’s athletic director
  • Frederick Jackson Turner – Historian who devised the “frontier thesis” about the American West
  • David Ward – Former chancellor, UW–Madison
  • Helen C. White – Pioneering English professor at UW–Madison
  • John Wiley – Former chancellor, UW–Madison

 Arts and Entertainment

  •  Jim Abrahams – Filmmaker, founder of the Charlie Foundation for Ketogenic Therapies
  • Mason Adams – Emmy Award-winning TV actor (Lou Grant)
  •  Don Ameche – Actor (Cocoon)
  •  Iris Apfel – Fashion icon
  • Charlie Berens – creator of the Manitowoc Minute, a comedic take on the news with a Wisconsin twist
  • Andrew Bergman – Film Director/Producer and Writer (It Could Happen to You, Blazing Saddles)
  •  Chester Biscardi – Composer
  • Jerry Bock – Co-composer of Fiddler on the Roof and Fiorello!
  • Phyllis Bramson – Artist
  •  Carol Helen Beule – Costume Designer who won an Emmy Award for ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’

Aviators and Astronauts

  • Laurel Clark – Astronaut, Columbia space shuttle
  • Roger G. DeKok – Astronaut
  • Fred E. Gutt – Aviator
  • Marcella Hayes – First African American woman pilot in the U.S. Armed Forces
  •  Walter Edwin Lees – Aviator
  • Charles Lindbergh – Aviator – He did not graduate from the college though
  • Nathan J. Lindsay – Astronaut
  • Jim Lovell – Astronaut who was aboard Apollo 13 mission
  • Robert Campbell Reeve – Founder of Reeve Aleutian Airways
  • Richard V. Rhode – Wright Brothers Medal winning Aeronautical engineer(1937), NACA and NASA


  •  Virgil Abloh – Founder of Off-White, artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s men’s wear
  • Carol Bartz – Former chair, president and CEO of Yahoo! Inc.
  • Kenneth Behring – Former owner, Seattle Seahawks
  • Oscar C. Boldt – Chair, Boldt Group
  • Viveca Chan – CEO of WE Marketing Group, China’s first international ad agency
  • Jerome A. Chazen – Founder and chair, Chazen Capital Partners; former CEO, Liz Claiborne Inc.
  • C. K. Chow – Former chair of Hong Kong Exchange and Clearing, which owns the Hong Kong Stock Exchange
  • Paul J. Collins – Former vice-chair, Citigroup, London
  • Susan A. Davis – Chair and CEO, Susan Davis International (public relations), Washington, DC
  •  Kenny Dichter – CEO, Wheels Up; 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient
  • Marshall Erdman – Architect and builder, protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright 


  • Nazik Al-Malaika – Iraqi Poet
  • Kevin J. Anderson – Author
  • Nuala Archer – Poet
  • Alice Elinor Bartlett – Author
  •  Lynne Cheney – Writer, Author and former Second lady of the USA
  • Eleanor Clymer – Children’s Author
  •  Betsy Colquitt – Poet
  •  Jane Cooper – Poet
  • Richard Dauenhauer – Poet
  • August Derleth – Writer, Editor, H. P. Lovecraft Anthropologist, and Arkham House Publishing’s Founder
  • Esther Forbes – Author and winner of PulitzerPrize
  • Genevieve Foster – Author
  • Zona Gale – Author and Playwright

News, Journalism, and Broadcasting

  • Roy Adams – Canadian Journalist
  • Lynsey Addario – Photojournalist
  • Mary Agria – Journalist/Author
  • Irene Osgood Andrews – Labor Journalist
  •  Jim Armstrong – Sports writer, The Denver Post
  • Robert L. Bartley – Former Wall Street Journal Editor
  •  Ira Basen – Producer, CBC Radio
  •  Lowell Bergman – Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist
  • Deborah Blum – Journalist and Author who has won Pulitzer Prize
  • Walt Bogdanich – New York Times Editor
  • Rita Braver – CBS News national Reporter

Law and Politics

  • Shirley Abrahamson – Former chief justice, Wisconsin Supreme Court
  • William Bablitch – Former justice, Wisconsin Supreme Court
  • Ann Walsh Bradley – Justice, Wisconsin Supreme Court
  • Louis Butler – First African American Wisconsin Supreme Court justice
  • William Callow – Retired Wisconsin Supreme Court justice
  • Barbara B. Crabb – Chief U.S. district judge (semi retired), Western District of Wisconsin
  •  Judith Dobkin- Prosecuting attorney, Chicago Justice Department Strike Force
  • James Doyle – Former attorney general, State of Wisconsin
  • Nathan S. Heffernan – Retired Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief justice 
  • Richard B. Lowe – Former justice, New York Supreme Court


  •  Howard G. Bunker- U.S. Air Force major general
  • Robert Whitney Burns –  U.S. Air Force lieutenant general
  •  Chester Victor Clifton-  Jr., U.S. Army major general
  • James B. Currie –  U.S. Air Force major general
  •  Clinton W. Davies –  U.S. Air Force brigadier general
  • Gary L. Ebben – U.S. Air Force brigadier general
  • Samuel Fallows – Union Army brigadier general
  • Gregory A. Feest –  U.S. Air Force major general
  • Richard W. Fellows –  U.S. Air Force brigadier general
  •   Irving Fish – U.S. Army major general


  • Frank Joseph Dewane – Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Venice in Florida
  • W. Patrick Donlin –  Knights of Columbus’ Supreme Advocate
  • Michael S. Heiser – Christian author
  • Florence E. Kollock – Universalist minister and lecturer
  • Marion Murdoch – a Christian minister
  • Ronald Myers – Baptist minister
  • Paul J. Swain –  Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls

Science, Technology, and Engineering

  • Amy Aiken – Winemaker
  • Howard Aiken – A Pioneer of Computer Science and awarded Edison Medal
  • Loyal Blaine Aldrich – Astronomer
  •  Ruth F. Allen – Plant Pathologist
  •  Gene Amdahl – Computer Scientist, Amdahl’s Law
  • Elda Emma Anderson – Physicist
  • John Atanasoff – Inventor of the Electronic Digital Computer
  • Chris Bangle – Automobile Designer, Former Chief of Design for the BMW Group
  • Florence Bascom (1862–1945) – Geologist
  •  Ekkehard Bautz (born 1933) – Molecular Biologist
  •  Calvin Beale – Demographer

Fictional Alumni and Faculty

  • Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino) – 1999 movie The Insider (film)
  • Chris (Will Arnett) – MRI tech on TV series Parks and Recreation, says he went to UW for both his undergrad and graduate work.
  •  Harold “Harry” Crane –  Head of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce’s television department in Mad Men
  • Jack and Maddie Fenton – Scientist Parents of Danny Phantom
  •   Laurie Forman – Character on the situation comedy That ’70s Show (did not graduate)
  • Will Hayes (Ryan Reynolds) – 2008 movie Definitely, Maybe
  • Vladimir “Vlad” Masters, a/k/a Vlad Plasmius – Supervillain and Foe of Danny Phantom
  • Donna Moss – White House staffer in the television series The West Wing (dropped out halfway through to support her boyfriend as he went through medical school)
  • Alison Parker (Melrose Place) (Courtney Thorne-Smith) – Melrose Place, the TV series which ran from 1992 to 1999.
  • President Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas)- Taught at the University of Wisconsin in the 1995 movie The American President

Want to study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison then call our experts on 1800 572 000 and join the successful and notable alumni members of the University of Wisconsin-Madison!

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