Yale alumni are well represented in the ranks of U.S. presidents, including four of the last six: Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush, William Clinton, and George
W. Bush. Beginning with Peace Corps founder and Democratic
vice-presidential nominee Sargent Shriver in 1972, at least one Yale
graduate has run on either the Democratic or Republican ticket in every presidential election for the past three decades, and
both the Democratic and Republican candidates for the 2004 presidential election were Yale
graduates: George W. Bush and John Kerry. In the 2004 Democratic primaries, Joe Lieberman and Howard Dean were also Yale
- George Akerlof (B.A. 1962). Economics, 2001
- Raymond Davis. Physics, 2002.
- John F. Enders (B.A. ca. 1921). Physiology or Medicine, 1954.
- John Fenn (Ph.D. ca. 1940). Chemistry, 2002.
- Murray Gell-Mann (B.S. 1948). Physics, 1954.
- Alfred G. Gilman. Physiology or Medicine, 1994.
- Ernest Lawrence (Ph.D. 1925). Physics, 1939. Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory & Lawrence
Berkeley National Laboratory are named for him.
- Joshua Lederberg (Ph.D. 1948). Physiology or Medicine,
- David Lee (Ph.D. 1959). Physics, 1996.
- Sinclair Lewis (B.A. 1908). Literature, 1930.
- Lars Onsager (Ph.D. 1935). Chemistry, 1968.
Richards. Physiology or Medicine, 1956.
- William Vickrey (B.S. 1935). Economics, 1996.
- George Whipple (A.B. 1900). Physiology or Medicine, 1934.
- Eric Wieschaus (Ph.D.).
Physiology or Medicine, 1995.
Technology & innovation
- Francis S. Collins
(Ph.D.), director, Human Genome Project
- Lee De Forest (B.S. 1896, Ph.D 1899), inventor of the triode
- W. Edwards Deming (Ph.D. 1928), "total quality management"
- Irving Fisher (B.A. 1888, Ph.D. 1891), economist, "father of monetarism"
- J. Willard Gibbs (1858, Ph.D. 1863), mathematician, physical
chemist, thermodynamicist, known for Gibb's Phenomenon
- Grace Hopper (Ph.D. 1934), inventor of COBOL programming language
- Art Laffer (B.A. 1963), economist, best known for the "Laffer Curve"
- Paul D. MacCready,
"Engineer of the Century," won the Kremer Prize for first human-powered flying machine, pioneer in solar-powered flight
- Saunders MacLane (B.A. 1930), mathematician, one of the
founders of "category theory"
- Jordan Mechner (B.A. 1985), videogame developer, created Prince of
- Samuel Morse (1810), telegraph pioneer, inventor of Morse code
- Harry Nyquist (Ph.D. 1917), engineer known for the Nyquist theorem
- John Ousterhout, creator of the Tcl programming language
- Ronald Rivest (B.S. 1969), computer scientist, the "R" in the
RSA cryptography, 2002 Turing Award receipient
- George B. Selden, Awarded the first United States patent for an automobile in 1895
- Benjamin Spock (B.A. 1925), child psychology guru
- Eli Whitney (1792), inventor of the cotton gin
Founders, entrepreneurs, & CEO's
- Robert M. Bass, (B.A.
1971) President, Keystone, Inc.
- Roland W. Betts,
investor, film producer, owner of Chelsea Piers, lead owner in George W. Bush’s
Texas Rangers partnership
- John Thomas
Daniels, founder, Archer Daniels Midland
- Theodore Forstmann, co-founder & senior partner of
Forstmann Little & Co., member of the Forbes 400
- Robert Glaser, (B.A., M.A.) founder & CEO, RealNetworks
- Bing Gordon, co-founder,
executive vice-president, and chief creative officer of Electronic
- Roberto Goizueta, former CEO, Coca-Cola (namesake of Emory University's business school)
- Briton Hadden, co-founder of TIME Magazine.
- Charles B.
Johnson, chairman, Franklin Templeton Investments
- Mitch Kapor, founder, Open Source Applications Foundation, investor (Kapor Enterprises), former founder
& CEO, Lotus Software
- Herbert Kohler, chairman
& president, Kohler Company
- Clarence King, founder of the US Geological Survey (USGS)
- Edward Lampert, founder & chairman, ESL Investments (hedge
fund), bought Kmart, now acquiring Sears
- Henry Luce (B.A. 1920), co-founder of TIME Magazine.
- John Franklyn
Mars, CEO, Mars, Incorporated (as in Mars & M&M
- Robert Moses, middle 20th century New York City construction czar
- Gifford Pinchot, founder of the United States Forest Service
- Wilbur Ross, investor, steel
magnate, member of the Forbess
- Stephen A. Schwarzman, co-founder & CEO of the
Blackstone Group, member of the Forbes 400
- Robert Sargent Shriver III (Law),
part-owner of the Baltimore Orioles
- Timothy Perry Shriver, CEO of the Special Olympics
- Frederick W. Smith, founder & CEO, FedEx
- Harold Stanley, founder, Morgan Stanley
Thalheimer, founder & CEO of The Sharper Image
- Juan Trippe, founder & CEO, Pan
- Frederick E. Weyerhaeuser, founder, Weyerhaeuser
- Richard H. Brodhead, president of Duke University
- Alan Dershowitz, law professor at Harvard University
Dickinson, founder of Princeton University
- Daniel Coit Gilman, first president of Johns Hopkins University
- William Rainey
Harper, first president of the University of
- Lawrence Lessig (J.D. 1989), copyright activist, law professor at
- Reinhold Niebuhr (DIV 1914), author, theologian
- Camille Paglia (Ph.D.), author of Sexual Personae
- Andrew Dickson White, first president of Cornell University
- Yung Wing (1854), first Chinese person to receive an American college
Presidents & Vice Presidents of the United States
- George H. W. Bush (B.A. 1948), President of the United States
- George W. Bush (B.A. 1968), President of the United States
- Richard B. Cheney*, Vice President of the United States
- William Jefferson Clinton (J.D.), President
of the United States (1993-2001)
- Gerald Ford (J.D.), President of the United States (1974-1977)
- William Howard Taft, President of the United States
(1909-1913), Chief Justice of the United States (1921-1930)
Law & politics
- Dean Acheson, former Secretary of State
- Cecilia Altonaga, federal judge
- John Ashcroft, U.S. Attorney General (2001-2005), U.S. Senator (1993-2001), Governor of Missouri (1985-1993)
- Les Aspin, Secretary of Defense, U.S. Congressman
- Roger Baldwin, U.S. Senator, Governor
- David Boies, famous lawyer (Microsoft antitrust, Bush v. Gore, Napster v.
- David Boren, U.S. Senator
- L. Paul Bremer, ambassador
- William F. Buckley, political pundit
- McGeorge Bundy, former Cabinet official
- Edmund Gerald "Jerry" Brown, Jr. (Law), Mayor of Oakland, California (1999-present), Governor of California (1975-1983)
- John Calhoun, U.S. Vice President, U.S. Senator
- Karl Carstens, President of Germany (1979-1984)
- Hillary Clinton (J.D.), U.S. Senator, New York (2001-present)
- Sir Daryl Dawson, former justice of the High Court of Australia
- Mark Dayton, U.S. Senator, Minnesota (2000-present)
- Howard Dean, Governor of Vermont (1991-2003)
- William H. Donaldson, Chairman of the S.E.C. (2003-present), co-founder of
Donaldson, Lufkin &
- David Gergen, political pundit, worked as an advisor for the Republican and Democratic Presidential administrations of
Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton
- Porter Goss (B.A. 1960), CIA director, Florida congressman
- Steven Hadley, (J.D. 1972),
National Security Adviser
- Nathan Hale, patriot & martyr, "I only regret that I have but one
life to lose for my country."
- James Jeffords, U.S. Senator, Vermont (1989-present)
- John Kerry, U.S. Senator, Massachusetts (1985-present)
- Tony Knowles, Governor of Alaska (1994-2002)
- Paul Krugman, respected economist, Princeton professor, NY Times
- Joseph Lieberman, U.S. Senator, Connecticut (1989-present)
- Gary Locke, Governor of Washington (1997-2005)
- Edwin Meese, former United States Attorney General
- John Negroponte, Ambassador to Iraq (2004-present)
- Marvin Olasky, conservative pundit
- George Pataki, Governor of New York (1995-present)
- Clark T. Randt, Jr., U.S. ambassador to China (2001-
- Sargent Shriver, main organizer and first director of the
Peace Corps. Husband of Eunice Kennedy, and father of Maria Shriver (news
journalist and wife of Governor Arnold
- Potter Stewart, Supreme Court Justice (1958-1991)
- Robert Taft, Governor of Ohio
- Clarence Thomas (J.D. 1974), Supreme Court Justice
- Byron White, Supreme Court Justice (1962-1993)
- Pete Wilson, Governor of California (1991-1999)
- Ernesto Zedillo, President of Mexico (1994-2000)
History, literature, art & music
- Stephen Vincent Benet, Pulitzer Prize-winning author
- Hiram Bingham, rediscovered Machu Picchu, Peru
- Harold Bloom, American literary critic
- James Fenimore Cooper, author of The Last of the Mohicans
- Briton Hadden, co-founder of Time magazine
- Charles Ives (1898), composer, classical music.
- John Knowles, author of A Separate Peace
- Maya Lin (B.A. 1981, M.Arch 1986, honorary Ph.D 1987), architect, best known for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- Henry R. Luce, co-founder of TIME magazine
- David McCullough, famous historian, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, best known for his books on American Presidents Harry S. Truman and John
- Camille Paglia (Ph.D. 1974), cultural critic and feminist
- Cole Porter, composer
- Samantha Power (B.A.
1992), winner of the Pulitzer Prize for the book A Problem from
Hell: America and the Age of Genocide
- Mark Rothko* (enrolled 1921-23), painter
- Eero Saarinen (B.Arch, 1934), architect
- Robert A. M. Stern, architect, current dean of Yale School
- Sergio Troncoso, author of The Nature of Truth, a novel
about righteousness and evil, Yale and the Holocaust.
- Garry Trudeau, Doonesbury cartoonist
- Noah Webster, author of the dictionary of the English language
- Thornton Wilder, playwright, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for the play Our
- Naomi Wolf, feminist
- Tom Wolfe (PhD), journalist, author of The Right Stuff and The Bonfire of the Vanities
- Bob Woodward, journalist and co-author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book All the President's Men
- Walter Camp (B.A. 1880), the "Father of American Football"
- Theo Epstein (B.A. 1995), became Red Sox general manager at age 28, youngest in Major League Baseball history
- Sarah Hughes (Class of 2008), gold medalist in 2002 Olympic figure skating
- Sada Jacobson (Class of 2006), bronze medalist in 2004 Olympic women's saber
- Frank Shorter (B.A. 1969) gold medal (1972) and silver medal (1976),
- Angela Bassett, actress
- Jennifer Beals, actress, best known for Flashdance
- Henry Bean, screenwriter/director
- Jordana Brewster, actress, plays Mia in The Fast and the Furious
- Bruce Cohen, film producer, won an Academy Award for American Beauty
- Michael Cimino, Academy Award-winning director
- Jennifer Connelly*, Academy Award-winning actress
- Claire Danes, actress
- Jodie Foster (B.A. in literature, magna cum laude), Academy Award-winning
actress and director
- Paul Giamatti (MFA, 1989), actor. Played "Harvey Pekar" in
American Splendor (2003).
- David Alan Grier, actor, comedian
- Kathryn Hahn, actress
- George Roy Hill, Academy Award-winning director
- Holly Hunter, Academy Award-winning actress
- Elia Kazan*, Academy
- Phil LaMarr (B.A. 1989), actor, comedian. As "Marvin", got head shot off
by John Travolta in Pulp Fiction
- Ron Livingston, actor. Best known for Office Space
- Frances McDormand (MFA), actress
- Paul Newman, Academy
- Edward Norton (B.A. 1991), actor
- Bronson Pinchot (B.A. 1981), actor
- Vincent Price, actor
- Gene Siskel (B.A. 1967), movie critic
- Todd Solondz, director Welcome to the
Dollhouse & Happiness
- Oliver Stone*, Academy Award-winning director
- Meryl Streep (MFA), Academy Award-winning actress
- John Turturro (MFA), actor
- Sam Waterston, actor
- Sigourney Weaver (MFA), actress
- Jennifer Westfeldt, actress, screenwriter (Kissing Jessica
- Dick Cavett, TV personality, nominated eleven times for the Emmy Award, and won three times.
- Enrico Colantoni, actor, played womanizing fashion photographer
"Elliot DiMauro" on Just Shoot Me and "Mathesar" in the movie
- Anderson Cooper, CNN anchor of Anderson Cooper 360°
- Bill Corbett (DRA 1989),
actor, writer, played Crow T. Robot in Mystery Science Theater 3000
- David Duchovny (M.A. English literature), actor in The X-Files
- Dick Ebersol, president of NBC
Sports division, helped launch Saturday Night
- Sara Gilbert, actress, best known for her portrayal as the daughter
"Darlene Conner" on the sit-com Roseanne
- Michael Gross (DRA 1973), actor, best known as
"Steven Keaton" (the father of Michael J. Fox's character) on
- Leo Laporte*, host of The Screen Savers on TechTV
- Ari Meyers (BA 1991), actress, played Emma McArdle on Kate & Allie
- Chris Noth (MFA), plays "Mr. Big" on Sex and the City
- Stone Phillips, television anchor for NBC
- Robert Picardo, the holographic doctor on the television show Star Trek: Voyager
- David Hyde Pierce, actor, best known as "Dr. Niles Crane" on
- Steve Skrovan, executive
producer of Everybody Loves Raymond
- Ben Stein (J.D.), economist, host of Win Ben Stein's Money
- Ming Tsai (B.A. 1986), chef on East Meets West with Ming Tsai on
- Margaret Warner,
co-anchor on The NewsHour with Jim
Lehrer, PBS' weekday news
- Henry Winkler (MFA 1970), actor, best known as "Fonzie" on Happy Days
- "Charles Montgomery Burns", Class of 1914, the owner of the Springfield Nuclear Powerplant in the hit cartoon television series The Simpsons
- "Linus Larrabee", protagonist in the movie Sabrina, played by Humphrey
Bogart in 1954 and Harrison Ford in 1995.
- "Dink Stover", hero of Owen Johnson's 1911 Stover at Yale
- "Rory Gilmore", main character of Gilmore Girls
- "Tom Buchanan", antagonist of F. Scott Fitzgerald's
The Great Gatsby
- "Nick Carraway", narrator of F. Scott Fitzgerald's
The Great Gatsby
- "Dr. Niles Crane", Frasier's brother in the award winning comedy series Frasier. The actor who plays him, David Hyde
Pierce is a real life alumnus.
(* attended but did not graduate from Yale)