Columbia University Notable Alumni

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Discover the notable alumni of Columbia University. The list includes people like Alexander Hamilton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Warren Buffett, B. R. Ambedkar & James Franco. This list of notable alumni is loosely sorted by popularity and has people from different domains of life, such as writers, intellectuals & academics, media personalities, film & theater personalities and miscellaneous etc.
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 1 
Barack Obama
(44th President of the United States (2009-2017))
Barack Obama
233
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: August 4, 1961
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Height: 6'2" (188 cm)
 2 
Alexander Hamilton
(American Revolutionary and Founding Father of the United States)
Alexander Hamilton
87
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: January 11, 1755
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Charlestown, Saint Kitts and Nevis
Died: July 12, 1804
 3 
Jake Gyllenhaal
122
Birthdate: December 19, 1980
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 4 
Warren Buffett
(Chairman & CEO of Berkshire Hathaway)
Warren Buffett
63
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: August 30, 1930
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 5 
Alicia Keys
(Singer, Actress)
Alicia Keys
52
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: January 25, 1981
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hell's Kitchen, New York, United States
 6 
Amelia Earhart
(The First Female Aviator to Fly Solo Across the Atlantic Ocean)
Amelia Earhart
43
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: July 24, 1897
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Atchison, Kansas, United States
Died: January 5, 1939
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
 7 
Neil deGrasse Tyson
(American Astrophysicist, Planetary Scientist and Science Communicator)
Neil deGrasse Tyson
39
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: October 5, 1958
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States
Height: 6'2" (188 cm)
 8 
Lauryn Hill
(One of the Greatest Rappers Of All Time)
Lauryn Hill
26
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: May 26, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States
Height: 5'3" (160 cm)
 9 
Anna Paquin
(Canadian-born New Zealand Actress and the Second Youngest Winner in Oscar History)
Anna Paquin
56
Birthdate: July 24, 1982
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Winnipeg, Canada
Height: 5'5" (165 cm)
 10 
Isaac Asimov
(Writer Best Known for His Hard Science Fiction Novels and Professor of Biochemistry)
Isaac Asimov
37
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: January 2, 1920
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Petrovichi, Russia
Died: April 6, 1992
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 11 
B. R. Ambedkar
(One of the Architects of the Indian Constitution)
B. R. Ambedkar
100
Listed In: Lawyers & Judges
Birthdate: April 14, 1891
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Madhya Pradesh, India
Died: December 6, 1956
 12 
Raymond Burr
6
Birthdate: May 21, 1917
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New Westminster, Canada
Died: September 12, 1993
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 13 
Thomas Sowell
(Economist)
Thomas Sowell
19
Birthdate: June 30, 1930
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Gastonia, North Carolina
 14 
Madeleine Albright
(64th United States Secretary of State (1997 - 2001))
Madeleine Albright
21
Birthdate: May 15, 1937
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Smíchov, Prague, Czechia
Died: March 23, 2022
Height: 4'10" (147 cm)
 15 
Langston Hughes
(One of the Earliest Innovators of the Literary Art Form Called Jazz Poetry)
Langston Hughes
22
Listed In: Activists
Birthdate: February 1, 1901
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Joplin, Missouri, United States
Died: May 22, 1967
 16 
J. D. Salinger
(American Author Best Known for His Novel 'The Catcher in the Rye')
J. D. Salinger
19
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: January 1, 1919
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States
Died: January 27, 2010
 17 
Jack Kerouac
(Novelist and Poet Best Known for His Novels: ‘On the Road', ‘The Dharma Bums’ and ‘Big Sur’)
Jack Kerouac
15
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: March 12, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Lowell, Massachusetts, United States
Died: October 21, 1969
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 18 
Milton Friedman
(American Economist & Nobel Prize Winner in Economic Sciences Who Extolled the Virtues of a Free Market Economic System)
Milton Friedman
16
Birthdate: July 31, 1912
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: November 16, 2006
Height: 5'3" (160 cm)
 19 
Yo-Yo Ma
(American Grammy-Award Winning Cellist )
Yo-Yo Ma
12
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: October 7, 1955
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
 20 
Timothée Chalamet
(American Actor Known for His Films: 'Call Me by Your Name' and 'Beautiful Boy')
Timothée Chalamet
160
Birthdate: December 27, 1995
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States
 21 
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
(Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (1993 - 2020))
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
52
Listed In: Lawyers & Judges
Birthdate: March 15, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: September 18, 2020
 22 
James Franco
(One of the Most Versatile Actors of His Generation, Known for His Films: '127' and 'James Dean')
James Franco
74
Birthdate: April 19, 1978
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Palo Alto, California, United States
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 23 
Kate McKinnon
(Actress, Comedian)
Kate McKinnon
42
Birthdate: January 6, 1984
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Sea Cliff, New York, United States
Height: 5'3" (160 cm)
 24 
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
(Actor and Director Known for His Films: '500 Days of Summer' and '50/50')
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
24
Birthdate: February 17, 1981
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 25 
Allen Ginsberg
(Best Known for His Poem ‘Howl’, Which is One of the Most Significant Products of the 'Beat Movement')
Allen Ginsberg
10
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: June 3, 1926
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States
Died: April 5, 1997
 26 
Emmy Rossum
(Actress, Singer)
Emmy Rossum
14
Birthdate: September 12, 1986
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Sunset Park, New York, United States
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
 27 
Katie Holmes
(Actress )
Katie Holmes
33
Birthdate: December 18, 1978
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Toledo, Ohio, United States
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 28 
Julia Stiles
(Best Known for Her Role as 'Nicky Parsons' in the 'Bourne' Film Franchise)
Julia Stiles
19
Birthdate: March 28, 1981
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
 29 
Brian De Palma
(Film director, Screenwriter)
Brian De Palma
4
Birthdate: September 11, 1940
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 30 
Kathryn Bigelow
(Film director)
Kathryn Bigelow
2
Birthdate: November 27, 1951
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: San Carlos, California, United States
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 31 
Julia Garner
(Actress)
Julia Garner
21
Birthdate: February 1, 1994
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Riverdale, New York, United States
Height: 5'5" (165 cm)
 32 
John Jay
(1st Chief Justice of the United States (1789 - 1795))
John Jay
6
Listed In: Lawyers & Judges
Birthdate: December 12, 1745
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: May 17, 1829
 33 
Zora Neale Hurston
(Folklorist, Anthropologist)
Zora Neale Hurston
13
Birthdate: January 7, 1891
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Notasulga
Died: January 28, 1960
 34 
Sidney Lumet
(Prolific Filmaker of the Modern Era Known for Eliciting Strong Performances From His Cast Members)
Sidney Lumet
1
Birthdate: June 25, 1924
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: April 9, 2011
 35 
Maggie Gyllenhaal
(Actress, Filmmaker and Daughter of Filmmakers Stephen Gyllenhaal and Naomi Achs)
Maggie Gyllenhaal
27
Birthdate: November 16, 1977
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lower East Side, New York, United States
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 36 
Famke Janssen
(Dutch Actress Known for Her Role in the Netflix Original Series 'Hemlock Grove')
Famke Janssen
17
Birthdate: November 5, 1964
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Amstelveen, Netherlands
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 37 
Carl Rogers
(Psychologist)
Carl Rogers
16
Birthdate: January 8, 1902
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Oak Park
Died: February 4, 1987
 38 
James Gunn
(Director Known for His Films: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, ‘Scooby-Doo’ and ‘The Suicide Squad’)
James Gunn
20
Birthdate: August 5, 1966
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 39 
Christy Turlington
(American Model and Humanitarian)
Christy Turlington
3
Listed In: Fashion
Birthdate: January 2, 1969
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Walnut Creek, California, United States
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 40 
Brian Dennehy
7
Birthdate: July 9, 1938
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bridgeport, Connecticut, United States
Died: April 15, 2020
Height: 6'3" (190 cm)
 41 
Ed Harris
(Film actor)
Ed Harris
6
Birthdate: November 28, 1950
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Englewood, New Jersey, United States
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 42 
Alan Greenspan
(Economist)
Alan Greenspan
9
Birthdate: March 6, 1926
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Washington Heights, New York, United States
 43 
Federico García Lorca
(Spanish Poet, Playwright, and Theatre Director.)
Federico García Lorca
3
Birthdate: June 5, 1898
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Fuente Vaqueros, Spain
Died: August 19, 1936
 44 
Jenny Slate
(Actress & Comedian)
Jenny Slate
13
Birthdate: March 25, 1982
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Milton, Massachusetts, United States
Height: 5'4" (163 cm)
 45 
Casey Affleck
(Actor and Filmmaker Best Known for His Academy-Award Winning Film 'Manchester by the Sea')
Casey Affleck
22
Birthdate: August 12, 1975
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Falmouth, Massachusetts, United States
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 46 
Robert Kraft
(Businessman, Chairman and CEO of the 'Kraft Group')
Robert Kraft
12
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: June 5, 1941
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brookline, Massachusetts, United States
Height: 5'7" (170 cm)
 47 
Neil Gorsuch
(Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States)
Neil Gorsuch
14
Listed In: Lawyers & Judges
Birthdate: August 29, 1967
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Denver, Colorado, United States
 48 
Margaret Mead
(Cultural Anthropologist)
Margaret Mead
3
Birthdate: December 16, 1901
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US
Died: November 15, 1978
 49 
Richard Thomas
(Best Known for His Role as ‘John-Boy Walton’ in the TV Series ‘The Waltons’)
Richard Thomas
3
Birthdate: June 13, 1951
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 50 
George Segal
(American Actor Who Became Popular in the 1960s and 1970s for Playing Both Dramatic and Comedic Roles)
George Segal
22
Birthdate: February 13, 1934
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York, New York City, United States
Died: March 23, 2021
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
The Columbia University, located in Manhattan, New York, is one of the most preferred study destinations for students from around the world. Unlike many famous universities, around 20 graduate schools are affiliated to this esteemed institution. The ‘Columbia University’ also has study centers in different cities across the world, such as Mumbai, Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro and Nairobi. A degree from this notable university adds a lot of value to an individual’s profile, especially in terms of job prospects. This famous university has been an alma mater to several noteworthy celebrities, known for their outstanding accomplishments. The list of notable alumni includes Former American president Barack Obama, acclaimed writer J.D Salinger, actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Joseph Gordon Levitt. Barack Obama is one of the finest examples of a great leader to many, immensely praised for his remarkable achievements during his tenure as the President. Several former students are also patrons who try doing their bit for the betterment of the university. If sources are to be believed, American business honcho and media baron John Kluge is one such alumnus who donated a whopping $ 600 Million to his alma mater, which speaks volumes about his love for this famous university. Not many know that the ‘Columbia University’ plays a pivotal role in conducting the prestigious ‘Pulitzer Prize’ ceremony every year. Here’s a list of notable Columbia University students who have reached great heights and have been a source of inspiration for many people across the world.