Cornell University Notable Alumni

Discover the notable alumni of Cornell University. The list includes people like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Ann Coulter, Ratan Tata, Bill Nye & Bill Maher. This list of notable alumni is loosely sorted by popularity and has people from different domains of life, such as writers, scientists, intellectuals & academics, media personalities and film & theater personalities etc.
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 1 
Bill Nye
(Best Known as the Host of the Science TV Show ‘Bill Nye the Science Guy’)
Bill Nye
40
Listed In: Engineers
Birthdate: November 27, 1955
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

Bill Nye is an American mechanical engineer, television presenter, and science communicator. He is known for hosting the live-action science program Bill Nye the Science Guy. He is credited with inventing a hydraulic resonance suppressor tube, which is used on the Boeing 747 airplanes. He also helped develop MarsDial, a sundial that became part of the Mars Exploration Rover missions.

 2 
Kurt Vonnegut
(Writer Known For His Satirical and Darkly Humorous Novels)
Kurt Vonnegut
28
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: November 11, 1922
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Died: April 11, 2007

Science-fiction author Kurt Vonnegut is best remembered for the novel Slaughterhouse-Five, which became a New York Times bestseller. The Hugo Award-winner had also fought against the Germans in World War II and expressed his anti-war and atheist views through his works, which also include short stories, plays, and autobiographical works.  

 3 
Toni Morrison
(Novelist)
Toni Morrison
45
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: February 18, 1931
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lorain, Ohio
Died: August 5, 2019
Author, editor, and Princeton professor Toni Morrison is best remembered for her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Beloved, part of a trilogy. Some of her other notable works include The Bluest Eye and Song of Solomon. She received the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature. She also wrote several children’s books and plays.
 4 
Ratan Tata
(Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons)
Ratan Tata
52
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: December 28, 1937
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Surat

Ratan Tata is a well-known Indian industrialist and the former charman of Indian multinational conglomerate Tata Sons. His reign as chairman was marked by acquisitions of iconic global brands, such as Tetley, Jaguar Land Rover and Corus by the Tata Group. Ratan Tata was instrumental in turning Tata Group from a largely India-centrist group into a global business.

 5 
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
(Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (1993 - 2020))
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
86
Listed In: Lawyers & Judges
Birthdate: March 15, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: September 18, 2020

The first Jewish woman to serve on the US Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. An advocate for gender equality and women's rights, she spent the majority of her legal career championing these causes. She remained professionally active until her death in 2020.

 6 
Christopher Reeve
(Best Known for Playing the Titular Role in the Film 'Superman' & its Three Sequels)
Christopher Reeve
33
Birthdate: September 25, 1952
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: October 10, 2004

Christopher Reeve had a flying start to his acting career as he played the iconic Superman in four films. Unfortunately, he became a quadriplegic after suffering an accident at an equestrian competition. Despite the setback, he continued contributing to the film industry and also founded the Christopher Reeve Foundation as part of his charitable work.

 7 
Harry Chapin
(Singer Best Known for His Folk Rock & Pop Rock Songs)
Harry Chapin
3
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: December 7, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Greenwich Village, New York, United States
Died: July 16, 1981
Grammy-winning folk rock and pop rock singer Harry Chapin was one of the highest-paid artists of the 1970s, known for tracks such as Cat's in the Cradle. An avid philanthropist, he was part of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger. He also won a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal
 8 
Jimmy Smits
(Best Known for His Role as ‘Victor Sifuentes’ in the TV Series ‘L.A. Law’)
Jimmy Smits
7
Birthdate: July 9, 1955
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Jimmy Smits is an American actor who achieved popularity after portraying Victor Sifuentes in the legal drama television series L.A. Law. Also known for his charity work, Smits helped establish the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, which supports Latinos working in the entertainment, media, and telecommunications industries. He has also donated to organizations, such as the American Red Cross.

 9 
Jane Lynch
(Actress, Comedian and Author Known for Her Role as ‘Sue Sylvester’ in the TV Series ‘Glee’)
Jane Lynch
31
Birthdate: July 14, 1960
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Evergreen Park, Illinois, United States
Best known for her Emmy-winning performance as Sue Sylvester in Glee, Jane Lynch has also played major roles in the series Two and a Half Men and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and the film The 40-Year-Old Virgin. She has also voiced characters in animated films such as Wreck-It Ralph
 10 
Huey Lewis
(Songwriter, Actor & Lead Singer for the Band 'Huey Lewis and the News')
Huey Lewis
13
Birthdate: July 5, 1950
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

Huey Lewis is an American actor, singer, and songwriter. He is credited with forming the popular rock band, Huey Lewis and the News, which contributed to the soundtrack of the film Back to the Future. Apart from writing many of the band's songs, Huey Lewis also plays the harmonica and serves as the lead singer for his band.

 11 
Mae Jemison
(First African American Woman To Travel To Space)
Mae Jemison
29
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: October 17, 1956
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Decatur, Alabama, United States

Former NASA astronaut Mae Jemison became the first Black woman to fly into space, as a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Endeavour. A qualified physician, she has served as a Peace Corps doctor, too. She has written several books and established a non-profit and a tech research organization.

 12 
Howard Hawks
(Director)
Howard Hawks
7
Birthdate: May 30, 1896
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Goshen, Indiana, United States
Died: December 26, 1977
 13 
Tsai Ing-wen
(7th President of the Republic of China)
Tsai Ing-wen
16
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: August 31, 1956
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Taipei, Taiwan

Taiwanese politician and academic, Tsai Ing-wen, is currently serving as the seventh president of the Republic of China (Taiwan). She has been in office since 2016. She is a member of the Democratic Progressive Party and the first female president of Taiwan. As the president, she has taken steps to fund green energy initiatives and supports LGBTQA+ rights.

 14 
Ari Melber
(American Attorney, Chief Legal Correspondent for 'MSNBC' and Host of the News Show 'The Beat with Ari Melber')
Ari Melber
19
Listed In: Lawyers & Judges
Birthdate: March 31, 1980
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, United States
Attorney Ari Melber has gained fame as a journalist on NBC News. MSNBC's Emmy-nominated show The Beat with Ari Melber has garnered an immense viewership on YouTube, too, and is now the most-watched liberal show online. Melber also won an Emmy for his coverage of the Supreme Court on MSNBC.
 15 
Gabrielle Giffords
(Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona's 8th district (2007-12))
Gabrielle Giffords
16
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: June 8, 1970
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tucson, Arizona, United States
 16 
Andrea Savage
(Actress)
Andrea Savage
2
Birthdate: February 20, 1973
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Santa Monica, California, USA
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
 17 
Catherine Hicks
0
Birthdate: August 6, 1951
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States
Height: 5'3" (160 cm)
 18 
Frank Morgan
(Actor)
Frank Morgan
4
Birthdate: June 1, 1890
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
Died: September 18, 1949
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
 19 
Brian Hallisay
(Known for His Roles in the TV Series: ‘Privileged’, ‘Lifetime’ and ‘The Client List’)
Brian Hallisay
5
Birthdate: October 31, 1978
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

Brian Hallisay is an American actor known for his portrayal of important characters in TV series, such as Privileged and The Client List. From 2018 to 2019, he played the recurring role of Jason Bailey in the popular procedural television series 9-1-1 alongside his real-life spouse Jennifer Love Hewitt.

 20 
Thomas Pynchon
(Writer, Novelist, Essayist, Science fiction writer)
Thomas Pynchon
5
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: May 8, 1937
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Glen Cove

Thomas Pynchon initially joined Cornell to study engineering physics, but changed his major to English after a brief stint with the U.S. Army. A master of black humor, he soared to fame with novels such as The Crying of Lot 49 and Inherent Vice. He is media-shy and is rarely photographed.

 21 
Ming Tsai
(American Chef, Restaurateur, and Television Personality)
Ming Tsai
0
Listed In: Food Experts
Birthdate: March 29, 1964
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newport Beach, California, United States
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 22 
Pearl Buck
(Winner of the 1938 Nobel Prize in Literature)
Pearl Buck
20
Listed In: Activists
Birthdate: June 26, 1892
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hillsboro
Died: March 6, 1973

Nobel Prize- and Pulitzer Prize-winning American author Pearl Buck was raised in China by her missionary parents. She grew up to teach English literature in Chinese universities and later penned books such as East Wind, West Wind and The Good Earth, which were based on her experiences in China.

 23 
S. E. Cupp
(Television presenter)
S. E. Cupp
4
Birthdate: February 23, 1979
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Oceanside, California, U.S.

S. E. Cupp is an American TV host, writer, and political commentator. As a writer, Cupp has contributed to several popular publications like The Washington Post, Maxim, and New York Daily News. A regular guest host on Fox News' talk show Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld, Cupp has also hosted other talk shows like The Cycle.

 24 
William Sadler
(Actor)
William Sadler
3
Birthdate: April 13, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Buffalo, New York, U.S.
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
 25 
Cheryl Crane
(Real estate broker)
Cheryl Crane
2
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: July 25, 1943
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 26 
Peter Yarrow
(Singer-songwriter who found fame with the 1960s folk music trio Peter, Paul and Mary)
Peter Yarrow
3
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: May 31, 1938
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 27 
Carla Gallo
(Actress)
Carla Gallo
4
Birthdate: June 24, 1975
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Height: 5'4" (163 cm)
 28 
Freeman Dyson
(Mathematician)
Freeman Dyson
5
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: December 15, 1923
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Crowthorne, England
Died: February 28, 2020

Freeman Dyson was a British-American theoretical and mathematical physicist, mathematician, and statistician. He made major contributions in the fields of quantum field theory, astrophysics, random matrices, quantum mechanics, and nuclear physics. He originated the concept that went on to be known as Dyson's transform. He received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement in 1986. 

 29 
Herb Edelman
8
Birthdate: November 5, 1933
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: July 21, 1996
Height: 6'5" (196 cm)
 30 
Dan Duryea
(Known for His Roles in the Films: ‘The Pride of the Yankees’ and ‘None But the Lonely Heart’)
Dan Duryea
6
Birthdate: January 23, 1907
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: White Plains, New York, United States
Died: June 7, 1968

Dan Duryea was an American actor best remembered for portraying negative roles. However, he was also renowned for his versatility as he played a wide variety of leading roles as well. He also became famous as a TV actor and played important roles in series like China Smith and The New Adventures of China Smith.

 31 
Franchot Tone
4
Birthdate: February 27, 1905
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Niagara Falls, New York, United States
Died: September 18, 1968
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 32 
Robert Smigel
3
Birthdate: February 7, 1960
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 33 
Andrew Ross Sorkin
(Journalist)
Andrew Ross Sorkin
0
Birthdate: February 19, 1977
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
 34 
Gad Saad
(Canadian Professor and Youtuber Known for Applying Evolutionary Psychology to Marketing and Consumer Behaviour)
Gad Saad
2
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: October 13, 1964
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Beirut, Lebanon

Lebanese-Canadian evolutionary-psychologist Gad Saad is best-known for applying evolutionary-psychology to marketing and consumer behaviour. He is a professor of marketing at Concordia University, an advisory fellow for the Centre for Inquiry Canada, and the Concordia University Research Chairman in Evolutionary Behavioural Sciences and Darwinian Consumption. He hosts the YouTube channel The Saad Truth and writes a blog for Psychology Today.

 35 
Ato Essandoh
1
Birthdate: July 29, 1972
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Schenectady, New York, United States
Height: 6'3" (190 cm)
 36 
Vera Rubin
(American Astronomer Known for Her Pioneering Work on Galaxy Rotation Rates)
Vera Rubin
3
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: July 23, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: December 25, 2016

American astronomer Vera Rubin is best known for her pioneering discoveries on galaxy rotation rates, her groundbreaking work confirming the existence of dark matter and for her life-long advocacy for women in science. She studied the galactic rotation curves and provided strong evidence of the existence of dark matter. The Vera C. Rubin Observatory in Chile is named after her.

 37 
Harold Gould
(Actor)
Harold Gould
3
Birthdate: December 10, 1923
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Schenectady, New York, United States
Died: September 11, 2010
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 38 
Kate Snow
(TV Journalist)
Kate Snow
6
Birthdate: May 10, 1969
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bangor, Maine
Height: 5'3" (160 cm)
 39 
Ethan Phillips
(Actor)
Ethan Phillips
0
Birthdate: February 8, 1955
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Garden City, Long Island, New York, USA
Height: 5'6" (168 cm)
 40 
Ricky Jay
(American Stage Magician and Actor Considered as the 'Master of Sleight-of-Hand Acts')
Ricky Jay
4
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: June 26, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: November 24, 2018

The grandson of Max Katz, who once headed the Society of American Magicians, Ricky Jay started his career as an opening act for prominent entertainers such as singer Tina Turner. He gradually established himself as the greatest sleight-of-hand artist of his time. He has also appeared in films such as Boogie Nights.

 41 
Richard Meier
(Architect & Abstract Artist)
Richard Meier
0
Listed In: Architects
Birthdate: October 12, 1934
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, U.S.

Richard Meier is an American architect and abstract artist who is credited with designing many iconic buildings, such as the San Jose City Hall, the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Getty Center, Los Angeles. Over the years Richard Meier has won several prestigious awards like the Pritzker Prize and the American Academy of Achievement's Golden Plate Award.

 42 
Vikas Khanna
(Chef)
Vikas Khanna
1
Listed In: Food Experts
Birthdate: November 14, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Amritsar, India
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 43 
Thomas Midgley, Jr.
(American Mechanical and Chemical Engineer)
Thomas Midgley, Jr.
3
Listed In: Engineers
Birthdate: May 18, 1889
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: November 2, 1944

Thomas Midgley Jr. was an American chemical and mechanical engineer. Midgley played a key role in the development of leaded gasoline and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were later banned due to their negative impact on the environment and human health. Thomas Midgley Jr. was granted over 100 patents during his lifetime.

 44 
Norbert Wiener
(Father of Cybernetics)
Norbert Wiener
1
Birthdate: November 26, 1894
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Columbia, Missouri, United States
Died: March 18, 1964
 45 
Sister Souljah
(Writer)
Sister Souljah
6
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: January 28, 1964
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York City, United States
 46 
Ed Marinaro
(Actor)
Ed Marinaro
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: March 31, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
Height: 6'2" (188 cm)
 47 
Bill Maher
(Comedian & Talk-Show Host Known for His Political Talk Shows: ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’ & ‘Politically Incorrect’)
Bill Maher
31
Birthdate: January 20, 1956
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Bill Maher is best known for his political satire and comedy, as the host of Politically Incorrect. He has also hosted Real Time with Bill Maher, written the film Religulous, and won an Emmy for producing Vice. He has written several books and is a PETA board member.
 48 
Barbara McClintock
5
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: June 16, 1902
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut, United States
Died: September 2, 1992

Barbara McClintock was a scientist and cytogeneticist who received the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. She earned her Ph.D. in botany from Cornell University and began her lifelong work in the development of maize cytogenetics. She eventually gained recognition as among the best in the field and was honored with several prestigious awards.  

 49 
Joyce Brothers
(American psychologist)
Joyce Brothers
6
Birthdate: October 20, 1927
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, U.S.
Died: May 13, 2013
 50 
Margaret Bourke-White
(American Photographer and Photojournalist)
Margaret Bourke-White
5
Birthdate: June 14, 1904
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bronx, New York, United States
Died: August 27, 1971
Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell University is a private Ivy League and federal land-grant doctoral university. Being one of three private land-grant universities in the United States and the only one in New York, the beautiful campus sprawls over a wide area of more than 4300 acres, including Cornell Botanic Gardens. One of the main features that make Cornell University stand a class apart is its non-sectarian approach to education, which has created an atmosphere where diversity thrives like never before. Hailing from over 120 countries, the student body comprises of over 21,000 students. Cornell University was deemed 16th in the QS World University Rankings and 19th in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for the year 2016-17. Essentially being a research university, it is also ranked fourth in the world for individuals who pursue PhDs in engineering and natural sciences at American establishments. The university enjoys a prestigious list of alumni’s who have made it huge, in different walks of life. With 34 Marshall Scholars, 29 Rhodes Scholars, 29 Truman Scholars and 7 Gates Scholars, the numbers speak louder than words about Cornell’s quality of education. Richard Baker, John B. Bell and Lou Abin are some of the prominent alumni’s of the university, who have contributed immensely to various fields of study. Here is a list of notable alumni’s of Cornell University who have been a source of inspiration in their respective areas of expertise.