University Of Chicago Notable Alumni

Discover the notable alumni of University Of Chicago. The list includes people like Bernie Sanders, Bob Newhart, Satya Nadella, Larry Ellison & James Watson. This list of notable alumni is loosely sorted by popularity and has people from different domains of life, such as intellectuals & academics, scientists, writers, media personalities and miscellaneous etc.
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 1 
Carl Sagan
(Astronomer and Planetary Scientist Best Known for His Scientific Contribution in Research on Extraterrestrial Life)
Carl Sagan
32
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: November 9, 1934
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: December 20, 1996
Pulitzer- and Emmy-winning astrophysicist and author Carl Sagan was best known for co-writing the TV series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. His novel Contact was adapted into a film. He was known for his extensive research on extra-terrestrial life, had taught at major universities, and written countless papers and science books.
 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 
Thomas Sowell
(Economist)
Thomas Sowell
30
Birthdate: June 30, 1930
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Gastonia, North Carolina

One of the few personalities known for his disdain of self-promotion, Thomas Sowell is an important American social theorist and economist. Over the years, he has played a prominent role working as a faculty member of many prestigious universities, such as the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Cornell University

 4 
Milton Friedman
(American Economist & Nobel Prize Winner in Economic Sciences Who Extolled the Virtues of a Free Market Economic System)
Milton Friedman
19
Birthdate: July 31, 1912
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: November 16, 2006

Milton Friedman was an American economist. Widely regarded as one of the most influential economists of the 20th century, Friedman was honored with the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1976. One of the most influential personalities of the Chicago school of economics, Friedman mentored people like Gary Becker and Thomas Sowell who went on to become leading economists.

 5 
John Dewey
(Philosopher)
John Dewey
19
Birthdate: October 20, 1859
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Burlington, Vermont, United States
Died: June 1, 1952

A staunch advocate of progressive education and liberalism, the American philosopher and psychologist was the founder of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. John Dewey’s famous writings included The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology and Human Nature and Conduct. According to him, passion for knowledge and intellectual curiosity were central to a teacher. He called himself a democratic socialist.

 6 
James Watson
(Molecular Biologist Who Co-discovered the Double Helix Structure of DNA With Francis Crick)
James Watson
6
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: April 6, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

James Watson is a geneticist, molecular biologist, and zoologist. He is credited with co-authoring the academic paper that propounded the double helix structure of nucleic acids such as DNA for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962. In 1977, he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1997, he was awarded the National Medal of Science.

 7 
Philip Roth
(One of the Most Awarded American Writers of His Generation)
Philip Roth
5
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: March 19, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States
Died: May 22, 2018

Philip Roth was a novelist and short-story writer best remembered for creating the fictional character Nathan Zuckerman, who featured in many of his novels. The recipient of the 1997 Pulitzer Prize, he also received the inaugural Franz Kafka Prize. Roth was one of the most awarded American writers of his generation. Born a Jew, he became an atheist later on.

 8 
Satya Nadella
(Chairman & CEO of 'Microsoft')
Satya Nadella
24
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: August 19, 1967
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

Satya Nadella is an Indian-American business executive, currently serving as the chief executive officer of Microsoft. Since he became CEO, the company has seen a 27% annual growth rate. Born in India to a Telugu-speaking family, Nadella serves as an inspiration to millions of Indians who nurse 'The American Dream'.

 9 
Bernie Sanders
(United States Senator from Vermont)
Bernie Sanders
66
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: September 8, 1941
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

The current junior US Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders is the longest-serving nonpartisan politician in the history of the United States Congress. Sanders is an ardent advocate of progressive policies and is well-known for his opposition to neoliberalism and economic inequality. He also supports paid parental leave, universal and single-payer healthcare, and labor rights.

 10 
Ed Asner
(Actor, played Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and gained prominence as a political activist.)
Ed Asner
25
Birthdate: November 15, 1929
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Died: August 29, 2021
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
 11 
Anna Chlumsky
(Actress)
Anna Chlumsky
16
Birthdate: December 3, 1980
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Anna Chlumsky is an American actress best known for portraying Vada Sultenfuss in the 1991 coming-of-age comedy-drama film My Girl. Chlumsky, who started her career as a child artist, went on to establish herself as an actress in the film and TV industry. She contributed immensely to the success of the comedy television series Veep.

 12 
Katharine Graham
(American Newspaper Publisher and Heiress Who Led 'The Washington Post' (1963 - 1991))
Katharine Graham
5
Birthdate: June 16, 1917
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: July 17, 2001

The daughter of American publisher and financier Eugene Meyer, Katharine Graham later carried forward her family’s newspaper, The Washington Post. While the newspaper was initially handed over to her husband, Philip Graham, by her father, she took over as the owner, following Philip’s suicide. She later penned a Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir.

 13 
Roger Ebert
(Film Critic for the "Chicago Sun-Times")
Roger Ebert
17
Birthdate: June 18, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Urbana, Illinois, United States
Died: April 4, 2013

Roger Ebert was an American journalist, author, screenwriter, film historian, and film critic. While working as a film critic for the daily newspaper Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert received the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, becoming the first film critic to be honored with the prestigious award. He was often described as America's most influential and prominent film critic of all time.

 14 
Eliot Ness
(American Prohibition Agent Known for His Efforts to Bring Down Al Capone)
Eliot Ness
13
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: April 19, 1903
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: May 16, 1957
Eliot Ness led the group of American law-enforcement agents known as The Untouchables. He is remembered for enforcing the Prohibition in the U.S. and is considered responsible for bringing crime lord Al Capone to justice. He co-authored the book The Untouchables, which led to many screen adaptations.
 15 
Marilu Henner
(Actress Best Known for Her Role in the Sitcom 'Taxi')
Marilu Henner
10
Birthdate: April 6, 1952
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Marilu Henner is best known as Elaine Nardo from the sitcom Taxi, a role that fetched her five Golden Globe nominations. She also appeared in movies such as Hammett and shows such as The Celebrity Apprentice. She has total recall memory and has spoken about it on various shows.
 16 
Misha Collins
(Best Known for His Role as ‘Castiel’ in the TV Series 'Supernatural')
Misha Collins
12
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: August 20, 1974
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Misha Collins is best known for playing Castiel and other characters in the series Supernatural. He is also a poet and has co-authored a cookbook with his wife. He has established the charity Random Acts and the GISHWHES. He has also written an academic paper on the structure of shapes.
 17 
Susan Sontag
(Writer and Filmmaker, Best Known for her Essay 'Notes on 'Camp')
Susan Sontag
11
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: January 16, 1933
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: December 28, 2004
Susan Sontag is best known for her essay anthologies such as Against Interpretation and her novels such as In America. She wrote about diverse issues such as human rights, photography, AIDS, and leftist beliefs, and also visited war-torn areas. The National Book Award-winning author was also openly bisexual. 
 18 
Harry Morgan
(Prolific Character Actor Who Starred in More Than 100 Films)
Harry Morgan
21
Birthdate: April 10, 1915
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States
Died: December 7, 2011

Harry Morgan was an American actor who appeared in over 100 films in a career that spanned six decades. Apart from contributing to the success of several films, Morgan also appeared in many TV series; for his performance in the series M*A*S*H, Morgan received an Emmy. In 2006, he was made an inductee of the Hall of Great Western Performers.

 19 
Don Shirley
(Classical and Jazz Pianist and Composer)
Don Shirley
13
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: January 29, 1927
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pensacola, Florida, United States
Died: April 6, 2013

Don Shirley was an American jazz and classical pianist and composer. He is best remembered for his association with Cadence Records where he recorded many albums during the 1950s and 1960s. Apart from performing in numerous concert tours, Shirley also wrote organ symphonies and piano concerti. Shirley's friendship with his bodyguard Tony Lip was dramatized in the film Green Book.

 20 
Mike Nichols
(Director Best Known for His Works 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' and 'The Graduate')
Mike Nichols
8
Birthdate: November 6, 1931
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: November 19, 2014

Mike Nichols started as a comedian with the troupe The Compass Players and then performed as part of the Grammy-winning duo Nichols and May. Nichols then delivered Tony-winning directorial stage ventures such as Luv and Death of a Salesman and won the Academy Award for his direction in The Graduate

 21 
Will Geer
(Actor, Musician and Social Activist Known for His Role as ‘Zebulon Walton’ in the TV Series ‘The Waltons’)
Will Geer
10
Birthdate: March 9, 1902
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Frankfort, Indiana, United States
Died: April 22, 1978
Actor and social activist Will Geer actively participated in the labor movements of the the 1930s and 1940s in New York and Southern California. He traveled across the U.S. with singer Woody Guthrie, during the Great Depression. Hollywood blacklisted him as a result of his leftist activities.
 22 
Lynn Margulis
1
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: March 5, 1938
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: November 22, 2011

Lynn Margulis was an evolutionary theorist, biologist, educator, and science author. She was a modern proponent of the significance of symbiosis in evolution. Along with British chemist James Lovelock, Margulis was the co-developer of the Gaia hypothesis. She was a strong critic of neo-Darwinism. In 2001, she was honored with the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement. 

 23 
Paul Samuelson
(Economist)
Paul Samuelson
5
Birthdate: May 15, 1915
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gary, Indiana, United States
Died: December 13, 2009
 24 
David Brooks
(Journalist)
David Brooks
8
Birthdate: August 11, 1961
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Toronto

David Brooks is a Canadian-born American conservative political commentator. Having worked with popular publications like The Washington Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, and Newsweek, Brooks is currently contributing as a writer for The New York Times. Also an educator, David Brooks has taught at prestigious institutions like the Sanford School of Public Policy and Yale University.

 25 
Samuel Reshevsky
(American Chess Grandmaster)
Samuel Reshevsky
4
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: November 26, 1911
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ozorkow, Poland
Died: April 4, 1992
 26 
Tommy Douglas
(Canadian Politician Who was Premier of Saskatchewan from 1944 to 1961)
Tommy Douglas
7
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: October 20, 1904
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Camelon, Falkirk, Scotland
Died: February 24, 1986

Tommy Douglas was a Scottish Canadian politician. From 1944 to 1961, he served as premier of Saskatchewan. His cabinet was the first to introduce North America's first single-payer, universal health care program. His life and career inspired a TV miniseries titled Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story, in which Douglas was played by actor Michael Therriault.

 27 
David Suzuki
(Canadian Academic, Environmental Activist and Host of TV Program ‘The Nature of Things’)
David Suzuki
15
Listed In: Activists
Birthdate: March 24, 1936
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada
Best known for the CBC show The Nature of Things, Canadian environmental activist David Suzuki has also been a genetics and zoology professor. The UN Environment Programme Medal winner has been a major force against global warming and has written several books, such as An Introduction to Genetic Analysis.
 28 
Elaine May
(Actor, Film director, Screenwriter, Writer, Playwright)
Elaine May
6
Birthdate: April 21, 1932
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
 29 
Adam Silver
(Lawyer and 5th Commissioner of the NBA)
Adam Silver
18
Listed In: Lawyers & Judges
Birthdate: April 25, 1962
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rye, New York, United States
Height: 6'3" (190 cm)
 30 
Katherine Dunham
(One of the Most Successful Dancers of the 20th Century)
Katherine Dunham
6
Listed In: Dancers
Birthdate: June 22, 1909
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Glen Ellyn, Illinois, United States
Died: May 21, 2006

Dancer, choreographer, and social activist Katherine Dunham was also a qualified anthropologist. She experimented with various ritual dances, and her innovations included a ballet performance based on Caribbean dance. She also pioneered the Dunham Technique of dance pedagogy and used the pen-name Kaye Dunn to write several works.

 31 
Eric Bogosian
(Actor and Playwright Known for His Play 'SubUrbia' and TV Series 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent')
Eric Bogosian
5
Birthdate: April 24, 1953
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Woburn, Massachusetts, United States

Eric Bogosian is an American actor, playwright, novelist, and historian. He is credited with writing plays like Talk Radio and SubUrbia, which were adapted into films. Over the course of his career, Bogosian has won several awards including three Obie Awards. He was honored at the 1989 Berlin Film Festival with the Silver Bear for his work on Talk Radio. 

 32 
Celeste Holm
(Actress)
Celeste Holm
6
Birthdate: April 29, 1917
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: July 15, 2012
Height: 5'6" (168 cm)
 33 
Gary Becker
(Economist)
Gary Becker
0
Birthdate: December 2, 1930
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pottsville, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: May 3, 2014
 34 
Harvey Levin
(Lawyer)
Harvey Levin
5
Birthdate: September 2, 1950
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Los Angeles
 35 
Stephen Leacock
(Canadian writer)
Stephen Leacock
6
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: December 30, 1869
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Swanmore, Hampshire, United Kingdom
Died: March 28, 1944
 36 
Erving Goffman
(The Most Influential American Sociologist of the Twentieth Century)
Erving Goffman
2
Birthdate: June 11, 1922
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mannville, Alberta, Canada
Died: November 19, 1982

Canadian-American sociologist, social-psychologist and writer Erving Goffman, regarded as the most influential American sociologist of the 20th century by some, is best-known for his study of symbolic interaction and development of his dramaturgical analysis. His book The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life was the first that treated face-to-face interaction as a subject of sociological study.

 37 
Ernest Lawrence
(Physicist)
Ernest Lawrence
1
Birthdate: August 8, 1901
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Canton, South Dakota, United States
Died: August 27, 1958
 38 
J. Allen Hynek
(Astronomer, Ufologist)
J. Allen Hynek
4
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: May 1, 1910
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: April 27, 1986

When the American government, baffled by unexplained sightings of flying objects, assigned J. Allen Hynek the task of solving the mystery, Hynek was sceptical. However, he later became the first person to scientifically analyze such sightings. He also established the "Close Encounter" classification system to study UFOs.

 39 
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
(Psychologist, University teacher, Psychiatrist)
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
0
Birthdate: September 29, 1934
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rijeka
 40 
David Rockefeller
(Investment Banker, Chairman and Chief Executive of ‘Chase Manhattan Corporation’)
David Rockefeller
23
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: June 12, 1915
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: March 20, 2017
David Rockefeller, son of John D. Rockefeller Jr., was a banker who had also been the chairman and CEO of Chase Manhattan Corporation. He was the world’s oldest billionaire when he died in 2017 at age 101. He was criticized for his role in the Iran hostage crisis.
 41 
Nicholas Ray
(Director)
Nicholas Ray
6
Birthdate: August 7, 1911
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Galesville, Wisconsin, USA
Died: June 16, 1979
Height: 6'1" (185 cm)
 42 
Ro Khanna
(Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California's 17th district)
Ro Khanna
1
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: September 13, 1976
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
 43 
James M. Buchanan
(Economist, University teacher)
James M. Buchanan
1
Birthdate: October 3, 1919
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Murfreesboro
Died: January 9, 2013
 44 
Philip Glass
(Founder of the Philip Glass Ensemble)
Philip Glass
9
Birthdate: January 31, 1937
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 45 
Robert Bork
(Judge)
Robert Bork
3
Listed In: Lawyers & Judges
Birthdate: March 1, 1927
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: December 19, 2012
 46 
Samuel P. Huntington
(American Political Scientist Best Known for His 1993 Theory, the 'Clash of Civilizations')
Samuel P. Huntington
4
Birthdate: April 18, 1927
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City
Died: December 24, 2008
 47 
Hyman Minsky
(Economist)
Hyman Minsky
2
Birthdate: September 23, 1919
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: October 24, 1996
 48 
John B. Goodenough
(Physicist Known for Pioneering Work in the Development of Lithium-Ion Battery)
John B. Goodenough
3
Birthdate: July 25, 1922
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Jena, Germany
Died: June 25, 2023

John B. Goodenough is an American solid-state physicist and materials scientist. He is credited with developing the lithium-ion battery. In 2019, he became the oldest person to receive a Nobel Prize when he was honored with the prestigious award for his work on lithium-ion batteries. He is also a recipient of the Copley Medal and the National Medal of Science.

 49 
Luis Walter Alvarez
9
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: June 13, 1911
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: San Francisco
Died: September 1, 1988

Experimental physicist and Nobel laureate Luis Walter Alvarez is best remembered for inventing the liquid hydrogen bubble chamber, which enabled the discovery of countless short-lived resonance particles. The University of California, Berkeley professor and MIT scientist had also been part of the development of the atomic bomb.

 50 
Frances Oldham Kelsey
(Canadian-American Pharmacologist Known for Preventing 'Thalidomide' From Being Marketed in the United States)
Frances Oldham Kelsey
0
Listed In: Scientists
Birthdate: July 24, 1914
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cobble Hill, British Columbia, Canada
Died: August 7, 2015

As part of the FDA, Frances Oldham Kelsey prevented thalidomide from being allowed in the US drug market as a painkiller, as she was unsure of its impact. Her concerns were proved right when the drug caused birth defects in European children. She was subsequently awarded by the US president.

The University of Chicago has often been ranked one of the best institutions in the world and is a favorite among many people around the world. Some of the world’s most preferred colleges have been affiliated to this famous university. This famous university started in 1890, thanks to a donation made by the billionaire business tycoon John D Rockefeller. These institutions are ‘Pritzker School Of Medicine’, ‘The Booth School of Business’ and ‘Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies’. According to a popular online source, more than 15,000 students join the university every year. Apart from its breathtaking campuses and providing great quality of education, the University is also known for its notable alumni. These personalities include scientists, politicians, writers, scholars, sportsmen and even artistes. Noted lawyer and current commissioner of the ‘National Basketball Association’, Adam Silver, is one such alumnus of this esteemed institution. Other famous ex-students of the University of Chicago are Katharine Graham, publisher of the newspaper ‘The Washington Post’, scientist James Watson, businessman David Rockefeller, as well as writer /filmmaker Susan Sontag. David Rockefeller, who is currently more than 100 years old, was the chairman of the multi-billion dollar financial enterprise ‘Chase Manhattan Corporation’. His net worth is estimated to be more than $ 1 Billion USD, if sources are to be believed. The list just doesn’t end here. There are many more noteworthy individuals who were once students of the ‘University Of Chicago’. Their success stories have been sources of inspiration for many youngsters of today.