Notable Alumni

There are more than 427,000 UW–Madison alumni living around the world. UW alumni or faculty have been awarded 20 Nobel Prizes and 38 Pulitzer Prizes. More than 1,050 UW–Madison alumni serve as CEOs and nearly 16,000 hold an executive management position. Following is a compilation of notable and famous alumni in a variety of fields.

Arts and Entertainment

  • Jim Abrahams (x’66), filmmaker, founder of Charlie Foundation to Help Cure Pediatric Epilepsy
  • Mason Adams (’40, MA’41), Emmy Award–winning TV actor (Lou Grant)
  • Don Ameche (x’31), actor (Cocoon)
  • Iris Apfel (’43), fashion icon
  • Charlie Berens (’09), creator of the Manitowoc Minute, a comedic take on the news with a Wisconsin twist
  • Andrew Bergman (MA’66, PhD’70), film director/producer and writer (It Could Happen to You, Blazing Saddles)
  • Chester Biscardi (’70, MA’72, MM’74), composer
  • Jerry Bock (’48), co-composer of Fiddler on the Roof and Fiorello
  • Phyllis Bramson (MA’64), artist
  • Carol Helen Buele (’69, MFA’72), Emmy Award­–winning costume designer (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)
  • Stephen Burrows (’84), actor, film director
  • Dale Chihuly (MS’67), glass artist (Mendota Wall in the Kohl Center)
  • Joan Cusack (’84), actress (Working Girl, In & Out, Grosse Pointe Blank)
  • Lee De Boer (’74), HBO mogul
  • André DeShields (’70), Emmy and Tony Award–winning actor (I Dream of Jeanie), Broadway actor (The Full Monty), director
  • August Derleth (’30), author
  • Howard Dratch (’67), filmmaker
  • Michael Feldman (’70), host of public radio show Whad’Ya Know?
  • Sandi Fellman (MFA’75), photographer
  • Kit Reuter Foss (’79, MA’82), opera singer
  • Zona Gale (1895, MA1899), author
  • Libby Geist (’02), vice president and executive director, ESPN Films and Original Content
  • Erica Gruen (MS’75), former president and CEO, Food Network
  • Uta Hagen (x’41, honorary doctorate ’00), Broadway actress and acting teacher
  • Emily Hahn (’26), adventurer and travel writer who helped introduce U.S. readers to China, author of more than 50 books
  • Jane Hammond (MFA’77), artist
  • Lorraine Hansberry (x’52), playwright, author (Raisin in the Sun)
  • Lisa Heller (’90), executive vice president of HBO documentary and family programming
  • Kevin Henkes (x’83), children’s book author
  • Anders Holm (’03), actor who has starred in Workaholics and The Mindy Project
  • bell hooks (MA’76), cultural critic, author, poet
  • Frieda High (a.k.a., Wasikhongo Tesfagiorgis) (MFA’71), artist, scholar, educator
  • Mary Hinkson (’46, MS’47), dancer, dance teacher
  • Jim Hirsch (’69) Hollywood screenwriter and producer (The Incredible Hulk, Rome)
  • Lee Hoiby (’47), composer
  • Mac Huff (’77), choral arranger
  • William Immerman (’59), film studio executive
  • Jane Kaczmarek (’79), actress (Malcolm in the Middle)
  • Kelly Kahl (’89), president of CBS Entertainment
  • Ben Karlin (’93), executive producer (The Daily Show)
  • Rocco Landesman (’69), chair, National Endowment for the Arts
  • Sherrie Levine (MFA’72), artist
  • Steve Levitan (’84), TV writer and executive producer
  • Truman Lowe (MFA’73), sculptor, 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient
  • Michael Mann (’65), filmmaker (Public Enemies, The Insider, The Last of the Mohicans)
  • Fredric March (’20), actor (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)
  • Steve Marmel (’88), comedian, writer, TV producer
  • Steve Miller (x’67), rock singer
  • Thomas L. Miller (’62), TV writer/producer (Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Bosom Buddies, Perfect Strangers)
  • Walter Mirisch (’42), producer (The Magnificent Seven, In the Heat of the Night, West Side Story, The Apartment)
  • Linda Montano (MFA’69), artist
  • Erroll Morris (’69), movie, cable TV, and documentary producer (The Thin Blue Line, Gates of Heaven, The Fog of War, )
  • Bruce Nauman (’64), artist
  • Tracy Nelson (’67), country singer
  • Joyce Carol Oates (MA’61), novelist
  • Jerome “Jerry” Frautschi (’56), donor of $205 million to create Madison’s Overture Center
  • Hans Obma (’02), actor (Better Call Saul; known for expertise with accents and playing villains)
  • Zorba Paster (’69), public radio host (On Your Health)
  • Meinhart Raabe (’37), actor (The Wizard of Oz)
  • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (’18), Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Yearling
  • Gena (Virginia) Rowlands (x’51), actress
  • Josh Sapan (’75), president and CEO, AMC Networks
  • Richard Schickel (’55), Time magazine film critic
  • Michael Schultz (’61), actor, director, filmmaker
  • Al Schwartz (’53), retired TV producer, longtime producer and director of the Golden Globe Awards and American Music Awards
  • Ben Sidran (’67), jazz pianist
  • Glenn Silber (’72), documentary filmmaker (The War at Home)
  • Boz Skaggs (William Royce, x’66), rock singer
  • Brian Stack (MA’88), writer for all three of Conan O’Brian’s shows and now a writer for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
  • Richard Steiner (’68), coproducer, Broadway musicals
  • Peter Straub (’65), gothic author, 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient
  • Susan Straub (’66), founder of New York City nonprofit Read to Me, 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient
  • John Szarkowski (’48), photographer, director emeritus of photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City
  • Peter Tiboris (’70, MS’74), conductor and founder of Mid America Productions
  • Daniel J. Travanti (’63), Emmy Award–winning actor (Hill Street Blues)
  • Butch Vig (’80), music producer of bands (Nirvana, Garbage)
  • James Watrous (’31, MA’33, PhD’39), painter of Memorial Union’s Paul Bunyan murals
  • Eudora Welty (’29), Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist
  • Allee Willis (’69), composer of hit songs such as “September” and the Friends theme song, noted collector of kitsch
  • Michael Wilmington (x’68), Chicago Tribune film critic
  • Tom Wopat (x’74), TV actor (The Dukes of Hazzard), Broadway and movie actor and singer
  • Frank Lloyd Wright (x1890), architect
  • David (’70) and Jerry (’72) Zucker, movie producers (Airplane, Naked Gun)

Athletics

  • Alan Ameche (’56), 1954 Heisman trophy winner (football)
  • Kenneth Behring (’51), former owner, Seattle Seahawks
  • Chris Borland (’13), prematurely left a promising NFL career because of concerns about CTE; is now an advocate for those with the disease
  • Steven Bornstein (’74), former president and CEO, National Football League
  • Ron Dayne (x’00), 1999 Heisman trophy winner (football)
  • Harold “Bud” Foster (’30), longtime UW basketball coach
  • Suzy Favor Hamilton (’91), track star; competed in 1992, 1996, and 2000 Olympics
  • Eric Heiden (x’81), Olympic speed skater
  • Phil Hellmuth Jr. (x’86), professional poker player, youngest winner of the World Series of Poker
  • Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch (x’45), UW football star
  • Beau Hoopman (’03), gold medalist, rowing, 2004 Olympics
  • Rose Lavelle ’17, standout soccer player for U.S. women’s team in 2019 World Cup
  • Wayne Lukas (’57, MS’60), thoroughbred horse trainer
  • Buddy Melges (’51), America’s Cup skipper
  • Eric Mueller (’94), silver medalist, rowing, 1996 Olympics
  • Carly Piper (x’05), gold medalist, swimming, 2004 Olympics
  • George Poage (’ 03), African American medal winner in track, 1904 Olympics
  • Allan “Bud” Selig (’56), former commissioner, Major League Baseball; chairman, Selig Executive Leasing Corp.; former owner, Milwaukee Brewers
  • Judith Sweet (’69), first woman president of National Collegiate Athletic Association
  • Al Toon (’95), Badger wide receiver turned businessman
  • Professional football: Tom Burke, Lamar Campbell, Ron Dayne, Terrell Fletcher, Aaron Gibson, Donald Hayes, Cecil Martin, Chris McIntosh, Pete Monty, Bobby Myers, Joe Panos, Cory Raymer, Michael Roan, Tarek Saleh, Mike Schneck, Tony Simmons, Jason Suttle, Donnel Thompson, Mike Thompson, Jerry Wunsch, J. J. Watt, Russell Wilson
  • Professional hockey: Brian Elliott, Trent Frederic, Jake Gardiner, Cody Goloubef, Luke Kunin, Jake McCabe, Ryan McDonagh, Joe Pavelski, Ryan Suter, Brendan Smith, Craig Smith, Justin Schultz, Derek Stepan, Ben Street, Kyle Turris
  • Men’s professional basketball: Sam Dekker, Devin Harris, Frank Kaminsky, Jon Leuer
  • Women’s professional basketball: Jolene Anderson, Rae Lin D’Alie, Cayla McMorris, Cassie Rochel, Taylor Wurtz
  • Women’s professional volleyball: Lauren Carlini, Romana Kriskova, Kelli Bates, Haleigh Nelson, Julie Mikaelsen, Sheila Shaw

Business

  • Virgil Abloh (’03), founder of Off-White, artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s men’s wear
  • Carol Bartz (’71), former chair, president and CEO of Yahoo! Inc.
  • Kenneth Behring (’51), former owner, Seattle Seahawks
  • Oscar C. Boldt (’48), chair, Boldt Group
  • Viveca Chan (’76), CEO of WE Marketing Group, China’s first international ad agency
  • Jerome A. Chazen (’48), Chazen Capital Partners, former CEO, Liz Claiborne Inc.
  • C.K. Chow (’72), chair of Hong Kong Exchange and Clearing, which owns the Hong Kong Stock Exchange
  • Paul J. Collins (’58), former vice chair, Citigroup, London
  • Susan A. Davis (’68), chair and CEO, Susan Davis International (public relations), Washington, DC
  • Kenny Dichter (’90), CEO, Wheels Up; 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient
  • Marshall Erdman (’48), architect and builder, protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright (x1890)
  • Thomas Falk (’80), former president and CEO, Kimberly-Clark Corp.
  • David W. Grainger (’50), senior chairman, W. W. Grainger Inc.
  • Elzie Higginbottom (’65), founder, chair, and CEO, East Lake Management
  • Stacy Igel (’99), founder and creative director, Boy Meets Girl
  • Aaron Kennedy (MBA’89), founder and former chair and president, Noodles and Co.
  • Kenji Kitatani (MA’78, PhD’81), president, Live Asia, Inc.
  • Kay Smith Koplovitz (’67), founder, USA Network
  • Erick Laine (’55), chair, former president, and CEO, Alcas Corp.
  • Joan Lappin (’64), founder and chair, Gramercy Capital Management
  • Michael Levin (’72), founder and CEO, e-STEEL Corp.
  • Sheldon (’51, LLB’53) and Marianne (x’54) Lubar, UW Board of Regents President 1997–98, former assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (Sheldon), philanthropists; 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients
  • Marie Moody (’90), owner of Stella & Chewy’s raw pet-food company
  • John P. Morgridge (’55), former chairman and CEO, Cisco Systems, San Jose, California
  • David Nicholas (’83), president and CEO, the Nicholas Co.
  • Arthur C. Nielsen Sr. (’18), founder, A. C. Nielsen Co.
  • Arthur C. Nielsen Jr. (’41), former chair emeritus, A. C. Nielsen Co.; former director, Dun & Bradstreet
  • Bill Nygren (MS’81), mutual fund analyst and manager
  • Tadashi Okamura (MBA’73), president and CEO, Toshiba Corp.
  • Steven Pogorzelski (’83), former president, Monster North America; CEO of Avention, Inc.
  • Tom Pyle (MBA’63), chair and president, Pyle Group; former chair and CEO, Rayovac Corp.
  • Lee R. Raymond (’60), former chairman and CEO, ExxonMobil
  • John Rowe (’67, JD’70), president and CEO, Exelon Corp.
  • Bob Schlicht (’73), former president, M&I Bank
  • Toni Sikes (MS’83), founder, president and CEO, Guild.com
  • Carol Skornicka (’62, MS’64, JD’77), former senior vice president, Midwest Express Airlines
  • Joan Edelman Spero (’66), former president, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
  • Peter Tong (MA’65), high-tech entrepreneur; senior advisor at Arsenal Capital Partners
  • Charlie Trotter (’82), chef and owner of Charlie Trotter’s restaurant, Chicago
  • Scott Vandersanden (EMBA’00), president, AT&T Wisconsin
  • Peter Weil (’70, JD’74) Los Angeles–based attorney, 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient
  • Duane Zitzner (’70), former vice president, Hewlett-Packard

Education

  • Carolyn “Biddy” Martin (PhD’85), former chancellor, UW–Madison
  • Kitt Saunders-Nordeen (MS’66, PhD’77), first UW Women’s Athletic Director
  • Frederick Jackson Turner (1884, MA1888), historian who devised the “frontier thesis” about the American West
  • David Ward (MS’62, PhD’63), former chancellor, UW–Madison
  • Helen C. White (PhD’24), pioneering English professor at UW–Madison
  • John Wiley (MS’65, PhD’69), former chancellor, UW–Madison

Government and Politics

  • Former U.S. Vice President: Dick Cheney (PhDx’68)
  • Former U.S. Senators: Russ Feingold (’75), Wisconsin; Jon Blair Hunter (’64, MS’66), West Virginia; Herb Kohl (’56), Wisconsin;  Robert Marion La Follette Jr. (x’17), Wisconsin; Charles Robb (’61), Virginia.
  • U.S. Representatives: Tammy Baldwin (JD’89), Wisconsin; Tom Barrett (BA’76, JD’80), Wisconsin; Marcy Kaptur (’68), Ohio; David Obey (BA’76, JD’80), Wisconsin; F. James Sensenbrenner (JD’68), Wisconsin. Former: M. Bob Carr (’65, JD’68), Michigan; Mark Green (JD’87), Wisconsin; Bob Kastenmeier (LLB’52), Wisconsin; Scott Klug (MBA’90), Wisconsin
  • Governors: James Doyle (’67), Wisconsin; Lee Dreyfus (’49, MA’52, PhD’58), Wisconsin; Phillip Fox La Follette (LLB’22), Wisconsin; Richard Lamm (’57), Colorado; Patrick Lucey (’46), Wisconsin; Russell Peterson (’38, PhD’42), Delaware; Tommy Thompson (’63, JD’66), Wisconsin; Tony Evers (’73, MS’76, PhD’86)
  • Former Mayors: Sue Bauman (’65, JD’81, MS’81), Madison; Dave Cieslewicz (’81), Madison; Laura Miller (’80), Dallas, John Norquist (’71, M’88), Milwaukee; Paul Soglin (’66, JD’72), Madison; Sergio Fajardo Valderrama (MA’81, PhD’84), Medellín, Colombia.
  • Others: Iajuddin Ahmed (MS’58, PhD’62), former president of Bangladesh
  • Thomas Barnett (’84), Pentagon adviser, senior strategic researcher, Naval War College
  • Charlene Barshefsky (’72), former U.S. trade representative
  • Jodie (Joan) Zeldes Bernstein (’48), former director, Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection
  • Cecil Blake (PhD’76), former chief government spokesperson, minister of information and broadcasting, Sierra Leone
  • Lynne Vincent Cheney (PhD’70), spouse of vice president Dick Cheney (PhDx’68), former head, National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Florence Chenoweth (MS’70, PhD’86), former minister of Agriculture in Liberia
  • Piyabutr Cholvijarn (’72), president of Kenan Institute of Asia, former president and CEO of Union Bank of Bangkok.
  • Ada Deer (’57), former head of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • Lawrence Eagleburger (’52, MS’57), former secretary of state, diplomat
  • Abdel Rahman Hamad (MS’72, PhD’75), former Palestinian minister of housing
  • JoAnn Jones (’82, MS’83, JD’87), former president, Ho-Chunk Nation
  • Richard Jones (MS’76, PhD’80), former ambassador to Lebanon
  • Robert M. La Follette (1879), former Wisconsin governor and congressman, leader of Progressive movement
  • John Lange (’71, JD’75), former ambassador to Botswana
  • Jon Leibowitz (’80), lawyer who served as chair of the Federal Trade Commission
  • Patrick Lucey (’46), former U.S. ambassador to Mexico
  • Doris Meissner (’63, MA’69), former head, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service
  • Gaylord Nelson (LLB’42), former Wisconsin governor and U.S. Senator, founder of Earth Day
  • Vel Phillips (LLB’51), first woman and African American elected to Milwaukee’s Common Council, first African American judge in Wisconsin, first woman and African American to serve as Wisconsin’s secretary of state
  • Joy Newberger Picus (’51), former Los Angeles city council member
  • Kate Hamilton Pier (LLB1887), attorney and first woman in the U.S. to be granted a judicial appointment (commissioner of Milwaukee County Circuit Court)
  • Conchita Poncini-Jimenez (MS’64), former president, Non-Governmental Organizations Committee on the Status of Women
  • Rafael Rangel-Sostmann (MS’67, PhD’73), former rector of Mexico’s Monterrey Institute of Technology
  • Daniel Speckhard (’80, MA’82, MS’83), former ambassador to the Republic of Belarus
  • Tommy Thompson (’63, JD’66), former U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services
  • Hung-mao Tien (MA’66, PhD’69), former minister of foreign affairs, Taiwan
  • Frances Ulmer (’69, JD’72), former lieutenant governor, Alaska
  • Jean Wilkowski (’44), former ambassador, 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient
  • Yeshey Zimba (’75, MA’76), former prime minister, Bhutan

Journalism and Media

  • Lynsey Addario (’95), Pulitzer Prize–winning photojournalist known for war photography
  • Stephen E. Ambrose (’57, PhD’63), author, biographer, historian
  • Avi (Edward Wortis) (’59, MA’62), children’s author, Newbery Medal winner
  • Lowell Bergman (’66), former 60 Minutes producer, Pulitzer Prize winner as New York Times journalist
  • Deborah Blum (MA’82), author, Pulitzer Prize winner
  • Walt Bogdanich (’75), 60 Minutes producer, New York Times investigative editor, Pulitzer Prize winner, 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient
  • Steven Bornstein (’74), chair, GO.com; former head of ABC Sports
  • Rita Braver (’70), national reporter, CBS News
  • William Broad (MA’77), Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter, New York Times
  • Jane Brody (MS’63), health columnist, New York Times
  • Christopher Bury (MA’77), former correspondent and backup anchor for ABC News’ Nightline, now with Al Jazeera America
  • Kelly Cobiella (’93), CBS Evening News correspondent
  • John Darnton (’67), Pulitzer Prize winner and writer for the New York Times
  • William Evjue (x1906), founder of the Capital Times
  • Jason Gay (’92), Wall Street Journal sports columnist and rabid Badger fan
  • John Geddes (MA’76), comanaging editor, New York Times
  • Peter Greenberg (’72), chief travel correspondent, Travel Channel; travel editor, Today
  • Jeff Greenfield (’64), news analyst, CNN
  • Ina Jaffe (’72), NPR correspondent
  • Carrie Johnson (MA’96), NPR justice correspondent
  • Haynes Johnson (MS’56), author and journalist; former columnist, Washington Post; Pulitzer Prize winner
  • Kay Koplovitz (’67), former president and CEO, USA network
  • Belle Case La Follette (1879, LLB 1885), journalist, Progressive movement leader
  • Dale Lang (’55), former chair, Lang Communications (publishes Working Woman)
  • David Maraniss (x’71), Pulitzer Prize–winning associate editor, Washington Post; author
  • Bruce (Rudy) Martzke (’64), former sports columnist, USA Today
  • Patricia McConnell (’81, MS’84, PhD’88), former cohost, Calling All Pets, Wisconsin Public Radio; author
  • Robert D. McFadden (’60), Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter, New York Times
  • Karl E. Meyer (’51), editor, World Policy Journal; former reporter, member of editorial board, New York Times
  • Edwin Newman (’40), author, journalist
  • Eric Newhouse (’67), Pulitzer Prize winner
  • Pongsak Payakvichien (MA’71), Thai newspaper-journalism pioneer
  • David Pittle (MS’65, PhD’69), former senior vice president of technical policy, Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports
  • Manu Raju (’02), senior congressional correspondent for CNN
  • Steven Raymer (’67, MA’71), former director, National Geographic Society News Service
  • Ben Relles (’97), head of unscripted programming, YouTube Originals (got his start with “Obama Girl” video)
  • Rhonda Wolter Rowland (’84), video producer and former CNN medical correspondent
  • Richard Schickel (’55), book author; former movie critic, Time/Life
  • Anthony Shadid (’90), journalist, Washington Post; Pulitzer Prize winner
  • Leonard Shapiro (’68), former sports columnist, Washington Post
  • William Siemering (’56, MS’60), a founder of National Public Radio, creator of All Things Considered
  • Robert Sims (MA’71), former executive vice president, National Geographic Society
  • Steven Smith (’72), former CEO, Journal Communications, Milwaukee
  • Alair Townsend (MS’64), former vice president and publisher, Crain’s New York Business
  • Greta Van Susteren (’76), attorney and former TV news anchor for CNN, Fox News, and NBC News; now political analyst with Gray Television.
  • Mitchell Waldrop (PhD’75, MA’77), author, public affairs specialist, National Science Foundation
  • Patricia K. Wells (MA’72), cookbook editor and author; restaurant critic; former food editor, International Herald Tribune
  • Michael Wilmington (x’68), movie critic, Chicago Tribune
  • Jonathan Wolman (’72), former editor and publisher, Detroit News, and former executive editor and vice president, Associated Press
  • David Zweifel (’62), editor emeritus, Capital Times, Madison
  • Robert Leroy Bartley MS’62; editorial-page editor of The Wall Street Journal for more than 30 years

Justice

  • Shirley Abrahamson (DJS’62), chief justice, Wisconsin Supreme Court
  • William Bablitch (’63, JD’68), former justice, Wisconsin Supreme Court
  • Ann Walsh Bradley (JD’76), justice, Wisconsin Supreme Court
  • Louis Butler (JD’77), first African American Wisconsin Supreme Court justice
  • William Callow (’43, LLB’48), retired Wisconsin Supreme Court justice
  • Barbara B. Crabb (’60, LLB’62), chief U.S. district judge (semiretired), Western District of Wisconsin
  • Judith Dobkin (’65), prosecuting attorney, Chicago Justice Department Strike Force
  • James Doyle (’67), former attorney general, State of Wisconsin
  • Nathan S. Heffernan (’42, LLB’48), chief justice (retired), Wisconsin Supreme Court
  • Richard B. Lowe III (’64), former justice, New York Supreme Court
  • David T. Prosser Jr. (JD’68), former justice, Wisconsin Supreme Court
  • Donald W. Steinmetz (’49, JD’51), former justice, Wisconsin Supreme Court
  • B. Van Hollen (JD’90), former attorney general, State of Wisconsin
  • Jon P. Wilcox (JD’65), former justice, Wisconsin Supreme Court
  • Kashoua Kristy Yang (JD”08), judge, Milwaukee Circuit Court; first Hmong American female judge in the nation

Medicine

  • Helen Dickie (’35, MD’37), pulmonologist who helped identify “farmer’s lung” and helped eradicate TB on campus; one of the UW’s first female faculty members
  • Harriett Goldhor Lerner (’66), psychologist, author
  • Abraham Maslow (’30, MA’31), psychologist, devised “hierarchy of needs” theory
  • Eilzabeth McCoy (’25, PhD’29), noted microbiologist who helped identify the first marketable strain of penicillin
  • Ann McKee (’75), expert in degenerative brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)
  • Karl Menninger (’14, MS’15), psychiatrist; founder, Menninger Clinic
  • Linnea Smith (’81, MD’84), founder and medical director of Yanomono Medical Clinic in Peru, 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient
  • Kevin Thao (’06, MD’10, MPh’11), physician, Aspirus Wausau Family Medicine; faculty associate, UW Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

Nonprofit Leaders

  • Paula Bonner (MS’78), former president and CEO, Wisconsin Alumni Association
  • Josh Bycel (’93), founder, OneKidOneWorld, 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient
  • Kaleem Caire (’00) and Lisa Peyton-Caire (’96, MS’99), cofounders, Next Generation Education Foundation; 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients
  • Sarah Coglianese (’00), creator of #WhatWouldYouGive campaign
  • Abigail David, (’96, MS’98), director, Helping Hands Center; 2009 Forward under 40 Award recipient
  • Clayt Freed (’97), founder and director, Progressive Voter Network; 2009 Forward under 40 Award recipient
  • Shihoko Fujiwara (’03), coordinator with the Polaris Project, nonprofit organization that combats human trafficking; 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient
  • Matthew Geck (’92, MD’96), founder, SpineHope; 2009 Forward under 40 Award recipient
  • Zainab Ghadiyali (’12), cofounder of Wogrammer
  • Shana Hazan (’02), chief development officer, Jewish Family Services of San Diego
  • James Kass (’91), founder, Youth Speaks; 2008 Forward under 40 Award recipient
  • Steven Olikara (’12), founder and president, Millennial Action Project
  • Janet Olson (’92), founder, Basic Animal Rescue Training; 2008 Forward under 40 Award recipient
  • Roberto Rivera (’04), founder of Chicago-based The Good Life Organization
  • Ben Schumaker (’03, MS’06), founder, The Memory Project; 2008 Forward under 40 Award recipient
  • Kathy Dwyer Southern (BBA’68, MA’72), former president and CEO, Capitol Children’s Museum, Washington, D.C.
  • Zoe Timms (’97), director, Women’s Education Program; 2009 Forward under 40 Award recipient
  • Neil Willenson (’92), CEO and founder, One Heartland; 2009 Forward under 40 Award recipient
  • Jake Wood (’05), founder of Team Rubicon, which mobilizes volunteers after natural disasters

Science

  • Fay Ajzenberg-Selove (MS’49, PhD’52), physicist, recipient of 2007 National Medal of Science
  • Matthew Aliota (’05, PhD’10), expert in tropical mosquito-borne diseases including the Zika virus
  • Ethel K. Allen (’28, MS’30), coauthor of the “encyclopedia” of the role of legumes in nitrogen fixation
  • John Bardeen (’28, MS’29), winner, two Nobel Prizes in physics
  • Günter Blobel (PhD’67), winner, 1999 Nobel Prize in medicine; head of cell biology lab at Rockefeller University in Manhattan
  • Laurel Clark (’83, MD’87), astronaut, space shuttle Columbia
  • Raymond Damadian (’56), inventor, magnetic resonance imager for diagnosis
  • Hector DeLuca (MS’53, PhD’55), UW faculty, pioneer in synthesizing vitamin D
  • Matthew Desmond (MS’04, PhD’10), Princeton sociologist who won a 2016 Pulitzer for the book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
  • Carl Djerassi (PhD’45), chemist, Stanford University professor; “father of the birth control pill”; novelist; playwright
  • James Dumesic (’71), discovered process for turning biomass into hydrogen
  • Conrad Elvehjem (’23, MS’24, PhD’27), former UW professor and president; discovered cure for pellagra
  • Thelma Estrin (’48, MS’49, PhD’52), pioneering engineer who introduced computing technology into medical research
  • Alice Evans MS1910, dairy researcher who was key in the advent of pasteurization
  • Fran Hamerstrom (MS’40), pioneering wildlife ecologist who was one of the first women in the field, known for her research on raptors
  • David M. Jacobs (MA’68, PhD’73), retired Temple University historian and ufologist known for his research and books on alleged alien abductions
  • Sr. Mary Kenneth Keller (PhD’65), computer science pioneer who was the nation’s first woman (and possibly first person, male or female) to earn a PhD in computer science
  • Jack St. Clair Kilby (MS’50), physicist; inventor; winner, Nobel Prize in physics
  • Charles Lindbergh (x’24), aviator who completed the first solo trans-Atlantic flight
  • Karl Paul Link (’22, MS’23, PhD’25), discovered blood thinner dicumerol
  • Jim Lovell (x’50), astronaut, Apollo 13 mission
  • Alan MacDiarmid (MS’52, PhD’53), professor, University of Pennsylvania; winner, Nobel Prize in chemistry
  • John Muir (x1863), naturalist, father of national park system
  • John Allen Paulos (’67, PhD’74), mathematician; author of 1989 bestseller, Innumeracy
  • George Schaller (MS’57, PhD’62), animal behaviorist
  • Brewster Shaw (’68, MS’69), astronaut, space shuttle Columbia; former director, Space Shuttle Operations, NASA,
  • Fredrick J. Stare (’31, MS’33, PhD’34), founder of Harvard’s department of nutrition
  • Harry Steenbock (MS’10, PhD’16), professor, discovered and patented vitamin D irradiation method
  • Adam Steltzner (PhD’99), one of NASA’s top engineers who is leading the effort to find life on Mars
  • Paulina Stowhas (MS’15), veterinarian and expert on human-wildlife conflicts
  • Margaret (Maggie) Turnbull (’98), astronomer who specializes in looking for life on habitable planets
  • Stephen Turner (’91), founder and chief technology officer of Pacific Biosciences, 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient
  • Rupa Valdez (’03, MS’07, PhD’12), assistant professor, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Virginia; founder, Blue Trunk Foundation