Notable Alumni


K.S. “Boots” Adams, ’21
Former president and CEO of Phillips 66 Petroleum Co.
Adams Alumni Center, of which he was a major donor, is named for him

Forrest C. “Phog” Allen
“Father of Basketball Coaching,” KU coach (1919-56, national championships 1921, 1922, 1952)
Creator of NCAA basketball tournament, coached by James Naismith at KU

John Allen, Jr., g’92,
Senior Vatican analyst, CNN; senior correspondent, National Catholic Reporter

Master Sgt. Gerry Amoury, d’86
U.S. Army

Sheila Bair, c’75, l’78
Chairwoman, FDIC (2006-11); recipient, Honorary Degree, 2012

Scott Bakula, ’79
Actor (TV’s “Quantum Leap,” “Star Trek: Enterprise,” “NCIS: New Orleans”)

Etta Moten Barnett, f’31
Actress and singer, first African-American woman to entertain at the White House

David G. Booth, c’68, c’69
Co-founder of Dimensional Fund Advisors; owner of James Naismith’s original 13 rules of basketball

General Charles “Chuck” Boyd, USAF, c’75, g’76
Deputy Commander US European Command, Vietnam Prisoner of War from 1966 to 1973; recipient of Air Force Cross, Silver Star and Purple Heart.

Bradley Brooks, j’98
Brazil Bureau Chief, the Associated Press

George L. Brown, j’50
First African-American elected lieutenant governor in the U.S. (1974)
First African-American elected to statewide office in Colorado

Anand Burman, g’77, g’81, g’81
Chairman, Dabur India

Cynthia Carroll, g’82
Former CEO of Anglo-American

Mary Carter, j’86
Pulitzer Prize winning-journalist

Wilt Chamberlain, ’59
NBA superstar (1959-73), Philadelphia/San Franciso Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers

Michael Chavez, g’02

Leonard W. Clark, Jr., l’73

Marla Younge Clark, e’88
Director of quality assurance, Nike IHM

Rich Clarkson, j’55

Evan S. Connell, c’47
Novelist and poet

Linda Zarda Cook, e’80
Former executive director of Shell Gas & Power and CEO of Shell Canada

Jon Cornish, c’07
Professional football player, Canadian Football League

Dale R. Corson, g’35
President, Cornell University (1969-77), physicist who discovered basic element astatine (AT)

Sarah Deer, c’96, l’99
Professor in the Department of Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies and the School of Public Affairs & Administration in the KU College of Liberal Arts & Sciences; 2017 KU Women’s Hall of Fame inductee; and MacArthur Fellowship recipient

Bob Dole, ’45
Kansas senator (1966-96), U.S. Senate majority leader, presidential and vice presidential nominee
Honorary Degree, 2012

Bob Dotson, j’68
Award-winning NBC News correspondent and author

Robert Eaton, e’63
Former CEO of Chrysler Corp.

Joe Engle, e’55
Former NASA astronaut, Enterprise and Columbia shuttle commander

Terry Evans, f’68
Award-winning photographer, Honorary Degree, 2016

Paul R. Ehrlich, g’55, g’57
Environmental scientists, population expert, author and MacArthur Fellow

Ronald Evans, e’55
Former NASA astronat, pilot fo Apollo 17 moon mission

Bill Farmer, j’75
Voice actor, voice of Disney’s Goofy; Loony Toons’ Yosemite Sam and Foghorn Leghorn

Patricia Weems Gaston, j’81
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist

Sam Gilliland
Former Chairman and CEO of Sabre Holdings, owner of Travelocity

Nikki Glaser, c’06

James E. Gunn, j’47, g’51
Educator and professor of English at KU, science fiction writer, scholar and anthologist
Hugo Award, 1983; Grand Master, 2007; inducted into Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame, 2015

Moses Gunn, g’89
Stage and film actor, winner Obie Award (Heartbreak Ridge, Roots)

Benjamin D. Hall, c’54
Genetic scientist who co-developed a vaccine for hepatitis B

Ann Hamilton, f’79
Sculptor, installation artist and MacArthur Fellow

Steve Hawley, c’73
Former NASA astronaut, shuttle mission specialist

Erasmus Haworth
KU professor of geology (1892-1920); founder of Kansas Geological Survey (1894)

Daphne Hearn, b’87
Former FBI special agent

Kevin Helliker, c’82
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist

David Hillis, g’83, g’86, g’86
Evolutionary biologist and MacArthur Fellow (1999)

Ada Sue Hinshaw, n’61
First director of the National Institute of Nursing Research at the National Institutes of Health, Honorary Degree, 2015

Dave Hunke, j’74
Chairman, president and publisher, USA Today (2009-12)

William Inge, c’35
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Oscar Award-winning screenwriter

Wes Jackson, g’60
Founder, the Land Institute, MacArthur Fellow, Honorary Degree, 2013

Bill James, c’73, d’75
Baseball sabermetrician and historian (Bill James Baseball Abstracts)

Don Johnson, ’71
Actor, singer, producer

Lt. Gen. William K. “Willie K” Jones, USMC, c’37
Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, Veteran of World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War.  Recipient of Navy Cross, Silver Star and Purple Heart.

Tom Kane, c’85
Voice actor

Nancy Landon Kassebaum, c’54
First female U.S. senator (1979-97) elected in own right without having been preceded in office by her husband

Kenton W. Keith, c’61
U.S. ambassador of Quatar, 1992-95

Clarence Kelley, c’36
FBI director (1973-78)

Bill Kurtis, j’62
Journalist, TV producer and anchor

Alf Landon
26th Kansas Governor (1933-37); 1936 Republican presidential nominee

Neil LaBute, g’89
Film director, screenwriter, playwright

Anne Levinson, c’80
Former co-owner of WNBA team (Seattle Storm)

Delano Lewis, c’60
NPR CEO (1992-98); ambassador to South Africa (1999-2001)

Clyde Lovellette, ’53
Member, 1952 NCAA championship basketball team
First player in history to be a member of NCAA, Olympic and NBA championship team

Deane W. Malott, c’21
Eighth chancellor of KU, president of Cornell University

Curtis Marsh, j’92
Director of KU Info and the DeBruce Center, home of the “Rules of Basket Ball”

David McClain, c’68
President emeritus, University of Hawaii (2004-09)

Brian McClendon, e’86
Co-founder, Google Earth, and senior executive at Uber; now a KU research professor, Honorary Degree, 2016

Elmer V. McCollum
Biochemist and nutritionist, discovered vitamins A, B and D

Johnny McGuire, j’11

John B. McLendon Jr., d’36
First African-American basketball coach at predominantly white university (Cleveland State)
First African-American head coach in professional sports (Cleveland Pipers)

William McNulty, c’01
Iraq War veteran, co-founder of Team Rubicon, Honorary Degree, 2017

Kurt Messersmith, j’89
Executive producer

Billy Mills, g’62
Only American athlete to win the Olympic gold medal in the 10,000 meters (1964)

Lou Montulli, ’94
Co-founder of Netscape; co-authored Lynx text web browser while at KU
Creator of HTTP cookies, the blink tag, server push and client pull, and HTTP proxying

Capt. Thomas Morrow, c’06
Distinguished Marine, won highest honor awarded to Marines, the Leftwich Trophy (2016)

Alan Mulally, e’68, g’69
Former President and CEO of Ford Motor Co.; Honorary Degree, 2012

Janet Murguia, c’82, j’82, l’85
President, National Council of La Raza, largest U.S. Hispanic organization

Franklin W. Murphy, c’36
Ninth chancellor of KU, Chancellor of UCLA

James Naismith
Educator, physician, sports coach and innovator
Invented game of basketball (1891), wrote original rules, founded KU Basketball program

Colleen McCain Nelson, j’97
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.

Chester Nez, ’53
One of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers

Loral O’Hara, e’06
Member of 2017 class of NASA Astronauts

Al Oerter, ’58
Olympian (discus throw), world record holder

Sara Paretsky, c’67
Mystery Novelist, Honorary Degree, 2015

Mandy Patinkin, ’74
Actor, singer

Brooks Perry, d’10

Artur Pizarro
Concert pianist

T.J. Pugh, c’99
Former KU basketball player; Radiation oncologist

Jennifer Ford Reedy, c’95
President of the Bush Foundation

Rob Riggle, c’93
Comedian, actor

Charles “Buddy” Rogers, ’26
Actor, winner of first Academy Award for “Wings”

Daniel Rooney, c’96, g’97
Creator, Folds of Honor Foundation; part-time PGA professional

Paul Rudd, ’92

Thomas Rudkin, c’73
Co-inventor of PowerPoint

Adolph Rupp, c’23
Basketball coach, University of Kentucky; coached by Forrest C. “Phog” Allen

Jim Ryun, j’70
Olympian (track), world record holder
Former member of U.S. House of Representatives from Kansas

Juan Manuel Santos, b’73
President of Colombia, 2016 Nobel Peace Prize winner

Gale Sayers, d’75, g’77
Football running back (Chicago Bears,  1965-71), member of NFL Hall of Fame

Gerald Seib, j’78
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, executive Washington editor, Wall Street Journal

Douglas Shane, e’83
Pilot, director of flight operators for SpaceShipOne

John Sheaks, b’37, g’43

Harry F. Sinclair
Founder, Sinclair Oil

Bruce A. Smith, g’67
CEO of major oil refiner Tesoro (1995-2010)

Dean Smith, d’53
Basketball coach, University of North Carolina (1961-97)
Member of 1952 KU national championship men’s basketball team
Coached by Forrest C. “Phog” Allen

Vernon L. Smith, g’52
Nobel Prize laureate in economics (2002); Honorary Degree, 2014

Capt. Ryan Sparks, c’97
Distinguished marine
Won the highest honor awarded to marines, the Leftwich Trophy (2011)

Marla Spivak, g’89
Scientist, MacArthur Fellow

William Stafford, c’37, g’46

Oscar S. Stauffer, ’21
Journalist, founder Stauffer Communications

Deanell Reece Tacha, c’68
Retired chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit; dean of law, Pepperdine University

Annie Tedesco, c’01

Clyde Tombaugh, c’36, g’39
Astronomer, discovered Pluto (1930)

Kari Wahlgren, c’99
Grammy-winning actress

Rod Ward, g’92
Retired lieutenant colonel, U.S. Army, and founder of PRAY: Provincial Relief Aid for Yolanda

Tim Weaver, g’97
Member of United States Track and Field coaching staff

T.J. Whatley, c’97
Civil engineer, Olson Associates

Kent Whealy, j’68
Co-founder of the Seed Savers Exchange and MacArthur Fellow recipient

JoJo White, ’69
Basketball player

Kevin Willmott
Educator at KU, film director and screen writer

Lynette Woodard, c’81
All-time leading scorer in KU basketball, first female Harlem Globetrotter, now women’s basketball coach, Winthrop University

Gary Woodland, c’07
Professional golfer