Meet Our Alumni

Names you may recognize

The list of Berkeley alumni reads like a Who’s Who of the most accomplished people in the world. Your fellow Cal graduates include 24 Nobel laureates (20 of them L&S alumni), as well as Olympians, heads of state and political leaders, novelists, entrepreneurs, entertainers and so many more than we can list.

Below are some of the most famous alumni of UC Berkeley. They represent only a quick snapshot of the great success stories that have come out our university.

Short list of famous Cal alumni on the UC Berkeley website

Heads of State

  • Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, B.A. 1950 - President of Pakistan (1971-1973), Prime Minister of Pakistan (1973-1977)
  • Prince Johan-Friso of Orange-Nassau (attended 1986-1988) - Prince of Orange-Nassau, Netherlands; second son of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Prince Claus von Amsberg 
  • Sun Ke, B.A. 1916 - Premier of the Republic of China, President of National Chiao Tung University, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Soochow University 
  • Francisco I. Madero (attended 1892-1893) - President of Mexico (1911-1913) 
  • Haakon Magnus, Crown Prince of Norway, B.A. 1999 - heir to the throne of Norway 
  • Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, M.A. 1966, Ph.D. 1966 - President of Costa Rica (1998-2002)

Elected Officials (U.S. governors, congressmen, mayors)

  • James H. Budd, 1873 - Governor of California
  • Edmund G. Jerry Brown Jr., B.A. 1961 - Governor of California, Mayor of Oakland, California
  • Jennifer Granholm, B.A. 1984 - Governor of Michigan (2003-present)
  • Earl Warren, B.A. 1912, J.D. 1914 - Attorney General of California, 1939-1943; Governor of California, 1943-1953; 14th Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1953-1969
  • Pete Wilson, J.D. 1962 - U.S. Senator, Governor of California
  • Dick Ackerman, B.A. 1964 - California State Senate Republican Leader
  • Susan Davis, B.A. 1965 - Congresswoman (D-CA) (2001-present)
  • Ron Dellums, M.S.W. 1962 – Congressman (D-Oakland), Oakland Mayor
  • William F. Knowland, B.A. 1929 - U.S. Senator
  • Barbara Lee, M.S.W. 1975 - Congresswoman (D-Oakland) (1998-present)
  • Robert Matsui, B.A. 1963 – Congressman (D-California)
  • Doris Matsui, B.A. 1966 – Congresswoman, replacing her decreased husband, Robert Matsui
  • Cynthia McKinney, Ph.D. candidate - Congresswoman (D-Georgia)
  • Linda Sanchez, B.A. 1991 - Congresswoman (2002-present)
  • Dalip Singh Saund, M.A. 1922, Ph.D. 1924 - first Indian American Congressman (D-California) (1957-1963), mathematician
  • Shirley Dean, B.A. 1956 - Mayor of Berkeley, California (1994-2002)
  • Lionel Wilson, B.A. 1938 - first African American Mayor of Oakland


  • Amir Aczel, B.A. 1975, M.S. 1976 - popular mathematics writer.
  • Susan Alcorn, B.A. 1974 - writer, author of We're in the Mountains Not over the Hill: Tales and Tips from Seasoned Women Backpackers (2003), Camino Chronicle: Walking to Santiago (2006).
  • Robert Baer (attended) - author of the memoir See No Evil (2003), which served as the basis of the movie Syriana (2005). George Clooney's Academy Award winning performance is loosely based on Baer
  • David Brock, B.A. 1985 - political author (The Real Anita Hill [1993], Blinded by the Right [2002], The Republican Noise Machine [2004])
  • Jeff Chang, B.A. 1989 - hip-hop journalist and political activist; author of Can't Stop, Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation (2005) (American Book Award)
  • James Chapman, B.A. 1978 - novelist
  • Beverly Cleary, B.A. 1938 - author of books for children and young adults • Sara Davidson, 1962 - author
  • Tiffanie DeBartolo, B.A. 1992 - author of God-Shaped Hole and How To Kill A Rock Star, and writer/director of Dream For An Insomniac
  • Philip K. Dick (attended) - science fiction author whose stories were made into the movies Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, Paycheck, Screamers and A Scanner Darkly
  • Joan Didion, B.A. 1956 - writer, author of Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968), The White Album (1979), and The Year of Magical Thinking (2005)
  • Barbara Guest, B.A. 1943 - sole female member of the modernist New York School of poets; awarded the Frost Medal for Lifetime Achievement by the Poetry Society of America (1999)
  • Christopher Kasparek, 1966 - author, translator
  • Maxine Hong Kingston, B.A. 1962 - author, Senior Lecturer, recipient of 1997 National Humanities Medal awarded by President of the United States Bill Clinton
  • Jack London (attended 1896-1897) - novelist
  • Greil Marcus, B.A. 1967, M.A. 1968 - cultural and music critic; author of Mystery Train (1975) and Lipstick Traces (1989)
  • Terry McMillan, B.A. 1986 - author (Waiting to Exhale [1992], How Stella Got Her Groove Back [1996])
  • Dhan Gopal Mukerji - first successful Indian man of letters in the United States of America
  • Frank Norris (attended 1890-1894) - American novelist; author of McTeague (1899), which became the basis for the classic 1924 silent film Greed
  • Mary Pipher, B.A. 1969 - author, expert on culture and mental health
  • Anneli Rufus, B.A. 1981 - journalist and author of many books, including Party of One: The Loner's Manifesto
  • Rebecca Solnit, M. Jour. 1984 - author, cultural historian, and activist; books include Wanderlust: A History of Walking (2000) and River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West (2003)
  • Irving Stone, B.A. 1923 - novelist (The Agony and the Ecstasy [1961])
  • Robert Penn Warren, M.A. 1927 - novelist, poet; author of All the King's Men (1946)
  • Mona Simpson, B.A. 1979 - novelist (Anywhere But Here), Guggenheim Fellow, professor at Bard College; biological sister of Steve Jobs (co-founder of Apple Computer)
  • William T. Vollmann, (attended) – novelist

Film and television

  • Kathy Baker, B.A. 1977 - three-time Emmy Award winning actress (Picket Fences [TV series, 1992-1996)]; The Right Stuff [1983], Edward Scissorhands [1990], The Cider House Rules [1999], Cold Mountain [2003])
  • Bill Bixby (attended) - director, actor (The Incredible Hulk)
  • Golden Brooks, B.A. 1994 - film and television actress; currently appears on UPN sitcom, Girlfriends; studied literature and sociology with an emphasis on media representation of minorities at UC Berkeley
  • John Cheng, 1996 - producer, Code Name: The Cleaner
  • John Cho, B.A. 1996 - actor (American Pie [1999], Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle [2004])
  • Jeff Cohen, B.S. 1996 - former actor (Chunk in The Goonies); currently entertainment lawyer
  • Roxann Dawson, B.A. 1980 - actress, director, author, playwright
  • Ralph Edwards, B.A. 1935 - national television star
  • Jon Else, B.A. 1968 - Prix Italia winner (The Day After Trinity), Emmy Award winner, nominated twice for the Academy Award, 1999 winner of the Sundance Film Festival Filmmaker's Trophy, MacArthur Genius Grant Fellow, cinematographer on the Academy Award winning Who Are the DeBolts? And Where Did They Get Nineteen Kids?, professor of journalism at UC Berkeley
  • Carl Franklin, B.A. 1971 - film director (One False Move [1992], Devil in a Blue Dress [1995], High Crimes [2002], Out of Time [2003])
  • Peter Gethers (attended 1970-1972) - screenwriter and author of bestselling Norton the cat trilogy
  • Amos Gitai, Ph.D. (Architecture) 1986 - Israeli film director (Field Diary [1982], Eden [2001], Free Zone [2005])
  • Karen Grassle, B.A. 1965 - actress, best known for her role as Caroline Ingalls (the mother) on the Little House on the Prairie television series • William Hung (attended) - rejected singer from American Idol, acted in film My Crazy Mother (2004), cameo on Arrested Development
  • Oren Jacob, B.S. 1992, M.S. 1995 - Pixar Animation Studios technical director
  • Stacy Keach, B.A. 1963 - actor
  • Adam Lamberg (Class of 2006) - actor (Lizzie McGuire Movie)
  • Sanaa Lathan, B.A. 1992 - actress (Blade [1998], Something New [2006]; Tony Award nomination [2004], Raisin in the Sun)
  • Quentin Lee, B.A. 1992 - Asian-American film director (Shopping for Fangs [1997], Drift [2001], Ethan Mao [2004])
  • Joshua Marston, B.A. 1990 - film director (Maria Full of Grace [2004])
  • Quinn Martin, B.A. 1949 - television producer (The Fugitive, Streets of San Francisco)
  • Jerry Mathers, B.A. 1974 - actor (Leave it to Beaver)
  • Freida Lee Mock, B.A. 1961 - documentary filmmaker, winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1995 (for Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision)
  • Errol Morris (attended philosophy graduate program) - documentary film director (The Thin Blue Line [1988], Fog of War [2003])
  • Gregory Peck, B.A. 1939 - actor, won the Academy Award for portrayal of Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), nominated for the Oscar four other times; served as president of the Screen Actors Guild
  • Walter Plunkett, B.A. 1923 - Academy Award winning costume designer
  • James Schamus, B.A. 1982, M.A. 1987, Ph.D. 2003 - screenwriter and movie producer known for his frequent collaborations with Ang Lee on movies (Eat Drink Man Woman, The Wedding Banquet, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Brokeback Mountain), professor at Columbia University
  • Randi Mayem Singer, B.A. 1979 - writer and producer, Mrs. Doubtfire, Jack and Jill.
  • George Takei, 1959 (attended, later transferred to UCLA) - actor (Star Trek)


  • Leroy Chiao, B.S. 1983
  • Tamara E. Jernigan, M.S. 1985
  • Don L. Lind, Ph.D. 1964
  • Brian T. O'Leary, Ph.D. 1967
  • Margaret Rhea Seddon, B.A. 1970
  • James van Hoften, B.S. 1966 -
  • Rex Walheim, B.S. 1984
  • Mary Weber, Ph.D. 1988


For full list, see For a full list, see Cal Bear’s Olympians’ site

  • Matt Biondi, B.A. 1988 - three-time Olympian, winner of 8 gold medals
  • Hubert A. Caldwell, 1929 - Olympic crew, 1928 gold medalist
  • Peter Cipollone, B.A. 1994 - Coxswain for the gold medal winning rowing team at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece
  • Natalie Coughlin, B.A. 2005 - Olympic swimmer, winner of two gold medals at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, three-time NCAA Swimmer of the Year
  • Joy Fawcett, B.A. 1992 - member of the gold winning United States women's soccer team at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, and the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta
  • Michele Granger, B.A. 1993 - softball pitcher and Olympic gold medalist
  • Mark Henderson (swimmer), 1991 - swimmer, gold medalist at the 1996 Summer Olympics where he broke the world record in the 400 meter medley swimming relay
  • Mary T. Meagher, B.A. 1987 - Olympic swimmer, winner of three gold medals;'s 100 Greatest Women Athletes (ranked 17th)
  • Jonny Moseley (currently enrolled) - Gold Medalist in 1998 Winter Olympics
  • Conie Carpenter Phinney, B.A. 1981 - cycling gold medalist in 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California
  • Alvin F. Rylander, 1928 - Olympic crew, 1928 gold medalist
  • Staciana Stitts, 2003 - Olympic swimmer, gold medalist in 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia
  • Helen Wills, B.A. 1925 - all time great tennis player; singles winner of eight Wimbledon titles, seven U.S. Open Championships, four French Opens, and two Olympic gold medals

Baseball, Basketball, and Football Players

  • Geoff Blum - professional baseball player with the San Diego Padres
  • Conor Jackson - professional baseball player with the Arizona Diamondbacks Jackie Jensen - professional baseball player
  • Jeff Kent - professional baseball player with the Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Xavier Nady - baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB)
  • Tyler Walker - professional baseball player for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays
  • Shareef Abdur-Rahim - National Basketball Association (NBA) player with the Sacramento Kings
  • Kevin Johnson, B.A. 1987 - professional NBA basketball player
  • Jason Kidd (attended) - professional basketball player with the New Jersey Nets
  • Lamond Murray - NBA forward currently playing for the New Jersey Nets
  • Leon Powe - Drafted in 2006 by Denver Nuggets and then traded to Boston Celtics
  • Jamal Sampson - professional basketball player currently playing for Denver Nuggets
  • J.J. Arrington - National Football League (NFL) running back with the Arizona Cardinals
  • Nnamdi Asomugha - NFL defensive back for the Oakland Raiders
  • Steve Bartkowski - NFL QB #1 overall NFL draft pick of 1975, NFL Rookie of the Year, 2-time Pro Bowler
  • David Binn - 1995 National Football League longsnapper with the San Diego Chargers
  • Kyle Boller - quarterback for Baltimore Ravens (NFL)
  • Doug Brien - 1994 National Football League kicker
  • Andre Carter - defensive end for the Washington Redskins.
  • Herman Edwards - current head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs
  • Scott Fujita, B.A. 2001, M.A. 2002 - linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys  
  • Tarik Glenn, B.A. 1999 - offensive tackle for Indianapolis Colts
  • Tony Gonzalez - National Football League Tight End with the Kansas City Chiefs
  • Joe Kapp, 1960 [8] - professional football player
  • Ryan Longwell - National Football League kicker with the Minnesota Vikings
  • Aaron Merz, B.A. 2005 - National Football League guard for the Buffalo Bills
  • Harry Vance "Chuck" Muncie - National Football League - Running back for the New Orleans Saints and the San Diego Chargers.
  • Ryan O'Callaghan - National Football League guard with the New England Patriots
  • Deltha O'Neal - National Football League cornerback with the Cincinnati Bengals
  • Jeremy Newberry - center for the San Francisco 49ers.
  • Hardy Nickerson,B.A. 1989 - All-Pro NFL linebacker
  • Marvin Philip - National Football League lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Roy Riegels - Member of the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame, famed for 1929 Rose Bowl where he was dubbed "Wrong Way"
  • Aaron Rodgers - quarterback of the Green Bay Packers
  • Andrew L. Smith - Head Coach of the powerhouse Cal football teams of the 1920s.
  • Iheanyi Uwaezuoke, former NFL wide receiver


Olympian Natalie Coughlin, ‘05


A Concord, Calif. native, swimmer Natalie Coughlin took home five medals at the 2004 Olympics, an accomplishment that made her only the third American woman to win five medals in a single Olympics. She is the world-record holder in the 100-meter backstroke and was also named NCAA Swimmer of the Year in 2001, 2002 and 2003. While at Cal, Coughlin successfully balanced 4.5 years of academics, majoring in psychology, while training for the Olympics.


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Chez Panisse's Alice Waters


watersAlice Waters opened her Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse in 1971, just four years after she graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in French Cultural Studies. California cuisine would never be the same. More than anyone else, Waters is responsible for the idea that the food we eat should be grown locally using sustainable, organic methods. The recipient of numerous culinary awards, Chez Panisse is still the favorite destination of visiting celebrities as well as Berkeley students with something to celebrate — and deep pockets.

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| Updated: Jan 25, 2010