The 30 Most Famous Harvard Students Of All Time

Natalie Portman

Harvard seems to pump out an extraordinary number of accomplished individuals. So, we decided to put together a comprehensive list of the most famous Harvard students of all-time.

John Adams (October 30, 1735-July 4, 1826)

An American politician, John Adams was the country's second President (1797-1801), and first Vice President (1789-1797) for two terms. Adams was one of the original Founding Fathers, and played a lead role in the early stages of the American Revolution. He is famous for his part in persuading the Continental Congress to adopt the Declaration of Independence, negotiating a peace treaty with Great Britain, and obtaining important loans from Amsterdam. In addition, he was responsible for signing the Alien and Sedition acts, and resolving the Quasi-War crisis with France in 1798. Adams eventually became the father of John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States.

John Quincy Adams (July 11, 1767-February 23, 1848)

John Quincy Adams was the sixth U.S. President (1825-1829). As an American diplomat, he served in both the Senate and House of Representatives, was involved in international negotiations, and helped formulate the Monroe Doctrine in his role as Secretary of State. He was also known as a member of the Federalist, Democratic-Republican, National Republican, Anti-Masonic, and Whig parties. After leaving presidential office, he was elected to be a U.S. Massachusetts Representative, and held that position for the last 17 years of his life.

Rutherford B. Hayes (October 4, 1822-January 17, 1893)

An American politician, lawyer, and military leader, Rutherford Birchard Hayes served as the 19th President of the United States (1877-1881). Hayes had a highly disputed election, decided by a congressional commission, and won by one electoral vote. His notable acts of legislation include the Compromise of 1877, Desert Land Act (1877), Bland-Allison Act (1878), and Timber and Stone Act (1878). From the end of his presidency until his death on January 17, 1893, he held a position on Ohio State University's Board of Trustees.

Theodore Roosevelt (October 27, 1858-January 6, 1919)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882-April 12, 1945)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, often referred to as FDR, was the only American president elected to more than two terms, serving in office from 1933-1945. He was also the 44th Governor of New York (January 1, 1929-December 31, 1932), Assistant Secretary of the Navy (1913-1920), and New York State Senator (January 1, 1911-March 17, 1913). Leading the country during worldwide economic crisis, FDR was involved with the creation of new jobs for the unemployed, and direct assistance to individuals. During World War II, he provided assistance to countries fighting against Nazi Germany, mostly Great Britain.

Stanley Marcus (April 20, 1905-January 22, 2002)

Harold Stanley Marcus served as CEO of Neiman Marcus (Dallas-based luxury specialty retail department store) from 1973-1994. He is remembered as an important historical figure, involved with the development of American retail merchandising and marketing. In addition, he wrote a 15-year weekly column for The Dallas Morning News, and authored several retailing-oriented books, including Minding the Store: A Memoir (1974), the sequel Quest for the Best (1979), and His & Hers: The Fantasy World of the Neiman Marcus Catalogue (1982). His community knew him as a civic leader, and avid fine arts patron.

John F. Kennedy (May 29, 1917-November 22, 1963)

Sumner Redstone (born May 27, 1923)

Since 1967, Sumner Murray Redstone has been CEO of National Amusements, Inc., a privately owned media and entertainment company. Through National Amusements, Redstone and his family maintain majority ownership of CBS Corporation, Viacom, MTV Networks, BET, Paramount Pictures, and DreamWorks, as well as equal partnership of In 2007, Forbes magazine ranked him as #86 on its list of the world's 100 richest people. His current net worth is estimated to be 2.4 billion dollars.

Jack Lemmon (February 8, 1925-June 27, 2001)

David Souter (born September 17, 1939)

Until his retirement, David Hackett Souter held the office of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, from October 3, 1990-June 29, 2009. He previously served as Deputy Attorney General of New Hampshire (1971-1976), Attorney General of New Hampshire (1976-1978), Associate Justice of the New Hampshire Superior Court (1978-1983), Associate Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court (1983-1990), and Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (1990). A member on various hospital boards and civic committees, Souter was also a former honorary co-chair of the We the People National Advisory Committee. The Washington Post once reported him as one of Washington's 10 Most Eligible Bachelors.

John Lithgow (born October 19, 1945)

John Arthur Lithgow has worked within the media as an actor, musician, and author. His acting reputation is most famous for portraying Dr. Dick Solomon on NBC's 3rd Rock from the Sun, Arthur Mitchell on Showtime's Dexter, and Reverend Shaw Moore in Footloose. Lithgow appeared in several stage productions, both on and Off-Broadway. He has also recorded music, and written short stories and poetry, geared towards the entertainment of children.

George W. Bush (born July 6, 1946)

George Walker Bush was the 43rd President of the United States (2001-2009), 46th Governor of Texas (January 17, 1995-December 21, 2005), and served as a First Lieutenant in the Texas Air National Guard and Alabama Air National Guard (1968-1974). This president was responsible for announcing a global war on terrorism, ordering an invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, and promoting policies on the economy, health care, education, and social security reform. In addition, he signed into law broad tax cuts, the No Child Left Behind Act, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, and Medicare prescription drug benefits for seniors. Bush is the eldest son of the 41st U.S. President, George H.W. Bush.

Tommy Lee Jones (born September 15, 1946)

Thomas 'Tommy' Lee Jones, American actor and film director, has multiple film and television credits, and has played both fictional and real-life characters. He won awards for the following roles: Gary Mark Gilmore (The Executioner's Song), Pete Perkins (The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada), Axeman (A Prairie Home Companion), and Ed Tom Bell (No Country for Old Men). Jones presented the nominating speech for Al Gore, the Democratic Party's U.S. presidential nominee, at the 2000 Democratic National Convention. Gore was his college roommate.

Mitt Romney (born March 12, 1947)

Willard Mitt Romney served as the 70th Governor of Massachusetts from 2003-2007. During his term, he was responsible for a series of spending cuts, increases in fees, and the signing of Massachusetts health care reform legislation. As a candidate for the Republican nomination, he was involved with the 2008 U.S. presidential election, but after winning several caucuses and primaries, ultimately lost to John McCain. Romney successfully handled the 2002 Winter Olympics, working with the Salt Lake organising Committee as its CEO and President.

Al Gore (born March 31, 1948)

James McNerney (born August 22, 1949)

Bill O'Reilly (born September 10, 1949)

Mike Crapo (born May 20, 1951)

Ben Bernanke (born December 13, 1953)

Having assumed office on February 1, 2006, Ben Shalom Bernanke is the current Chairman of the United States Federal Reserve. He previously served on President George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, both as a Fed Governor (2002-2005) and Chairman (2005-2006). He received a fellowship from the Econometric Society (1997), and the Distinguished Leadership in Government Award from Columbia Business School (2008). In 2009, he was named the Time magazine person of the year.

Lloyd Blankfein (born September 20, 1954)

Larry Summers (born November 30, 1954)

Lawrence Henry Summers is an American economist and the Director of the White House's National Economic Council for President Barack Obama. Summers is the Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. He is the 1993 recipient of the John Bates Clark Medal for his work in several fields of economics and was Secretary of the Treasury for the last year and a half of the Clinton Administration. Summers also served as the 27th President of Harvard University from 2001 to 2006.

John Roberts (born January 27, 1955)

John Glover Roberts, Jr. has been the 17th and current Chief Justice of the United States since he assumed office on September 29, 2005. He was originally nominated as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, but when Chief Justice Rehnquist died before his confirmation hearings, President George W. Bush renominated Roberts to fill the vacated seat. From 2003-2005, he served as a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, appointed to the position by Bush. At 50, Roberts became the youngest member of the Supreme Court, and the third-youngest person to have ever become Chief Justice.

Bill Gates (born October 28, 1955)

Jennifer Granholm (born February 5, 1959)

On January 1, 2003, Jennifer Mulhern Granholm became the 47th and current Governor of Michigan, as well as the first female to hold the office. Previously, Granholm served as the 51st Michigan Attorney General (1999-2003), has been mentioned as a potential Supreme Court Justice (2009), and was a member of the transition team for Barack Obama's presidency (2009). A member of the Democratic Party, she is currently in her second term as Governor, which began on January 1, 2007. She is affiliated with the National Governors Association, Health and Human Services Committee, and Health Care Task Force of the National Governors Association.

Barack Obama (born August 4, 1961)

Felipe Calderon (born August 18, 1962)

On December 1. 2006, Felipe de Jesus Calderon Hinojosa assumed office as the current President of Mexico. Throughout the course of his term, Calderon has worked to reform the state judicial system, strengthen the energy sector, increase jobs, and fight crime and drug cartels. His career has been involved with the National Action Party (PAN), serving in various positions. He was elected for one six-year term, without the possibility of re-election, ending in 2012.

Ashley Judd (born April 19, 1968)

Ashley Judd, an American actress, is famous for her work in films, such as Double Jeopardy, High Crimes, Kiss the Girls, Ruby in Paradise, and Where the Heart Is. She is the daughter of country music singer Naomi Judd, and younger half-sister to Wynonna, also a country music singer. After dating baseball player Brady Anderson, singer Michael Bolton, and actor Matthew McConaughey, she became engaged and married to Scottish auto racer Dario Franchitti. Judd is active in humanitarian and political causes, and speaks and demonstrates at pro-choice events.

Matt Damon (born October 8, 1970)

Natalie Portman (born June 9, 1981)

Natalie Portman an Israeli American actress, achieved wide fame for her role as Padme Amidala in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. She has won awards for her work in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Closer, and V for Vendetta. Portman made a directorial debut in Eve, which opened at the 65th Venice International Film Festival's shorts competition, held in 2008. She is scheduled to produce and star in the upcoming novel adaptation Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Mark Zuckerberg (born May 14, 1984)

Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is an entrepreneur best known for founding the popular social networking site Facebook while attending Harvard. He is currently one of the youngest billionaires in the world with personal wealth of $4 billion in 2010.

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