The 30 Most Famous Yale Students Of All Time

claire danes

Photo: ap

Recently we ran Wall Street Cheat Sheet’s feature on the most famous Harvard grads of all time.

It was begging for a follow-up…

Eli Whitney earned his B.A. in 1792

Eli Whitney (December 8, 1765 -- January 8, 1825) was an American inventor best known for inventing the cotton gin.

This was one of the key inventions of the Industrial Revolution and shaped the economy of the antebellum South. Whitney's invention made short staple cotton into a profitable crop, which strengthened the economic foundation of slavery. Despite the social and economic impact of his invention, Whitney lost his profits in legal battles over patent infringement, closed his business and nearly filed for bankruptcy.

Source: Wikipedia

James Fenimore Cooper was in the class of 1805, but was expelled

James Fenimore Cooper (September 15, 1789 -- September 14, 1851) was a prolific and popular American writer of the early 19th century. He is best remembered as a novelist who wrote numerous sea-stories and the historical novels known as the Leatherstocking Tales, featuring frontiersman Natty Bumppo. Among his most famous works is the Romantic novel The Last of the Mohicans, often regarded as his masterpiece.

Source: Wikipedia

Samuel F. B. Morse earned his B.A. in 1810

Samuel Finley Breese Morse (27 April 1791 -- 2 April 1872) was an American contributor to the invention of a single-wire telegraph system based on European telegraphs, co-inventor of the Morse code, and a painter of historic scenes.

Source: Wikipedia

William Howard Taft earned his B.A. in 1878

William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857 -- March 8, 1930) was the 27th President of the United States and later the tenth Chief Justice of the United States. He is the only person to have served in both offices.

In his first and only term, President Taft's domestic agenda emphasised trust-busting, civil service reform, strengthening the Interstate Commerce Commission, improving the performance of the postal service, and passage of the Sixteenth Amendment. Abroad, Taft sought to further the economic development of underdeveloped nations in Latin America and Asia through 'Dollar Diplomacy'. However, Taft often alienated his own key constituencies, and was overwhelmingly defeated in his bid for a second term in the presidential election of 1912.

Source: Wikipedia

Harvey Williams Cushing earned his B.A. in 1891

Harvey Williams Cushing, M.D. (April 8, 1869 - October 7, 1939), was an American neurosurgeon and a pioneer of brain surgery, and the first to describe Cushing's syndrome. He is widely regarded as the greatest neurosurgeon of the 20th century and often called the 'father of modern neurosurgery'.

Source: Wikipedia

Cole Porter earned his B.A. in 1913

Cole Albert Porter (June 9, 1891 -- October 15, 1964) was an American composer and songwriter. His works include the musical comedies Kiss Me, Kate, 50 Million Frenchmen, DuBarry Was a Lady and Anything Goes, as well as songs like 'Night and Day', 'I Get a Kick out of You', 'Well, Did You Evah!' and 'I've Got You Under My Skin'. He was noted for his sophisticated, bawdy lyrics, clever rhymes and complex forms. Porter was one of the greatest contributors to the Great American Songbook.

Source: Wikipedia

Juan Trippe earned his B.A. in 1921

Juan Terry Trippe (June 27, 1899 -- April 3, 1981) was an American airline entrepreneur and pioneer, and the founder of Pan American World Airways, one of the world's most prominent airlines of the mid-twentieth century.

Source: WIkipedia

Benjamin Spock earned his B.A. in 1925

Benjamin McLane Spock (May 2, 1903 -- March 15, 1998) was an American pediatrician whose book Baby and Child Care, published in 1946, is one of the biggest best-sellers of all time. Its revolutionary message to mothers was that 'you know more than you think you do.'

Spock was the first pediatrician to study psychoanalysis to try to understand children's needs and family dynamics. His ideas about childcare influenced several generations of parents to be more flexible and affectionate with their children, and to treat them as individuals, whereas the previous conventional wisdom had been that child rearing should focus on building discipline, and that, e.g., babies should not be 'spoiled' by picking them up when they cried.

Source: WIkipedia

Gerald Ford earned his LL.B in 1941

Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. (born Leslie Lynch King, Jr.; July 14, 1913 -- December 26, 2006) was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974. As the first person appointed to the vice-presidency under the terms of the 25th Amendment (after the resignation of Spiro Agnew), when he became President upon Richard Nixon's resignation on August 9, 1974, he became the only President of the United States who was never elected President or Vice-President. Before ascending to the vice-presidency, Ford served nearly 25 years as Representative from Michigan's 5th congressional district, eight of them as the Republican Minority Leader.

Source: Wikipedia

George H. W. Bush earned his B.A. in 1948

George Herbert Walker Bush (born June 12, 1924) was the 41st President of the United States (1989--1993). He was also Ronald Reagan's Vice President (1981--1989), a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.

Source: Wikipedia

William F. Buckley earned his B.A. in 1950

William Frank Buckley, Jr. (November 24, 1925 -- February 27, 2008) was an American conservative author and commentator. He founded the political magazine National Review in 1955, hosted 1,429 episode of the television show Firing Line from 1966 until 1999, and was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist. His writing style was famed for its erudition, wit, and use of uncommon words.

George H. Nash, a historian of the modern American conservative movement, believed that Buckley was 'arguably the most important public intellectual in the United States in the past half century'. 'For an entire generation he was the preeminent voice of American conservatism and its first great ecumenical figure.' Buckley's primary change to politics was the fusion of traditional American political conservatism with laissez-faire economic theory and anti-communism, laying the groundwork for the modern American conservatism of U.S. presidential candidates Barry Goldwater and President Ronald Reagan.

Source: Wikipedia

Paul Newman earned his DRA in 1954

Paul Leonard Newman (January 26, 1925 -- September 26, 2008) was an American actor, film director, entrepreneur, humanitarian, and auto racing enthusiast. He won numerous awards, including an Academy Award for best actor for his performance in the 1986 Martin Scorsese film The colour of Money and eight other nominations, three Golden Globe Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Cannes Film Festival Award, an Emmy award, and many honorary awards. He also won several national championships as a driver in Sports Car Club of America road racing, and his race teams won several championships in open wheel IndyCar racing.

Newman was a co-founder of Newman's Own, a food company from which Newman donated all post-tax profits and royalties to charity. As of October 2008, these donations had exceeded US $280 million.

Source: Wikipedia

Harold Bloom earned his Ph.D. in 1956

Harold Bloom (born July 11, 1930) is an American writer and literary critic, currently Sterling Professor of the Humanities at Yale University. He is known for his defence of 19th-century Romantic poets, his construction of unique but controversial theories of poetic influence, and for advocating an aesthetic approach to literature against feminist, Marxist, New Historicist, poststructuralist (deconstructive and semiotic) literary criticism. Bloom is a 1985 recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship.

Source: Wikipedia

Tom Wolfe earned his Ph.D. in 1957

Thomas Kennerly 'Tom' Wolfe, Jr. (born March 2, 1931, although his Who's Who entry gives his date of birth as March 2, 1930) is a best-selling American author and journalist. He is one of the founders of the New Journalism movement of the 1960s and 1970s.

Source: Wikipedia

Robert Rubin earned his LL.B in 1964

Robert Rubin is a Special Limited Partner with Insight Venture Partners. He served as the U.S. Secretary of Treasury from 1995 to 1999, and joined the Clinton administration in 1993 as a Director of the National Economic Council.

Rubin began his finance career at Goldman Sachs in 1966, and has since served on several boards for economic initiatives. He is the author of An Uncertain World: Tough Choices from Wall Street to Washington.

He has an A.B. in economics from Harvard College and an L.L.B. from Yale Law School.

Source: Blackboard

Bob Woodward earned his B.A. in 1965)

Robert Upshur 'Bob' Woodward (born March 26, 1943) is regarded as one of America's preeminent investigative reporters and non-fiction authors. He has worked for The Washington Post since 1971 as a reporter, and is currently an associate editor of the Post. While a young reporter for The Washington PostCarl Bernstein; the two did much, but not all, of the original news reporting on the Watergate scandal. These scandals led to numerous government investigations and the eventual resignation of President Richard Nixon.

Gene Roberts, the former executive editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer and former managing editor of The New York Times, has called the work of Woodward and Bernstein 'maybe the single greatest reporting effort of all time.'

Source: Wikipedia

Oliver Stone attended the BA program in 1965, but transferred out

From Wikipedia: William Oliver Stone (born September 15, 1946) is an American film director and screenwriter. Stone came to prominence in the late 1980s and the early 1990s as a director with a series of films about the Vietnam War, in which he had participated as an American infantry soldier, and his work continues to focus frequently on contemporary political and cultural issues, often controversially. His work has earned him three Academy Awards. His first Oscar was for Best Adapted Screenplay for Midnight Express (1978). He won Academy Awards for Directing Platoon (1986) and Born on the Fourth of July (1989), both of which were centered on the Vietnam War.

A notable feature of Stone's directing style is the use of many different cameras and film formats, from VHS to 8 mm film to 70 mm film. He sometimes uses several formats in a single scene, as in Natural Born Killers (1994) and JFK (1991).

George W. Bush earned his B.A. in 1968

George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) was the 43rd President of the United States, serving from 2001 to 2009, and the 46th Governor of Texas, serving from 1995 to 2000.

Source: Wikipedia

Stephen A. Schwarzman earned his B.A. in 1969

Stephen A. Schwarzman is the Co-founder, CEO and Chairman of The Blackstone Group, a financial advisory firm. He is involved in the firm since its founding in 1985.

He started his career at Lehman Brothers, where he became Managing Director in 1978. He was mostly focusing on the company's mergers and acquisition business and became the divisions' chairman in 1983.

He has a BA from Yale University and a MBA from Harvard Business School, where he graduated in 1972.

Source: Blackboard

Meryl Streep earned her MFA around 1972

Mary Louise 'Meryl' Streep (born June 22, 1949) is an American actress who has worked in theatre, television, and film. She is widely regarded as one of the most talented and respected movie actors of the modern era.

Streep made her professional stage debut in 1971's The Playboy of Seville, and her screen debut came in the made-for-television movie The Deadliest Season in 1977. In that same year, she made her film debut with Julia. Both critical and commercial success came soon with roles in The Deer Hunter (1978) and Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), the former giving Streep her first Oscar nomination and the latter her first win. She later won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Sophie's Choice (1982).

Streep has received 16 Academy Award nominations, winning two, and 25 Golden Globe nominations, winning seven, more nominations than any other actor in the history of either award. Her work has also earned her two Emmy Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, a Cannes Film Festival award, four New York Film Critics Circle Awards, five Grammy Award nominations, a BAFTA award, an Australian Film Institute Award, and a Tony Award nomination.

Source: Wikipedia

Bill Clinton earned his J.D. in 1973

From Wikipedia: William Jefferson 'Bill' Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III, August 19, 1946) was the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001.

At 46 he was the third-youngest president; only Theodore Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy were younger when entering office. He became president at the end of the Cold War, and as he was born in the period after World War II, he is known as the first baby boomer president.

Clinton was described as a New Democrat and was largely known for the Third Way philosophy of governance that came to epitomize his two terms as president. His policies, on issues such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and welfare reform, have been described as centrist. Clinton presided over the longest period of peace-time economic expansion in American history, which included a balanced budget and a federal surplus, a situation similar to the Roaring Twenties (the Coolidge administration) and the Fabulous Fifties (the Eisenhower administration) both comparable booms happened after each of the two world wars. Later he was impeached for obstruction of justice, but was subsequently acquitted by the U.S. Senate.

Clinton left office with an approval rating at 66%, the highest end of office rating of any president since World War II. Since then, he has been involved in public speaking and humanitarian work. Clinton created the William J. Clinton Foundation to promote and address international causes such as treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS and global warming.

Hillary Rodham Clinton earned her J.D. in 1973

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton (pronounced /ˈhɪləri daɪˈæn ˈrɒdəm ˈklɪntən/; born October 26, 1947) is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009.

As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001. In the 2008 election, Clinton was a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Source: WIkipedia

Paul Krugman earned is B.A. Economics in 1974

Paul Robin Krugman (pronounced /ˈkruːɡmən/; born February 28, 1953) is an American economist, columnist and author. He is Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, Centenary Professor at the London School of Economics, and an op-ed columnist for The New York Times.

In 2008, Krugman won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for his contributions to New Trade Theory and New Economic Geography. He was voted sixth in a 2005 global poll of the world's top 100 intellectuals by Prospect.

Source: Wikipedia

Jim Chanos earned his B.A. in 1980

James S. Chanos is an American hedge fund manager, and is president and founder of Kynikos Associates, a New York City investment company that is focused on short selling.

Chanos is famous for his short sale of Enron and more recently his pessimistic view on China.

Born in 1958 in Milwaukee, of Greek origins, he was schooled at Wylie E. Groves High School and Yale, where he graduated in 1980. In business, he developed an investment strategy based on intensive research into stocks searching for fundamental and large market failures in valuation: typically under-estimated or previously un-reported failings in the business or market of a stock. Followed by committing to a (usually large) short-position which he is willing to hold for long period of time - almost the mirror image of Warren Buffett's reputed 'fundamentals+long stay' investment strategy. Because of this model, his investments function more like those of a whistle-blower than most typical investments. Examples of this include short-selling companies such as Baldwin-United, and more recently, the notorious Enron Corporation.

He rose to fame in the 1980s as a short seller who had a knack of spotting stocks that he thought to be overvalued. After working as an analyst in several firms, he founded Kynikos (Greek for 'cynic') in 1985 as a firm specializing in short selling. A critical position taken at Kynikos was his shorting of Enron.

In October 2000, Chanos started research into the valuation of Enron Corporation. He examined their use of mark to model (opposed to mark-to-market) accounting, which, in Chanos' experience, results in management overstating earnings, as well as what appeared to be a worryingly low (6-7%) return on capital investment. Enron stock declined from $90 in August 2000 to a low of $1 near the end of 2001. Over this period, Chanos was a short seller of Enron during 2001, increasing his short position as more information surfaced. Kynikos profited greatly and Chanos himself became somewhat of a celebrity as a consequence of his early awareness of Enron's problems.

More recently, James Chanos has warned that China's hyperstimulated economy is headed for a crash, rather than the sustained boom that some economists predict. He reiterated his concerns about the stability of Chinese economy, stating that historically analogous evidence points especially to a housing bubble, having mentioned commercial real estate in particular.

Source: Blackboard

Sigourney Weaver earned her MFA in 1974

Jodie Foster earned her B.A. 1985

Alicia Christian 'Jodie' Foster (born November 19, 1962) is an American actress, film director and producer.

Foster began acting in commercials at 3 years old, and her first significant role came in the 1976 film Taxi Driver as the preteen prostitute, Iris, for which she received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She won an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1989 for playing a rape survivor in The Accused. In 1991, she starred in The Silence of the Lambs as Clarice Starling, a gifted FBI trainee, assisting in a hunt for a serial killer. This performance received international acclaim and her second Academy Award for Best Actress. She received her fourth Academy Award nomination for playing a backwoods hermit in Nell (1994). Other popular films include Maverick (1994), Contact (1997), Panic Room (2002), Flightplan (2005), Inside Man (2006), The Brave One (2007) and Nim's Island (2008).

Foster's films have spanned a wide variety of genres, from family films to horror. She has also won three Bafta Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a People's Choice Award, and has received two Emmy nominations.

Source: Wikipedia

Anderson Cooper earned his B.A. in 1989

Anderson Hays Cooper (born June 3, 1967) is an American journalist, author, and television personality. As of 2011 he is the primary anchor of the CNN news show Anderson Cooper 360°. The program is normally broadcast live from a New York City studio; Cooper, however, often broadcasts live on location for breaking news stories.

Source: Wikipedia

Jennifer Connelly attended the BA program around 1990, but transferred out

Jennifer Lynn Connelly (born December 12, 1970) is an American film actress and former child model. She made her motion picture debut in the 1984 crime film Once Upon a Time in America. Although starring as early as a teenager in films such as Labyrinth and Career Opportunities, she gained critical acclaim following her work in the 1998 science fiction film Dark City and the 2000 drama Requiem for a Dream.

In 2002, Connelly won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, as well as the BAFTA and Golden Globe awards for the 2001 biopic A Beautiful Mind. Other film appearances include the 2003 Marvel superhero film Hulk, the 2005 thriller drama Dark Water, Blood Diamond, The Day the Earth Stood Still and the romantic comedy He's Just Not That Into You.

Source: WIkipedia

Edward Norton earned his B.A. in 1991

Edward Harrison Norton (born August 18, 1969) is an American film actor, screenwriter and director. In 1996, his supporting role in the courtroom drama Primal Fear garnered him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Two years later, his lead role as a reformed white power skinhead in American History X earned a nomination for Academy Award for Best Actor. His other films include period dramas such as Kingdom of Heaven (2005), The Illusionist (2006), and The Painted Veil (2006); and other notable films such as Rounders (1998), Fight Club (1999), 25th Hour (2002), Red Dragon (2002), and The Incredible Hulk (2008).

Source: Wikipedia

Claire Danes attended the B.A. program around 2000, but transferred out

Claire Catherine Danes (born April 12, 1979) is an American actress, known for her role as Angela Chase in the television series My So-Called Life, and for starring in films such as Romeo + Juliet (as Juliet) and Stardust (as Yvaine). She has received a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy nomination for My So-Called Life, and has also worked in theatre and as a voice actor (Princess Mononoke).

Source: Wikipedia

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