The 29 most successful Princeton alumni of all time

Michelle ObamaWin McNameeFirst Lady Michelle Obama graduated from Princeton in 1985.

Princeton University is one of the smartest and most historic colleges in the country.

Princeton has produced numerous politicians — many of whom graduated from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. The school has also produced its fair share of highly successful entrepreneurs, journalists, actors, and CEOs.

From First Lady Michelle Obama to Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, here are the most successful Princeton alumni of all time.

Michelle Obama, First Lady of the US, was the first in her family to attend college. She struggled to adjust to college life as a freshman, but quickly caught on and graduated in 1985 after writing her senior thesis on 'Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community.'

Source: NJ.com

Malcolm Forbes, chairman and editor in chief of Forbes magazine, inherited control of the publication in 1957 after his father, its founder, passed away. While at Princeton, Forbes, class of 1941, majored in political science and was awarded the Class of 1901 Medal 'as the member of the class who contributed the most to Princeton as an undergraduate.'

Author F. Scott Fitzgerald has sent many protagonists to Princeton, which he called the 'pleasantest country club in America.' Fitzgerald himself dropped out of Princeton in 1917 to join the Army, but while in school he dedicated himself to various creative writing and journalistic pursuits rather than his coursework.

Sources: Slate, Biography.com

The CEO and founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos studied electrical engineering and computer programming at Princeton. Bezos graduated in 1986 and wrote the original business plan for Amazon while driving from New York City to Los Angeles with his wife, MacKenzie, who also went to Princeton.

Sources: Business Insider, Princeton, Achievement.org

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

As a senior at Princeton University, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was the top debater on the debate team. His senior thesis discussed the ninth and tenth amendments, which have since become special interests to conservative thinkers. Cruz headed straight to Harvard Law School upon his graduation in 1992.

Source: The Atlantic

Robert L. Johnson founded Black Entertainment Television (BET) in 1980 and today serves as the company's chairman and CEO. He obtained his MA in international affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton in 1972.

Source: Princeton

The granddaughter and niece of former presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush respectively, Lauren Bush Lauren graduated from Princeton in 2006 with a B.A. in anthropology and a certificate in photography. Today, she is the co-founder and CEO of FEED Projects LLC, an organisation that sells merchandise and donates the proceeds to hunger relief efforts worldwide.

Source: Leaders

Richard Feynman earned his Ph.D. at Princeton University in 1942. In 1965 he won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in quantum electrodynamics, and in 1986 gained public attention while on the presidential commission to investigate the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle.

'The X-Files' actor David Duchovny graduated from Princeton in 1982 with a degree in English literature. While in college, his friends called him 'Scruff' and they recall that he seemed more focused on basketball than anything. Duchovny landed his first paid acting job on a Lowenbrau beer commercial.

Source: Princeton

Queen Noor of Jordan recently received the Woodrow Wilson Award at Princeton's 100th annual Alumni Day for her activism for peace in the Middle East. Queen Noor, who graduated in 1973, is a social rights activist, president of the United World Colleges, and a New York Times best-selling author.

Source: NJ.com

In 1997, Princeton University honored Jimmy Stewart, one of its most famous alumni, with the dedication of a new film theatre to his name. Stewart, known for films such as 'The Philadelphia Story,' 'It's a Wonderful Life,' and 'Rear Window' gained his first exposure to acting and comedy through Princeton's Triangle Club musicals and graduated in 1932.

Source: Princeton

Three-term senator of New Jersey, Bill Bradley, has many accomplishments. He was well-known in his Princeton days as the best amateur basketball player in the country and went on to play with the Knicks from 1967-77. Today, he is the managing director of boutique investment bank Allen & Company and is the host of radio program 'American Voices.'

Meg Whitman graduated from Princeton in 1977 and funded the $30 million construction of Whitman College, the sixth residential college at the university, in 2002. Whitman is the current CEO of Hewlett-Packard and the former CEO of eBay.

Source: Princeton

Eric Schmidt, class of '76, studied electrical engineering at Princeton before going on to earn a Ph.D. in computer science from UC Berkeley and joining Google in 2001. He serves as executive chairman of the company, and in 2009 he and his wife started a scientific research fund at Princeton called the Schmidt Transformative Technology Fund.

Source: Princeton

The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs takes its name from the 28th president of the US, who earned his BA at Princeton in 1879. Before becoming president, Wilson taught jurisprudence and political economy, and served as the university's president from 1902 to 1910. Wilson won the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize.

Source: Nobelprize.org

Brooke Shields began her acting career at the age of 11 months in an Ivory soap ad. The paparazzi followed her continuously during her time in college. During her senior year, she began dating Dean Cain and graduated in 1987 with a degree in French literature. Now the former Calvin Klein model lives in New York City and continues to act in television series.

Source: Princeton, IMDb

Dean Cain, famous for his role as Superman in the TV show 'Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,' majored in history and played on the basketball team at Princeton before he graduated in 1988. He dated fellow actress Brooke Shields while they were both students at the university. Today Cain continues to write, produce, and act.

Source: TMZ

Syngman Rhee led the exile Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea as president during the Japanese occupation of South Korea in the early 1900s, and later served as the first president of the Republic of Korea. Rhee earned his Ph.D. in history, politics, and economics at Princeton in 1910.

Source: Princeton

Andrea Jung graduated magna cum laude in 1979. She's held numerous roles in corporate America, but was best known as the first female CEO of Avon, from 1999-2012. Today she is the CEO of microfinance non-profit Grameen America. Jung says that if she hadn't gone into business, she would have pursued journalism.

Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defence under both President Gerald Ford and President George W. Bush, graduated from Princeton in 1954 and was captain of both the football and wrestling teams. Rumsfeld has won the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the George Catlett Marshall Award, the Woodrow Wilson Award, and the Dwight Eisenhower Medal.

Sources: Biography.com, CNN

Laurance S. Rockefeller's name is well known to anyone who has visited Rockefeller Center in New York City, which was established by his father. Laurance studied philosophy at Princeton, graduating in 1932 before attending Harvard Law School and successfully serving a number of roles during his lifetime, including venture capitalist, conservationist, and philanthropist.

Laurance Rockefeller and his wife Mary.

Source: Rockefeller Archive Center

Ethan and Joel Coen are famous for their films like 'O Brother, Where Art Thou,' 'No Country for Old Men,' and 'Burn After Reading.' Ethan, the younger of the two, attended Princeton where he studied philosophy and graduated in 1979. The Coen brothers began writing screenplays after college, beginning with crime films and then branching into comedy.

Lisa Perez Jackson attended Princeton University for her master's in chemical engineering, graduating in 1986. In 2008, President Obama appointed her head of the US Environmental Protection Agency. Previously, she was commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Shara Aranoff, class of '84, served as vice chairman of the International Trade Commission from 2006-2008, and chairman from 2008-2010. She graduated from Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs before going to Harvard Law and studying in Switzerland as a Fulbright Scholar. Today, Aranoff practices law at Covington & Burling in Washington, DC.

Sources: Bloomberg

James Madison Jr., the fourth president of the United States, broke family tradition when he attended Princeton University instead of the College of William & Mary. At Princeton, he met many men who would remain his friends for life and who would also influence early US politics, including William Bradford, Jr., Hugh Henry Brackenridge, and Philip Freneau. Madison graduated in 1771.

Source: Princeton

Ellie Kemper became famous for playing Erin Hannon on 'The Office,' and today stars in her own series, 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,' which debuted in 2015 on Netflix. During her time at Princeton, Kemper participated in two comedy groups and graduated in 2002 as an English major.

Source: Biography.com

A Pulitzer Prize-winning author and editor of The New Yorker, David Remnick graduated from Princeton in 1981. He took a year off while in college to travel, interviewing poets and performing as a street musician in Paris, before he returned to Princeton and started the Nassau Weekly.

Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach for America, graduated from Princeton University in 1989. During her time in college, she realised that many students came from disadvantaged backgrounds and she dedicated herself to working with the Foundation for Student Communication. Kopp's senior thesis was a proposal for a Teach for America prototype that would recruit college graduates to teach in underserved areas.

Source: Achievement.org

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