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Famous Black Mountain College Alumni

Updated October 13, 2018 4.7k views32 items

List RulesPeople on this list must have gone to Black Mountain College and be of some renown.

List of famous alumni from Black Mountain College, with photos when available. Prominent graduates from Black Mountain College include celebrities, politicians, business people, athletes and more. This list of distinguished Black Mountain College alumni is loosely ordered by relevance, so the most recognizable celebrities who attended Black Mountain College are at the top of the list. This directory is not just composed of graduates of this school, as some of the famous people on this list didn't necessarily earn a degree from Black Mountain College.

Alumni include Arthur Penn, Robert Rauschenberg and more.

This list answers the questions “Which famous people went to Black Mountain College?” and “Which celebrities are Black Mountain College alumni?”
  • 1
    Painter, Graphic Artist

    AgeDec. at 82 (1925-2008)

    BirthplacePort Arthur, Texas, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Milton Ernest "Robert" Rauschenberg (October 22, 1925 – May 12, 2008) was an American painter and graphic artist whose early works anticipated the pop art movement. Rauschenberg is well known for his...  more
  • 2
    Painter, Artist

    AgeDec. at 85 (1924-2010)

    BirthplaceAsheville, North Carolina

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Kenneth Noland (April 10, 1924 – January 5, 2010) was an American painter. He was one of the best-known American Color Field painters, although in the 1950s he was thought of as an abstract...  more
  • 3
    Sculptor, Painter

    AgeDec. at 71 (1922-1993)

    BirthplaceSyracuse, New York

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Robert Henry De Niro (May 3, 1922 – May 3, 1993), better known as Robert De Niro Sr., was an American abstract expressionist painter and the father of actor Robert De Niro. ...  more
  • 4
    Poet, Writer

    AgeDec. at 68 (1934-2002)

    BirthplaceMilton, Massachusetts

    NationalityUnited States of America

    John Joseph Wieners (January 6, 1934 – March 1, 2002) was an American poet....  more
  • 5
    Sculptor, Artist


    BirthplacePendleton, Oregon

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Kenneth Duane Snelson (June 29, 1927 – December 22, 2016) was an American contemporary sculptor and photographer. His sculptural works are composed of flexible and rigid components arranged...  more
  • 6

    AgeDec. at 67 (1927-1995)

    BirthplaceArea code 313, Metro Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, Contiguous United States

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Raymond Edward "Ray" Johnson (October 16, 1927 – January 13, 1995) was an American artist. Known primarily as a collagist and correspondence artist, he was a seminal figure in the history of Neo-Dada...  more
  • 7

    AgeDec. at 82 (1923-2006)

    BirthplaceVienna, Austria


    Harry Seidler, AC OBE was an Austrian-born Australian architect who is considered to be one of the leading exponents of Modernism's methodology in Australia and the first architect to fully express...  more
  • 8
    Poet, Author

    AgeDec. at 78 (1926-2005)

    BirthplaceArlington, Massachusetts

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Robert White Creeley (May 21, 1926 – March 30, 2005) was an American poet and author of more than sixty books. He is usually associated with the Black Mountain poets, though his verse aesthetic...  more
  • 9
    Painter, Artist

    AgeDec. at 83 (1928-2011)


    NationalityUnited States of America

    Edwin Parker "Cy" Twombly Jr. (; April 25, 1928 – July 5, 2011) was an American painter, sculptor and photographer. He belonged to the generation of Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. Twombly's...  more
  • 10
    Poet, Writer

    AgeDec. at 70 (1929-1999)

    BirthplaceVilla Grove, Illinois

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Edward Merton Dorn was an American poet and teacher often associated with the Black Mountain poets. His most famous work is Gunslinger....  more
  • 11

    AgeDec. at 84 (1927-2011)

    BirthplaceRochester, Indiana

    NationalityUnited States of America

    John Angus Chamberlain (April 16, 1927 – December 21, 2011) was an American sculptor. At the time of his death he resided and worked on Shelter Island, New York....  more
  • 12
    Literary critic, Author


    BirthplaceWarsaw, Second Polish Republic

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Francine du Plessix Gray (September 25, 1930 – January 13, 2019), was a French-born American Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and literary critic....  more
  • 13
    Television director, Theatre Director

    AgeDec. at 88 (1922-2010)

    BirthplacePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Arthur Hiller Penn (September 27, 1922 – September 28, 2010) was an American director and producer of film, television and theater. Closely associated with the American New Wave, Penn directed...  more
  • 14
    Novelist, Writer


    BirthplacePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Michael Rumaker was an American author (b. March 5, 1932 in Philadelphia, PA, d. June 3, 2019) best known for his semi-autobiographical novels that document his life as a gay man in the 1950s and...  more
  • 15
    Poet, Author

    AgeDec. at 69 (1919-1988)

    BirthplaceOakland, California

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Bob Edward Duncan (January 7, 1919 in Oakland, California – February 3, 1988) was an American poet and a devotee of Hilda "H.D." Doolittle and the Western esoteric tradition who spent most of his...  more
  • 16


    BirthplaceNew York

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Susan Weil (born 1930) is an American artist best known for her experimental three-dimensional paintings, which combine figurative illustration with explorations of movement and space....  more
  • 17
    Illustrator, Writer


    BirthplaceHollywood, Los Angeles, California

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Vera Baker Williams (January 28, 1927 – October 16, 2015) was an American children's writer and illustrator. Her best known work, A Chair for My Mother, has won multiple awards and was featured on...  more
  • 18
    Psychologist, Artist


    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Irwin Kremen (born 1925) is an American artist who began making art while Director of the Duke University Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology, when he was 41, after earning a Ph.D. six years...  more
  • 19
    Charles B. Perrow (born February 9, 1925) is an emeritus professor of sociology at Yale University and visiting professor at Stanford University. He is the author of several books and many articles...  more
  • 20


    BirthplaceMontreal, Canada

    NationalityCanada, United States of America

    Dorothea Rockburne (born c. 1932) is an abstract painter, drawing inspiration primarily from her deep interest in mathematics and astronomy. Her work is geometric and abstract, seemingly simple but...  more
  • 21
    Novelist, Writer

    AgeDec. at 71 (1930-2002)

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Fielding Dawson (August 2, 1930 – January 5, 2002) was a Beat-era author of short stories and novels, and a student at Black Mountain College. He was also a painter and collagist whose works were...  more
  • 22
    Novelist, Writer

    AgeDec. at 66 (1927-1993)

    BirthplaceDetroit, Michigan

    NationalityUnited States of America

    James Leo Herlihy (; February 27, 1927 – October 21, 1993) was an American novelist, playwright and actor. Herlihy is known for his novels Midnight Cowboy and All Fall Down, and his play Blue Denim,...  more
  • 23
    Jonathan Williams (March 8, 1929 – March 16, 2008) was an American poet, publisher, essayist, and photographer. He is known as the founder of The Jargon Society, which has published poetry,...  more
  • 24


    BirthplaceFrederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark

    Erik Christian Haugaard was a Danish-born American writer, best known for children's books and for his translations of the works of Hans Christian Andersen....  more
  • 25
    Joel Lester Oppenheimer (Jacob Hammer) (February 18, 1930 – October 11, 1988) was an American poet associated with both the Black Mountain poets and the New York School. He was the first director of...  more
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List Rules: People on this list must have gone to Black Mountain College and be of some renown.