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List Rules People on this list must have gone to Columbia University and be of some renown.

List of famous alumni from Columbia University, with photos when available. Prominent graduates from Columbia University include celebrities, politicians, business people, athletes and more. This list of distinguished Columbia University alumni is loosely ordered by relevance, so the most recognizable celebrities who attended Columbia University 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 Columbia University.

This list includes Barack Obama, Alicia Keys and more notable Columbia alumni and famous Columbia Lions.

This list answers the questions “Which famous people went to Columbia University?” and “Which celebrities are Columbia University alumni?”

1
Barack Obama is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Barack Obama Politician, Author, Law professor Barack Hussein Obama II (born August 4, 1961) is an American politician who served as the 44th President of the United States from 2009 to 2017. The first African American to assume the ...more

2
J. D. Salinger is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
J. D. Salinger Soldier, Novelist, Writer Jerome David "J. D." Salinger was an American writer who won acclaim early in life. He led a very private life for more than a half-century. He published his final original work in ...more

3
Katie Holmes is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Katie Holmes Model, Actor Kate Noelle "Katie" Holmes is an American actress and model who first achieved fame for her role as Joey Potter on The WB television teen drama Dawson's Creek from 1998 to 2003. She ...more

4
Jake Gyllenhaal is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Jake Gyllenhaal Film Producer, Actor Jacob Benjamin "Jake" Gyllenhaal is an American actor. The son of director Stephen Gyllenhaal and screenwriter Naomi Foner, Gyllenhaal began acting at the age of ten. Following his ...more

5
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Joseph Gordon-Levitt Theatrical producer, Entrepreneur, Film Producer Joseph Leonard Gordon-Levitt is an American actor, singer, and filmmaker. As a child star, he appeared in the films A River Runs Through It, Angels in the Outfield, and 10 Things I Hate About ...more

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Anna Paquin is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Anna Paquin Film Producer, Actor, Voice acting Anna Helene Paquin is a Canadian-born New Zealand actress. Her first film was The Piano, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in March 1994 at the age of 11, making ...more

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Stanley Kubrick is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Stanley Kubrick Film Producer, Screenwriter, Cinematographer Stanley Kubrick was an American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer, and editor who did much of his work in the United Kingdom. Part of the New Hollywood film-making wave, he ...more

8
Anthony Perkins is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Anthony Perkins Musician, Actor, Singer Anthony Perkins was an American actor and singer. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his second film, Friendly Persuasion, but is best known for playing Norman ...more

9
Amanda Peet is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Amanda Peet Actor, Voice acting Amanda Peet is an American actress who has appeared in film, stage, and television. After studying with Uta Hagen at Columbia University, Peet began her career in television commercials, and ...more

10
Alicia Keys is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Alicia Keys Record producer, Pianist, Musician Alicia Augello Cook, known by the pseudonym Alicia Keys, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress. Keys released her debut album with J Records, having had previous record ...more

11
Alan Greenspan is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Alan Greenspan Businessperson, Politician, Scientist Alan Greenspan is an American economist.

12
Maggie Gyllenhaal is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Maggie Gyllenhaal Actor Margalit Ruth "Maggie" Gyllenhaal is an American actress. She started out appearing in films directed by her father, Stephen Gyllenhaal, and achieved recognition in a supporting role ...more

13
Allen Ginsberg is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Allen Ginsberg Film Score Composer, Poet, Screenwriter Irwin Allen Ginsberg was an American poet and one of the leading figures of both the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the counterculture that soon would follow. He vigorously opposed militarism, ...more

14
Joe Horowitz is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Joe Horowitz A veteran venture capitalist, Joe joined JAFCO Ventures as the Managing General Partner in 2003, bringing 25 years of experience working with emerging growth companies as a venture capitalist, ...more

15
Rajnesh Domalpalli is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Rajnesh Domalpalli Screenwriter, Film Editor, Film Director Rajnesh Domalpalli is an Indian film director, from Andhra Pradesh. His first directorial Telugu film, Vanaja, won 24 international awards including the Best First Feature award at the 2007 ...more

16
Julia Stiles is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Julia Stiles Television director, Screenwriter, Actor Julia O'Hara Stiles is an American actress. She first gained prominence for her lead roles in teen films such as 10 Things I Hate About You, Down to You and Save the Last Dance. Her career ...more

17
Robert J. Darnall is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Robert J. Darnall Robert J. Darnall formerly served as Chief Executive Officer and President of Inland Steel Industries Inc. (ISI). He has been Director of United States Steel Corporation since 2001, Cummins ...more

18
Jenna Morasca is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Jenna Morasca Wrestler, Model, Actor Jenna Morasca is an American actress, former swimsuit model, former professional wrestler and American reality TV contestant who was the million-dollar grand prize winner of Survivor: The Amazon ...more

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Raymond Burr is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Raymond Burr Television director, Actor, Teacher Raymond William Stacey Burr was a Canadian-American actor, primarily known for his title roles in the television dramas Perry Mason and Ironside. He also had prominent involvement in multiple ...more

20
Hunter S. Thompson is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Hunter S. Thompson Journalist, Novelist, Author Hunter Stockton Thompson was an American journalist and author. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, to a middle-class family, Thompson had a turbulent youth after the death of his father left the ...more

21
James F. Albaugh is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
James F. Albaugh James F. Albaugh is the former Executive Vice President of The Boeing Company and Chief Executive Officer of the Boeing Commercial Airplanes business unit. He served in these capacities for ...more

22
Rachel Williams is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Rachel Williams Model, Actor, Presenter Rachel Williams is an American model, TV presenter, and landscape designer.

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Emmy Rossum is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Emmy Rossum Songwriter, Actor, Singer Emmanuelle Grey "Emmy" Rossum is an American actress and singer-songwriter. She has starred in movies including Songcatcher, An American Rhapsody, and Passionada. Her role in Mystic ...more

24
Famke Janssen is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Famke Janssen Film Producer, Model, Screenwriter Famke Beumer Janssen is a Dutch actress, director, screenwriter, and former fashion model. She played Xenia Onatopp in GoldenEye, Jean Grey/Phoenix in the X-Men film series, Ava Moore on ...more

25
David Rockefeller is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
David Rockefeller Statesman, Businessperson, Banker David Rockefeller is an American banker and philanthropist who served as chairman and chief executive of Chase Manhattan Corporation. He is the oldest living member of the Rockefeller family and ...more

26
Fred P. Hochberg is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Fred P. Hochberg Fred P. Hochberg is an American businessman who has played leadership roles in government, non-profit and academic organizations. He is currently chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank ...more

27
Douglas H. Mccorkindale is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Douglas H. Mccorkindale Douglas H. McCorkindale joined Gannett Co., Inc. in 1971 as General Counsel and Secretary. He became CEO in 2000 and Chairman in 2001.

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Terrence F Blaschke is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Terrence F Blaschke Terrence F Blaschke is Professor of Medicine and of Molecular Pharmacology, Emeritus at Stanford University.

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Paul Robeson is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Paul Robeson Actor, Athlete, Singer Paul Leroy Robeson was an American singer and actor who became involved with the Civil Rights Movement. At Rutgers College, he was an outstanding football player, then had an international ...more

30
Randal Quarles is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Randal Quarles Randal Keith Quarles is founder and head of The Cynosure Group, a private investment firm backed by a network of large family offices in the United States. Before founding Cynosure, he was a ...more

31
B. R. Ambedkar is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
B. R. Ambedkar Anthropologist, Politician, Historian Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, popularly known as Babasaheb, was an Indian jurist, economist, politician and social reformer who inspired the Modern Buddhist Movement and campaigned against social ...more

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Andrew J. Kaslow is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Andrew J. Kaslow American International Group, Inc. named Andrew J. Kaslow, Ph.D, as Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, effective May 14, 2007.

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Edwin Howard Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Edwin Howard Armstrong Inventor, Electrical engineer, Engineer Edwin Howard Armstrong was an American electrical engineer and inventor. He has been called "the most prolific and influential inventor in radio history". He invented the regenerative ...more

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James Cagney is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
James Cagney Actor, Dancer James Francis Cagney, Jr. was an American actor and dancer, both on stage and in film, though he had his greatest impact in film. Known for his consistently energetic performances, distinctive ...more

35
Abdel Wahab El-Messiri is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Abdel Wahab El-Messiri Writer, Philosopher Abdel-Wahab El-Messiri was an Egyptian scholar, author and general coordinator of the opposition organization Kefaya.

36
Greg Giraldo is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Greg Giraldo Comedian, Film Producer, Screenwriter Gregory C. "Greg" Giraldo was an American stand-up comedian, television personality, and lawyer. Giraldo was best known for his appearances on Comedy Central's televised roast ...more

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Rachel Nichols is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Rachel Nichols Film Producer, Model, Actor Rachel Emily Nichols is an American actress and model. Nichols began modeling while attending Columbia University in New York City in the late 1990s. She transitioned into television and film ...more

38
Jim Carroll is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Jim Carroll Poet, Novelist, Author James Dennis "Jim" Carroll was an American author, poet, autobiographer, and punk musician. Carroll was best known for his 1978 autobiographical work The Basketball Diaries, which ...more

39
Abraham Nemeth is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Abraham Nemeth Mathematician, Scientist Abraham Nemeth was an American mathematician and inventor. He was Professor of Mathematics at the University of Detroit Mercy in Detroit, Michigan. Nemeth was blind, and was known for developing ...more

40
Langston Hughes is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Langston Hughes Poet, Novelist, Lyricist James Mercer Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz ...more

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Ben Stein is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Ben Stein Commentator, Financial adviser, Author Benjamin Jeremy "Ben" Stein is an American writer, lawyer, actor, and commentator on political and economic issues. He attained early success as a speechwriter for American presidents ...more

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Howard Zinn is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Howard Zinn Historian, Author, Writer Howard Zinn was an American historian, author, playwright, and social activist. He was a political science professor at Boston University. Zinn wrote more than 20 books, including his ...more

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Jane Seymour is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Jane Seymour Television producer, Film Producer, Actor Jane Seymour, OBE is a British-American actress best known for her performances in the James Bond film Live and Let Die, Somewhere In Time, East of Eden, Onassis: The Richest Man in the World, ...more

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Geraldo Rivera is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Geraldo Rivera Talk show host, Journalist, Police officer Gerald Michael Riviera, better known as Geraldo Rivera, is an American attorney, news spinner, author, and talk show host. Rivera hosts the newsmagazine program Geraldo at Large and appears ...more

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Amelia Earhart is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Amelia Earhart Pilot, Writer Amelia Mary Earhart was an American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She received the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross for ...more

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Tony Kushner is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Tony Kushner Screenwriter, Author, Writer Anthony Robert "Tony" Kushner is an American playwright and screenwriter. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1993 for his play Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National ...more

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Ruth Westheimer is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Ruth Westheimer Writer Ruth Westheimer is an American sex therapist, media personality, and author best known as Dr. Ruth. The New York Times described her as a "Sorbonne-trained psychologist who became a kind of ...more

48
Ada Deer is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Ada Deer Ada Deer is a Native American advocate and scholar who was an activist opposing federal termination of tribes in the 1970s. She was appointed as Assistant Secretary of Interior, head of the ...more

49
Joan Caulfield is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Joan Caulfield Actor Joan Caulfield was an American actress and former fashion model. After being discovered by Broadway producers, she began a stage career in 1943 that eventually led to signing as an actress with ...more

50
Will Geer is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
Will Geer Actor, Singer, Botanist William Aughe Ghere, known as Will Geer, was an American actor and social activist, known for his portrayal of Grandpa Zebulon Tyler Walton in the 1970s TV series The Waltons.