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Famous Columbia University Alumni

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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
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
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
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
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
6
Anna Paquin is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
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
7
Stanley Kubrick is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
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
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
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
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
Businessperson, Politician, Scientist
Alan Greenspan is an American economist.
12
Maggie Gyllenhaal is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
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
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 economic ...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
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
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 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
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
19
Raymond Burr is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
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. He was unable to formally finish high school as he was incarcerated for 60 ...more
21
James F. Albaugh is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
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
Model, Actor, Presenter
Rachel Williams is an American model, TV presenter, and landscape designer.
23
Emmy Rossum is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Columbia University Alumni
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
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
Statesman, Businessperson, Banker
David Rockefeller (June 12, 1915 – March 20, 2017) was an American banker who was chairman and chief executive of Chase Manhattan Corporation. He was the oldest living member of third generation ...more