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Famous Drake University Alumni

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Updated November 22, 2019 11.3k views 124 items

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

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

List includes Jeremy Piven, Michael Emerson and more.

This list answers the questions “Which famous people went to Drake University?” and “Which celebrities are Drake University alumni?”
1
Jeremy Piven is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Drake University Alumni
Television producer, Film Producer, Actor

Age: 53

Birthplace: New York City, Manhattan, USA, New York

Jeremy Samuel Piven (born July 26, 1965) is an American actor, comedian, and producer. He is known for his role as Ari Gold in the comedy series Entourage, for which he won a Golden Globe Award ...more

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#1 of 28 Actors Who Somehow Looked Older in the 90s Than They Do Now #1,688 of 2,004 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History #12 of 19 Television Actors Who Overact Way Too Hard

2
Steve Allen is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Drake University Alumni
Film Score Composer, Talk show host, Comedian

Age: Dec. at 79 (1921-2000)

Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America

Stephen Valentine Patrick William Allen (December 26, 1921 – October 30, 2000) was an American television personality, radio personality, musician, composer, actor, comedian, writer, and ...more

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#150 of 469 The Greatest Entertainers of All Time #13 of 51 The All-Time Greatest Late Night Talk Show Hosts #28 of 54 The Best Emmy Hosts Ever

3
Mark Doty is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Drake University Alumni
Poet, Author, Writer

Age: 65

Birthplace: Maryville, Tennessee

Mark Doty (born August 10, 1953) is an American poet and memoirist best known for his work My Alexandria. He was the winner of the National Book Award for Poetry in 2008.

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#174 of 256 The Best Gay Authors #129 of 214 The Best Poets of the 20th Century #45 of 50 The Most Important LGBTQ+ Thinkers of All Time

4
John August is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Drake University Alumni
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Script doctor

Age: 48

Birthplace: Boulder, Colorado

John August is an American screenwriter, director, producer, and novelist. He is known for writing the films Go (1999), Charlie's Angels (2000), Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003), Big Fish ...more
5
Michael Emerson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Drake University Alumni
Illustrator, Theatre Director, Theatre teacher

Age: 64

Birthplace: Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States of America

Michael Emerson is an American film and television actor who is best known for his roles as serial killer William Hinks on The Practice, Benjamin Linus on Lost, Zep Hindle in the first Saw film, ...more

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#19 of 35 35 Actors Who Are Creepy No Matter Who They Play #205 of 542 The Best TV Actors of All Time #226 of 253 Actors You Would Watch Read the Phone Book

6
Ira Levin is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Drake University Alumni
Songwriter, Writer, Playwright

Age: Dec. at 78 (1929-2007)

Birthplace: Manhattan, New York City, New York

Ira Marvin Levin (August 27, 1929 – November 12, 2007) was an American novelist, playwright, and songwriter. His most noted works include the novels A Kiss Before Dying (1953), Rosemary's Baby ...more
7
Brian Wansink is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Drake University Alumni
Professor, Researcher, Psychologist

Age: 58

Birthplace: Sioux City, Iowa, United States of America

Brian Wansink is a former American professor and a discredited researcher who worked in consumer behavior and marketing research. He is the former executive director of the USDA's Center for ...more
8
Larry Zox is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Drake University Alumni
Painter, Printmaker, Artist

Age: Dec. at 69 (1937-2006)

Birthplace: Des Moines, Iowa

Lawrence "Larry" Zox (May 31, 1937 – December 16, 2006) was an American painter and printmaker who is classified as an Abstract expressionist, Color Field painter and a Lyrical ...more
9
Joseph Chaikin is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Drake University Alumni
Theatre Director, Actor, Playwright

Age: Dec. at 68 (1935-2003)

Birthplace: New York City, New York

Joseph Chaikin (September 16, 1935 – June 22, 2003) was an American theatre director, actor, playwright, and pedagogue.
10
Ronald Olson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Drake University Alumni
Anthropologist, Lawyer

Age: 77

Ronald L. Olson (born July 9, 1941) is an American attorney and a partner in the Los Angeles office of Munger Tolles & Olson LLP. He was the lead attorney representing the board of directors ...more
11
Chet Culver is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Drake University Alumni
Politician, Teacher

Age: 53

Birthplace: Contiguous United States, United States of America, United States, with Territories, Area code 202, + more

Chester John "Chet" Culver (born January 25, 1966) is an American politician who served as the 41st Governor of Iowa from 2007 to 2011. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously ...more
12
Bill Bryson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Drake University Alumni
Journalist, Science writer, Writer

Age: 67

Birthplace: Des Moines, Iowa

William McGuire Bryson (; born 8 December 1951) is an American-British author of books on travel, the English language, science, and other non-fiction topics. Born in the United States, he has ...more
13
Syleena Johnson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Drake University Alumni
Songwriter, Singer-songwriter, Model

Age: 42

Birthplace: Harvey, Illinois, United States of America

Syleena Johnson (born September 2, 1976) is an American R&B and soul singer-songwriter, actress and talk show co-host.
14
Gregory Frost is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Drake University Alumni
Novelist, Author, Essayist

Age: 67

Gregory Frost (born May 13, 1951) is an American author of science fiction and fantasy, and directs a fiction writing workshop at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. He received his ...more
15
Sam Wanamaker is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Drake University Alumni
Television director, Theatre Director, Actor

Age: Died at 74 (1919-1993)

Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA

Samuel Wanamaker, (born Wattenmacker; June 14, 1919 – December 18, 1993) was an American actor and director who moved to the UK, after becoming fearful of being blacklisted in Hollywood due to ...more
16
Jim Nussle is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Drake University Alumni
Politician

Age: 58

Birthplace: Des Moines, Iowa, United States of America

James Allen Nussle (born June 27, 1960) is the president and chief executive officer of the Credit Union National Association. He is a former American politician. Nussle served as a member of ...more
17
Neal Edward Smith is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Drake University Alumni
Politician

Age: 98

Birthplace: Hedrick, Iowa, United States of America

Neal Edward Smith (born March 23, 1920) is a former American politician who was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Iowa from 1959 until 1995—the longest-serving Iowan in ...more
18
Seth Barnes Nicholson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Drake University Alumni
Astronomer

Age: Dec. at 72 (1891-1963)

Birthplace: Springfield, Illinois

Seth Barnes Nicholson (November 12, 1891 – July 2, 1963) was an American astronomer. Nicholson was born in Springfield, Illinois, and was raised in rural Illinois. He was educated at Drake ...more
19
Robert Dana is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Drake University Alumni
Writer

Age: Dec. at 81 (1929-2010)

Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts

Robert Dana (June 2, 1929 – February 6, 2010) was an American poet, who taught writing and English literature at Cornell College and many other schools, revived The North American Review and ...more
20
Zach Johnson is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Drake University Alumni
Golfer

Age: 42

Birthplace: Iowa City, Iowa

Not to be confused with golf club professional Zach J. Johnson. Zachary Harris Johnson (born February 24, 1976) is an American professional golfer who has 12 victories on the PGA Tour, including ...more
21
Robert J. Graziano is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Drake University Alumni
Businessperson
Robert Graziano became president and CEO, Ford Motor (China) Ltd. on April 1, 2008.
22
Mark S. Cady is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Drake University Alumni
Judge

Age: 65

Birthplace: Rapid City, South Dakota

Mark S. Cady is a justice on the Iowa Supreme Court.
23
Terry Branstad is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Drake University Alumni
Politician, Lawyer

Age: 72

Birthplace: Leland, Iowa, United States of America

Terry Edward Branstad (born November 17, 1946) is an American politician, university administrator, and diplomat serving as the United States Ambassador to China since 2017. A member of the ...more
24
Darrell R. Lindsey is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Drake University Alumni
Darrell R. Lindsey

Age: Dec. at 25 (1919-1944)

Birthplace: Jefferson, Iowa

Darrell Robins Lindsey (December 30, 1919 – August 9, 1944) was a bomber pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II and a posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor.
25
Susan Glaspell is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Drake University Alumni
Poet, Journalist, Biographer

Age: Dec. at 72 (1876-1948)

Birthplace: Davenport, Iowa

Susan Keating Glaspell (July 1, 1876 – July 28, 1948) was an American playwright, novelist, journalist and actress. With her husband George Cram Cook, she founded the Provincetown Players, the ...more