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Famous Grinnell College Alumni

Updated October 13, 2018 7.3k views76 items

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

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

This is a list that features graduates like Gary Cooper and Herbie Hancock.

This list answers the questions “Which famous people went to Grinnell College?” and “Which celebrities are Grinnell College alumni?”
  • Gary Cooper1

    AgeDec. at 60 (1901-1961)

    BirthplaceHelena, Montana, United States of America

    Gary Cooper (born Frank James Cooper; May 7, 1901 – May 13, 1961) was an American actor. Known...  more

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    #57 of 1,017 The Best Actors in Film History#99 of 310 The Coolest Actors Ever

  • Herbie Hancock2

    Herbie Hancock

    Film Score Composer, Jazz Pianist


    BirthplaceUSA, Chicago, Illinois

    Herbert Jeffrey Hancock (born April 12, 1940) is an American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader,...  more

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    The Best Herbie Hancock Songs#841 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

  • Robert Noyce3

    Robert Noyce

    Businessperson, Physicist

    AgeDec. at 63 (1927-1990)

    BirthplaceBurlington, Iowa

    Robert Norton Noyce (December 12, 1927 – June 3, 1990), nicknamed "the Mayor of Silicon...  more
  • Fred Hersch4

    Fred Hersch

    Jazz Pianist, Pianist


    BirthplaceCincinnati, Ohio

    Fred Hersch (born October 21, 1955) is an American jazz pianist and educator. He has performed...  more
  • Walter Koenig5

    Walter Koenig

    Television director, Film Producer


    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois, USA

    Walter Marvin Koenig (; born September 14, 1936) is an American actor, writer, teacher, and...  more
  • Theodore E. Burton6
    Theodore Elijah Burton (December 20, 1851 – October 28, 1929) was a Republican politician from...  more
  • Edward Hirsch7

    Edward Hirsch

    Poet, Literary critic


    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois

    Edward M. Hirsch (born January 20, 1950) is an American poet and critic who wrote a national...  more
  • James Wilson8

    James Wilson

    Politician, Lawyer

    AgeDec. at 85 (1835-1920)

    BirthplaceAyrshire, United Kingdom

    James "Tama Jim" Wilson (August 16, 1835 – August 26, 1920) was a Scottish-American politician...  more
  • Peter Coyote9

    Peter Coyote

    Screenwriter, Author


    BirthplaceManhattan, New York City, New York, United States of America

    Peter Coyote (born Robert Peter Cohon; October 10, 1941) is an American actor, author,...  more

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    #6 of 20 The Best Documentary Narrators#253 of 432 Famous Tall Men Over 6'2

  • 10

    Walter Jacobson

    Journalist, Newsreader


    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois, United States of America

    Walter David Jacobson (born July 28, 1937) is a former Chicago television news personality and...  more
  • 11

    Nathaniel Borenstein

    Businessperson, Entrepreneur


    Nathaniel S. Borenstein (born September 23, 1957) is an American computer scientist. He is one...  more
  • Tom Cole12

    Tom Cole



    BirthplaceShreveport, Louisiana, United States of America

    Thomas Jeffery Cole (born April 28, 1949) is the U.S. Representative for Oklahoma's 4th...  more
  • James Norman Hall13

    James Norman Hall

    Memoirist, Novelist

    AgeDec. at 64 (1887-1951)

    BirthplaceColfax, Iowa

    James Norman Hall (22 April 1887 – 5 July 1951) was an American writer best known for the...  more
  • 14
    David Maxwell (born December 2, 1944, New York City) served as the 12th president of Drake...  more
  • Mary Sue Coleman15


    Mary Sue Coleman (born October 2, 1943) is the President of the Association of American...  more
  • Hap Moran16

    Hap Moran

    American football player

    AgeDec. at 93 (1901-1994)

    BirthplaceBelle Plaine, Iowa

    Francis Dale "Hap" Moran (July 31, 1901 – December 30, 1994) was a collegiate and professional...  more
  • Zander Cannon17

    Zander Cannon



    BirthplaceBoston, Massachusetts

    Alexander Cannon (born November 1, 1972) is an American cartoonist, known for his work on...  more
  • John Garang18

    John Garang

    Politician, Rebel

    AgeDec. at 60 (1945-2005)

    BirthplaceJonglei, South Sudan

    John Garang de Mabior (23 June 1945 – 30 July 2005) was a Sudanese politician and...  more
  • Thomas Cech19


    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois

    Thomas Robert Cech (born December 8, 1947) is an American chemist who shared the 1989 Nobel...  more
  • David Mura20

    David Mura

    Performer, Poet


    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois

    David Mura (born 1952) is an American author, poet, novelist, playwright, critic and...  more
  • 21

    Paul Gardner



    BirthplaceGlen Cove, New York

    Paul Gardner (born 1967) is a Minnesota politician and a former member of the Minnesota House...  more
  • Harry Hopkins22

    Harry Hopkins


    AgeDec. at 56 (1890-1946)

    BirthplaceSioux City, Iowa

    Harry Lloyd Hopkins (August 17, 1890 – January 29, 1946) was an American social worker, the...  more
  • Jesse Macy23

    Jesse Macy

    Historian, Political Science

    AgeDec. at 77 (1842-1919)


    Jesse Macy (June 21, 1842 – November 2, 1919) was an American political scientist and...  more
  • Alan Wheat24
    Alan Dupree Wheat (born October 16, 1951) is an American politician from the state of Missouri....  more
  • Joseph N. Welch25

    Joseph N. Welch

    Actor, Lawyer

    AgeDec. at 70 (1890-1960)

    BirthplacePrimghar, Iowa, United States of America

    Joseph Nye Welch (October 22, 1890 – October 6, 1960) was an American lawyer who served as the...  more