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List Rules People 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?”

1
Gary Cooper is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Grinnell College Alumni
Actor
Gary Cooper was an American film actor known for his natural, authentic, and understated acting style and screen performances. His career spanned thirty-six years, from 1925 to 1961, and ...more

2
Herbie Hancock is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Grinnell College Alumni
Film Score Composer, Jazz Pianist, Songwriter
Herbert Jeffrey "Herbie" Hancock is an American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader and composer. Starting his career with jazz legend Donald Byrd, he shortly thereafter joined the Miles ...more

3
Robert Noyce is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Grinnell College Alumni
Businessperson, Physicist, Inventor
Robert Norton Noyce, nicknamed "the Mayor of Silicon Valley," co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957 and Intel Corporation in 1968. He is also credited with the realization of the ...more

4
Fred Hersch is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Grinnell College Alumni
Jazz Pianist, Pianist, Composer
Fred Hersch is an American jazz pianist and composer. Hersch has featured himself as either a solo performer or at the helm of varied small ensembles, which in addition to his trio, include a ...more

5
Walter Koenig is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Grinnell College Alumni
Television director, Film Producer, Actor
Walter Marvin Koenig is an American actor, writer, teacher and director, known for his roles as Pavel Chekov in Star Trek and Alfred Bester in Babylon 5. He wrote the script for the 2008 science ...more

6
Theodore E. Burton is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Grinnell College Alumni
Theodore Elijah Burton was a Republican politician from Ohio. He served in the United States House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.

7
Edward Hirsch is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Grinnell College Alumni
Poet, Literary critic, Essayist
Edward Hirsch is an American poet and critic who wrote a national bestseller about reading poetry. He has published nine books of poems, including The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems, which ...more

8
James Wilson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Grinnell College Alumni
Politician, Lawyer
James "Tama Jim" Wilson was a Scottish-born American politician who served as United States Secretary of Agriculture for sixteen years during three presidencies, from 1897 to 1913. He ...more

9
Peter Coyote is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Grinnell College Alumni
Screenwriter, Author, Actor
Peter Coyote is an American actor, author, director, screenwriter and narrator of films, theatre, television and audiobooks. His voice work includes narrating the opening ceremony of the 2002 ...more

10
Walter Jacobson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Grinnell College Alumni
Journalist, Newsreader, TV Journalist
Walter Jacobson is an actor.

11
Nathaniel Borenstein is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Grinnell College Alumni
Businessperson, Entrepreneur, Computer scientist
Nathaniel S. Borenstein is an American computer scientist. He is one of the original designers of the MIME protocol for formatting multimedia Internet electronic mail and sent the first e-mail ...more

12
Tom Cole is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Grinnell College Alumni
Professor
Thomas Jeffery "Tom" Cole is the U.S. Representative for Oklahoma's 4th congressional district, serving since 2003. He is a member of the Republican Party. He is a Deputy Majority ...more

13
James Norman Hall is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Grinnell College Alumni
Memoirist, Novelist
James Norman Hall was an American author best known for the novel Mutiny on the Bounty with co-author Charles Nordhoff. During World War I, Hall had the distinction of serving in the militaries ...more

14
David Maxwell is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Grinnell College Alumni
David Maxwell is the president of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. He is the 12th president of Drake and stepped into the role on May 15, 1999. He is the son of jazz trumpeter Jimmy

15
Mary Sue Coleman is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Grinnell College Alumni
Professor
Dr. Mary Sue Coleman was elected to the Board of Directors of Johnson Johnson in 2003 and is a member of the Audit Committee and the Science Technology Advisory Committee. She has served as ...more

16
Hap Moran is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Grinnell College Alumni
American football player
Francis Dale "Hap" Moran was a collegiate and professional American football player. He played mainly at halfback for Carnegie Tech, Grinnell College, the Frankford Yellow Jackets, the ...more

17
Zander Cannon is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Grinnell College Alumni
Zander Cannon Cartoonist
Alexander "Zander" Cannon is an American comics writer and artist, known for his work on books such as Top 10 and Smax.

18
John Garang is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Grinnell College Alumni
Politician, Rebel
John Garang de Mabior was a Sudanese politician and leader. From 1983 to 2005, he led the Sudan People's Liberation Army during the Second Sudanese Civil War, and following a peace agreement he ...more

19
Thomas Cech is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Grinnell College Alumni
Chemist
Thomas Robert Cech is a chemist who shared the 1989 Nobel prize in chemistry with Sidney Altman, for their discovery of the catalytic properties of RNA. Cech discovered that RNA could itself cut ...more

20
David Mura is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Grinnell College Alumni
Performer, Poet, Novelist
David Mura is a Japanese American author, poet, novelist, playwright, critic and performance artist. His most recent book is his novel, Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire. His honors include ...more

21
Paul Gardner is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Grinnell College Alumni
Legislator
Paul Gardner is a Minnesota politician and a former member of the Minnesota House of Representatives who represented District 53A, which includes all or portions of the northern suburbs of Lino ...more

22
Harry Hopkins is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Grinnell College Alumni
Politician
Harry Lloyd Hopkins was one of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's closest advisers. He was one of the architects of the New Deal, especially the relief programs of the Works Progress Administration, ...more

23
Jesse Macy is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Grinnell College Alumni
Historian, Political Science
Jesse Macy was an American political scientist and historian of the late 19th and early 20th century, specializing in the history of American political parties, party systems, and the Civil War. ...more

24
Alan Wheat is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Grinnell College Alumni
Alan Dupree Wheat is an American politician from the state of Missouri.

25
Joseph N. Welch is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Grinnell College Alumni
Actor, Lawyer
Joseph Nye Welch was the head counsel for the United States Army while it was under investigation by Joseph McCarthy's Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations for Communist activities, ...more