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Famous Iowa State University Alumni

Updated June 14, 2019 28.3k views52 items

List RulesPeople on this list must have gone to Iowa State University and be of some renown.

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

Items include everything from Jeff Hornacek to Dan Gable and other Iowa State alums!

This list answers the questions “Which famous people went to Iowa State University?” and “Which celebrities are Iowa State University alumni?”
  • 1
    Chemist, Inventor

    BirthplaceDiamond, Missouri

    George Washington Carver (1860s – January 5, 1943), was an American agricultural scientist and inventor. He actively promoted alternative crops to cotton and methods to prevent soil depletion.While a...  more

    #721 of 1,355 The Greatest Minds of All Time#769 of 2,753 The Most Influential People of All Time#74 of 796 Famous American Inventors List

  • 2
    Carrie Chapman Catt (January 9, 1859 – March 9, 1947) was an American women's suffrage leader who campaigned for the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gave U.S. women the...  more
  • 3
    Jeffrey John Hornacek (; born May 3, 1963) is an American professional basketball coach and former player. He most recently served as the head coach of the New York Knicks of the National Basketball...  more

    #155 of 289 The Top NBA Players Of All Time#10 of 175 The Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History#21 of 232 The Best White Players in NBA History

  • 4
    Flight engineer, Astronaut


    BirthplaceOmaha, Nebraska

    Clayton Conrad Anderson (born February 23, 1959) is a retired NASA astronaut. Launched on STS-117, he replaced Sunita Williams on June 10, 2007 as a member of the ISS Expedition 15 crew....  more
  • 5
    Publisher, Politician

    AgeDec. at 44 (1861-1905)

    BirthplaceKeokuk, Iowa, United States of America

    Frank Steunenberg (August 8, 1861 – December 30, 1905) was the fourth Governor of the State of Idaho, serving from 1897 until 1901. He is perhaps best known for his 1905 assassination by one-time...  more
  • 6


    BirthplaceKingsville, Texas, United States of America

    Lauro Fred Cavazos Jr. (born January 4, 1927) is an American educator and politician. He served as the US Secretary of Education, and was the first Hispanic to serve in the United States Cabinet....  more
  • 7


    BirthplaceCasablanca, Morocco

    Nawal El Moutawakel (Amazigh: Nawal Lmutawakkil; Arabic: نوال المتوكل‎; born on April 15, 1962 in Casablanca) is a former Moroccan hurdler, who won the inaugural women's 400 metres hurdles event at...  more
  • 8
    Frank Orren Lowden (January 26, 1861 – March 20, 1943) was a Republican Party politician who served as the 25th Governor of Illinois and as a United States Representative from Illinois. He was also a...  more
  • 9
    John Leroy Gustafson (born January 19, 1955) is an American computer scientist and businessman, chiefly known for his work in High Performance Computing (HPC) such as the invention of Gustafson's...  more
  • 10
    Comedian, Actor


    BirthplaceUSA, Iowa City, Iowa

    Jake Johannsen (born July 28, 1960) is an American comedian. Johannsen attended Iowa State University in the early 1980s, originally majoring in veterinary medicine, and then later changing to...  more

    #217 of 279 American Stand-Up Comedians: The Best Comics In the USA#22 of 22 The Best Male Stand Up Comedians of the '80s

  • 11
    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 who served as United States Secretary of Agriculture for sixteen years during three presidencies, from...  more
  • 12
    Physicist, Inventor

    AgeDec. at 91 (1903-1995)

    BirthplaceHamilton, New York

    John Vincent Atanasoff, , (October 4, 1903 – June 15, 1995) was an American physicist and inventor, best known for being credited with inventing the first electronic digital computer. Atanasoff...  more
  • 13
    American football player


    BirthplaceSacramento, California

    Seneca Sinclair Wallace (born August 6, 1980) is a former American football quarterback. He was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the fourth round of the 2003 NFL Draft. He played college football...  more

    #63 of 63 The Best Green Bay Packers Quarterbacks of All Time#44 of 58 The Best Cleveland Browns Quarterbacks of All Time#10 of 28 The Best Seattle Seahawks Quarterbacks of All Time

  • 14
    Graham Basil Spanier (born July 18, 1948) is a South African-born American sociologist and university administrator who became the 16th president of Pennsylvania State University on September 1,...  more
  • 15
    Clergy, Politician

    AgeDec. at 94 (1899-1994)

    BirthplaceWhitney, Idaho

    Ezra Taft Benson (August 4, 1899 – May 30, 1994) was an American farmer, government official, and religious leader who served as the 15th United States Secretary of Agriculture during both...  more
  • 16
    Basketball player


    BirthplaceNew York City, New York

    Jamaal Lee Tinsley (born February 28, 1978) is an American former professional basketball player. Tinsley played his collegiate career at Iowa State University. Following his senior year he was...  more
  • 17
    Architect, Engineer

    AgeDec. at 58 (1887-1946)

    BirthplaceRedfield, South Dakota

    Conde Balcom McCullough was a U.S. bridge engineer who is primarily known for designing many of Oregon's coastal bridges on U.S. Route 101. The native of South Dakota worked for the Oregon Department...  more
  • 18
    Politician, Professor


    BirthplaceSioux City, Iowa, United States of America

    David Wayne Loebsack (; born December 23, 1952) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Iowa's 2nd congressional district since 2007. A member of the Democratic Party, he...  more
  • 19


    BirthplaceSanzhi District, Taiwan

    Lee Teng-hui (Chinese: 李登輝, Mandarin pronunciation: [lì tə́ŋ.xu̯éi̯]; born 15 January 1923) is a Taiwanese statesman who was the President of the Republic of China and Chairman of the Kuomintang...  more
  • 20
    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 revolutionary leader. From 1983 to 2005, he led the Sudan People's Liberation Army during the Second Sudanese Civil...  more
  • 21
    Bruce Charles Heezen (; April 11, 1924 – June 21, 1977) was an American geologist. He worked with oceanographic cartographer Marie Tharp at Columbia University to map the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in the...  more
  • 22

    AgeDec. at 95 (1896-1991)

    BirthplaceMount Carroll, Illinois

    Mary Anita "Neta" Snook Southern (February 14, 1896 – March 23, 1991) was a pioneer aviator who achieved a long list of firsts. She was the first woman aviator in Iowa, first woman student accepted...  more
  • 23
    Politician, Lawyer


    BirthplaceCumming, Iowa, USA

    Thomas Richard Harkin (born November 19, 1939) is an American politician, attorney and author who served as a United States Senator from Iowa from 1985 to 2015. A member of the Democratic Party, he...  more
  • 24
    Wrestler, Coach


    BirthplaceWaterloo, Iowa

    Danny Mack "Dan" Gable (born October 25, 1948) is an American former folkstyle and freestyle wrestler and coach. He is a two-time NCAA Division I national champion, a world gold medalist, and an...  more
  • 25

    AgeDec. at 90 (1867-1958)

    BirthplaceMaquoketa, Iowa, United States of America

    Herbert Emery Hitchcock (August 22, 1867 – February 17, 1958) was a United States Senator from South Dakota....  more