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Famous Oberlin College Alumni

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Updated July 22, 2019 27.3k views 591 items

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

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

List is made up of many different graduates, including Liz Phair and Lena Dunham.

This list answers the questions “Which famous people went to Oberlin College?” and “Which celebrities are Oberlin College alumni?”
1
Sinclair Lewis is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Novelist, Author, Writer

Age: Dec. at 66 (1885-1951)

Birthplace: Sauk Centre, Minnesota, United States of America

Harry Sinclair Lewis (February 7, 1885 – January 10, 1951) was an American novelist, short-story writer, and playwright. In 1930, he became the first writer from the United States to receive the ...more

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2
Thornton Wilder is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Novelist, Screenwriter, Playwright

Age: Dec. at 78 (1897-1975)

Birthplace: Madison, Wisconsin

Thornton Niven Wilder (April 17, 1897 – December 7, 1975) was an American playwright and novelist. He won three Pulitzer Prizes—for the novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey, and for the plays Our ...more

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3
Lucy Stone is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni

Age: Dec. at 75 (1818-1893)

Birthplace: West Brookfield, Massachusetts

Lucy Stone (August 13, 1818 – October 18, 1893) was a prominent U.S. orator, abolitionist, and suffragist, and a vocal advocate and organizer promoting rights for women. In 1847, Stone became ...more
4
Liz Phair is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Guitarist, Songwriter, Singer-songwriter

Age: 51

Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America

Elizabeth Clark Phair (born April 17, 1967) is an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, composer, and actress. Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Phair was adopted at birth and raised primarily ...more

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5
Charles A. Reich is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Lawyer

Age: 90

Birthplace: New York City, New York

Charles Alan Reich (; May 20, 1928 – June 15, 2019) was an American academic and writer best known for writing the 1970 book The Greening of America, a paean to the counterculture of the 1960s. ...more
6
Elisha Gray is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Inventor

Age: Dec. at 66 (1835-1901)

Birthplace: Barnesville, Ohio

Elisha Gray (August 2, 1835 – January 21, 1901) was an American electrical engineer who co-founded the Western Electric Manufacturing Company. Gray is best known for his development of a ...more
7
Harrison A. Williams is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Lawyer

Age: Dec. at 82 (1919-2001)

Birthplace: Plainfield, New Jersey, United States of America

Harrison Arlington "Pete" Williams Jr. (December 10, 1919 – November 17, 2001) was an American Democratic politician who represented New Jersey in the United States House of ...more
8
Matthew Stadler is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Editor, Writer

Age: 60

Birthplace: Seattle, Washington

Matthew Stadler (born 1959) is an American author who has written six novels and received several awards. Stadler has compiled four anthologies about literature, city life and public life. His ...more
9
Lynn Kohlman is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Photographer

Age: Dec. at 62 (1946-2008)

Birthplace: Teaneck, New Jersey

Lynn Eleanor Kohlman (August 12, 1946 – September 14, 2008) was a fashion model, photographer, author, and creative director at DKNY.
10
John Wesley Powell is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Soldier, Geologist, Explorer

Age: Dec. at 68 (1834-1902)

Birthplace: Mount Morris, New York

John Wesley Powell (March 24, 1834 – September 23, 1902) was a U.S. soldier, geologist, explorer of the American West, professor at Illinois Wesleyan University, and director of major scientific ...more
11
Robert Andrews Millikan ... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Mathematician, Physicist, Court reporter

Age: Dec. at 85 (1868-1953)

Birthplace: Morrison, Illinois

Robert Andrews Millikan (March 22, 1868 – December 19, 1953) was an American experimental physicist honored with the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1923 for the measurement of the elementary ...more
12
Paul Horn is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Flautist

Age: Dec. at 84 (1930-2014)

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

Paul Horn (March 17, 1930 – June 29, 2014) was an American flautist, saxophonist, composer and producer. He became a pioneer of world and new age music with his 1969 album, Inside.
13
John Mercer Langston is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Politician, Lawyer

Age: Dec. at 68 (1829-1897)

Birthplace: Virginia, United States of America

John Mercer Langston (December 14, 1829 – November 15, 1897) was an abolitionist, attorney, educator, activist, diplomat, and politician in the United States. An African American, he became the ...more
14
Alison Bechdel is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Novelist, Cartoonist, Author

Age: 58

Birthplace: Lock Haven, Pennsylvania

Alison Bechdel ( BEK-dəl; born September 10, 1960) is an American cartoonist. Originally best known for the long-running comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, she came to critical and commercial ...more

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15
Mary Church Terrell is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Writer

Age: Dec. at 91 (1863-1954)

Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee

Mary Church Terrell (September 23, 1863 – July 24, 1954) was one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree, and became known as a national activist for civil rights and ...more
16
Seth Rudetsky is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Journalist, Musician, Screenwriter

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

Seth Dennis Rudetsky (born February 28, 1967) is an American musician, actor, writer, and radio host. He currently is the host of Seth's Big Fat Broadway and Seth Speaks on Sirius/XM Satellite ...more
17
Eduardo Mondlane is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Politician

Age: Dec. at 49 (1920-1969)

Birthplace: Manjacaze, Mozambique

Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane (20 June 1920 – 3 February 1969) served as the founding President of the Mozambican Liberation Front (FRELIMO) from 1962, the year that FRELIMO was founded in Tanzania, ...more
18
Eric Bogosian is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Novelist, Screenwriter, Author

Age: 65

Birthplace: Woburn, Massachusetts, United States of America

Eric Bogosian (arm. Էրիկ Բոգոսյան) (born April 24, 1953) is an American actor, playwright, monologuist, novelist, and historian.
19
Edward Everett Horton is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Actor, Voice acting, Singer

Age: Dec. at 84 (1886-1970)

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

Edward Everett Horton Jr. (March 18, 1886 – September 29, 1970) was an American character actor. He had a long career in film, theater, radio, television, and voice work for animated cartoons.
20
Bill Irwin is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Theatre Director, Screenwriter, Choreographer

Age: 68

Birthplace: Santa Monica, California, United States of America

William Mills Irwin (born April 11, 1950) is an American actor, clown, and comedian. He began as a vaudeville-style stage performer and has been noted for his contribution to the renaissance of ...more
21
Jon Theodore is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Musician, Drummer

Age: 45

Birthplace: Maryland, United States of America

Jon Philip Theodore (born December 30, 1973) is an American drummer. He is best known as a former member of The Mars Volta and as the current drummer for Queens of the Stone Age. Theodore is ...more
22
Barbara Seaman is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Journalist, Author, Social activist

Age: Dec. at 73 (1935-2008)

Birthplace: New York City, New York

Barbara Seaman (September 11, 1935 – February 27, 2008) was an American author, activist, and journalist, and a principal founder of the women's health feminism movement.
23
Ed Helms is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Comedian, Television producer, Screenwriter

Age: 45

Birthplace: Georgia, USA, Atlanta

Edward Parker Helms (born January 24, 1974) is an American actor, comedian, and singer. He is known for his work as a correspondent on The Daily Show as well as playing Andy Bernard in the NBC ...more

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24
Ira Sprague Bowen is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Astronomer

Age: Dec. at 75 (1898-1973)

Birthplace: Seneca Falls, New York

Ira Sprague Bowen (December 21, 1898 – February 6, 1973) was an American physicist and astronomer. In 1927 he discovered that nebulium was not really a chemical element but instead doubly ...more
25
John Cazale is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Actor

Age: Dec. at 43 (1935-1978)

Birthplace: Revere, Massachusetts, United States of America

John Holland Cazale (, Italian: [kadˈdzaːle]; August 12, 1935 – March 13, 1978) was an American actor. He appeared in five films over six years, all of which were nominated for the Academy Award ...more

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