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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 Harry Sinclair Lewis was an American novelist, short-story writer, and playwright. In 1930, he became the first writer from the United States to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, which was ...more

2
Thornton Wilder is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Novelist, Screenwriter, Playwright Thornton Niven Wilder was an American playwright and novelist. He won three Pulitzer Prizes—for the novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey and for the two plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth—and ...more

3
Lucy Stone is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Lucy Stone was a prominent American orator, abolitionist, and suffragist, and a vocal advocate and organizer promoting rights for women. In 1847, Stone became the first woman from Massachusetts ...more

4
Liz Phair is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Guitarist, Songwriter, Singer-songwriter Elizabeth Clark "Liz" Phair is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. She began her career in the early 1990s by self-releasing audio cassettes under the name Girly Sound, before ...more

5
Charles A. Reich is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Lawyer Charles A. Reich is an American legal and social scholar as well as writer who was a Professor at Yale Law School when he wrote the 1970 paean to the 1960s counterculture and youth movement, The ...more

6
Elisha Gray is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Inventor Elisha Gray was an American electrical engineer who co-founded the Western Electric Manufacturing Company. Gray is best known for his development of a telephone prototype in 1876 in Highland ...more

7
Harrison A. Williams is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Lawyer Harrison Arlington "Pete" Williams, Jr. was a Democrat who represented New Jersey in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. Williams was convicted on ...more

8
Matthew Stadler is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Editor, Writer Matthew Stadler has written four novels and received several awards and fellowships in recognition of his work. More recently, he has compiled four anthologies about literature, city life and ...more

9
Lynn Kohlman is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Photographer Lynn Eleanor Kohlman 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 John Wesley Powell was a U.S. soldier, geologist, explorer of the American West, professor at Illinois Wesleyan University, and director of major scientific and cultural institutions. He is ...more

11
Robert Andrews Millikan is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Mathematician, Physicist, Court reporter Robert A. Millikan was an American experimental physicist honored with the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1923 for his measurement of the elementary electronic charge and for his work on the ...more

12
Paul Horn is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Flautist Paul Horn was an American jazz flautist, and an early pioneer of New Age music.

13
John Mercer Langston is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Politician, Lawyer John Mercer Langston was an American abolitionist, attorney, educator, activist and politician. He was the first dean of the law school at Howard University and helped create the department. He ...more

14
Alison Bechdel is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Novelist, Cartoonist, Author Alison Bechdel is an American cartoonist. Originally best known for the long-running comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, she came to critical and commercial success in 2006 with her graphic ...more

15
Mary Church Terrell is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Writer Mary Church Terrell was one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree, and became known as a national activist for civil rights and suffrage; in 1909 she was a founding member ...more

16
Seth Rudetsky is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Journalist, Musician, Screenwriter Seth Rudetsky is a screenwriter and an actor.

17
Eduardo Mondlane is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Politician Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane served as the founding President of FRELIMO Mozambican Liberation Front from 1962, the year that FRELIMO was founded in Tanzania, until his assassination in 1969. He ...more

18
Eric Bogosian is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Novelist, Screenwriter, Author Eric Bogosian is an American actor, playwright, monologuist, and novelist.

19
Edward Everett Horton is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Actor, Voice acting, Singer Edward Everett Horton 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 William Mills "Bill" Irwin is an American actor, clown, and comedian. He is best known for his vaudeville-style stage performances and has been noted for his contribution to the ...more

21
Jon Theodore is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Musician, Drummer Jon Philip Theodore 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 also a member of One Day as ...more

22
Barbara Seaman is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Journalist, Author, Social activist Barbara Seaman 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 Edward Parker "Ed" Helms is an American actor and comedian, best known for his work as a correspondent on The Daily Show, Andy Bernard in the U.S. version of The Office and Stuart ...more

24
Ira Sprague Bowen is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Astronomer Ira Sprague Bowen was an American physicist and astronomer. In 1927 he discovered that nebulium was not really a chemical element but instead doubly ionized oxygen.

25
John Cazale is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Actor John Holland Cazale was an American actor. He appeared in five films during his six-year career, each nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture: The Godfather, The Conversation, The ...more

26
Roger Wolcott Sperry is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Psychologist, Scientist Roger Wolcott Sperry was a neuropsychologist, neurobiologist and Nobel laureate who, together with David Hunter Hubel and Torsten Nils Wiesel, won the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine ...more

27
Larry Sweeney is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Wrestler Alexander K. Whybrow was an American professional wrestler and manager, better known by his ring name Larry Sweeney. He performed primarily on the American independent circuit, but also competed ...more

28
Willard Van Orman Quine is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Philosopher Willard Van Orman Quine was an American philosopher and logician in the analytic tradition. From 1930 until his death 70 years later, Quine was continually affiliated with Harvard University in ...more

29
Charles Martin Hall is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Chemist, Inventor Charles Martin Hall was an American inventor, businessman, and chemist. He is best known for his invention in 1886 of an inexpensive method for producing aluminium, which became the first metal ...more

30
Antoinette Brown Blackwell is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Writer Antoinette Louisa Brown, later Antoinette Brown Blackwell, was the first woman to be ordained as a mainstream protestant minister in the United States. She was a well-versed public speaker on ...more

31
Josh Ritter is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Songwriter, Musician, Singer-songwriter Josh Ritter is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist and author who performs and records with The Royal City Band. Ritter is known for his distinctive Americana style and narrative lyrics. In ...more

32
Theodore E. Burton is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Theodore Elijah Burton was a Republican politician from Ohio. He served in the United States House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.

33
James Kim is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Editor, Journalist James Kim was an American television personality and technology analyst for the former TechTV international cable television network, reviewing products for shows including The Screen Savers, ...more

34
James Burrows is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Television director, Television producer, Screenwriter James Edward Burrows is an American television director who has been working in television since the 1970s.

35
Allan Spear is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Politician Allan Henry Spear was an American politician and educator from Minnesota who served almost thirty years in the Minnesota Senate, including nearly a decade as President of the Senate.

36
Myron T. Herrick is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Myron Timothy Herrick was a Republican politician from Ohio. He served as the 42nd Governor of Ohio.

37
Joko Beck is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Joko Beck Charlotte Joko Beck was an American Zen teacher and the author of the books Everyday Zen: Love and Work and Nothing Special: Living Zen.

38
Thanissaro Bhikkhu is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Thanissaro Bhikkhu Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu, also known as Ajaan Geoff, is an American Theravada Buddhist monk of the Dhammayut Order, of the Thai forest kammatthana tradition. He is currently the abbot of Metta Forest ...more

39
Johnnetta B. Cole is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Anthropologist, Professor Johnnetta Betsch Cole is an American anthropologist, educator and museum director. Cole was the first African-American female president of Spelman College, a historically black college, serving ...more

40
Avery Brooks is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Opera Singer, Television director, Professor Avery Franklin Brooks is an American actor, director and occasional singer. Brooks is best known for his television roles as Benjamin Sisko on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as Hawk on Spenser for ...more

41
Bill Anschell is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Jazz Pianist, Bandleader, Composer Bill Anschell is a Jazz pianist and composer. He has recorded five CDs as a leader, and performed or recorded with a host of other top jazz players including Lionel Hampton, Nnenna Freelon, ...more

42
Julie Taymor is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Theatre Director, Opera Director, Film Producer Julie Taymor is an American director of theatre, opera and film. Taymor's work has received many accolades from critics, and she has earned two Tony Awards out of four nominations, the Drama ...more

43
Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Professor, Physician, Surgeon Dr. Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden was an American geologist noted for his pioneering surveying expeditions of the Rocky Mountains in the late 19th century. He was also a physician who served with ...more

44
John E. Mack is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Psychiatrist, Ufologists, Biographer John Edward Mack M.D. was an American psychiatrist, writer, and professor at Harvard Medical School. He was a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer, and a leading authority on the spiritual or ...more

45
William Grant Still is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Conductor, Musician, Oboist William Grant Still was an African-American classical composer who wrote more than 150 compositions. He was the first African-American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra, the first ...more

46
Dorothy DeLay is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Violinist, Teacher Dorothy DeLay was an American violin instructor, primarily at the Juilliard School and University of Cincinnati She was born in Medicine Lodge, Kansas.

47
Max Robinson is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Journalist, Newsreader Max Robinson was an American broadcast journalist, and ABC News World News Tonight co-anchor. He was the first African-American broadcast network news anchor in the United States and one of the ...more

48
Charlene Drew Jarvis is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Politician, Researcher, Psychologist Charlene Drew Jarvis is an American educator and former scientific researcher and politician who served as the president of Southeastern University until March 31, 2009. Jarvis is the daughter ...more

49
Karen O is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Musician, Singer Karen Lee Orzolek, better known by her stage name Karen O, is a South Korean-born American singer and musician. She is the lead vocalist for American rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

50
Adrian Fenty is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Politician, Consultant, Lawyer Adrian Malik Fenty is an American politician who served as the sixth mayor of the District of Columbia. He served one term, from 2007 to 2011, losing his bid for reelection at the primary level ...more