Famous Vanderbilt University Alumni

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

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

A factual list, featuring graduates like Jay Cutler and Molly Sims.

This list answers the questions “Which famous people went to Vanderbilt University?” and “Which celebrities are Vanderbilt University alumni?”
  • 1

    Molly Sims

    Model, Supermodel


    BirthplaceMurray, Kentucky, USA

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Molly Sims (born May 25, 1973) is an American model and actress. She has appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and played Delinda Deline in the NBC drama Las Vegas.  ...more

    #31 of 98 The Most Gorgeous American Models#22 of 22 The Most Successful Model-Turned-Actresses#3 of 20 20 Celebrities Who Were Tri Deltas

  • 2

    James Patterson

    Television producer, Novelist


    BirthplaceNewburgh, New York, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    James Brendan Patterson (born March 22, 1947) is an American author and philanthropist. Among his works are the Alex Cross, Michael Bennett, Women's Murder Club, Maximum Ride, Daniel X, NYPD Red,  ...more

    The Best James Patterson Books#214 of 309 Famous People Most Likely to Live to 100#89 of 206 The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today

  • 3
    Actor, Singer

    AgeDec. at 77 (1916-1994)

    BirthplaceTennessee, USA, Winchester

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Dinah Shore (born Fannye Rose Shore; February 29, 1916 – February 24, 1994) was a 20th century American singer, actress and television personality, and the top-charting female vocalist of the 1940s.  ...more
  • 4

    John Amaechi

    Basketball player, Athlete


    BirthplaceBoston, Massachusetts, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America, United Kingdom

    John Uzoma Ekwugha Amaechi, OBE (; born 26 November 1970) is an English psychologist, consultant and former professional basketball player. He played college basketball at Vanderbilt and Penn State,  ...more
  • 5

    John D. Arnold

    Trader, Businessperson


    NationalityUnited States of America

    John Douglas Arnold (born 1974) is an American billionaire, former hedge fund manager, and former natural gas trader instrumental in the Enron scandal. His firm, Centaurus Advisors, LLC, was a  ...more
  • 6

    Robert Penn Warren

    Poet, Literary critic

    AgeDec. at 84 (1905-1989)

    BirthplaceGuthrie, Kentucky

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Robert Penn Warren (April 24, 1905 – September 15, 1989) was an American poet, novelist, and literary critic and was one of the founders of New Criticism. He was also a charter member of the  ...more

    #294 of 1,172 The Best Writers of All Time#202 of 306 The Best Novelists of All Time#81 of 345 The Greatest American Writers of All Time

  • 7
    Record producer, Singer-songwriter


    BirthplaceGeorgia, USA, Decatur

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Amy Elizabeth Ray (born April 12, 1964) is an American singer-songwriter and member of the contemporary folk duo Indigo Girls. She also pursues a solo career and has released six albums under her own  ...more
  • 8

    James Dickey

    Poet, Novelist

    AgeDec. at 73 (1923-1997)

    BirthplaceGeorgia, USA, Atlanta

    NationalityUnited States of America

    James Lafayette Dickey (February 2, 1923 – January 19, 1997) was an American poet and novelist. He was appointed the eighteenth United States Poet Laureate in 1966. He also received the Order of the  ...more
  • 9

    John J. Tigert

    Professor, Coach

    AgeDec. at 82 (1882-1965)

    BirthplaceNashville, Tennessee

    NationalityUnited States of America

    John James Tigert IV (February 11, 1882 – January 21, 1965) was an American university president, university professor and administrator, college sports coach and the U.S. Commissioner of Education.   ...more
  • 10

    Jay Cutler

    Athlete, American football player


    BirthplaceCarter Township, Santa Claus, Indiana

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Jay Christopher Cutler (born April 29, 1983) is a former American football quarterback who played in the National Football League for 12 seasons, primarily with the Chicago Bears. He played college  ...more

    #236 of 243 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities In The World#115 of 120 The Best Quarterbacks Of All Time#585 of 1,342 The Best Football Players Ever

  • 11

    Richard Quest

    Journalist, TV Journalist


    BirthplaceLiverpool, United Kingdom


    Richard Austin Quest (born 9 March 1962) is an English journalist and a CNN International Anchor. He is also CNN Business Editor at Large, based in New York City. He anchors "Quest Means Business",  ...more
  • 12
    Guitarist, Musician


    BirthplaceAugusta, Georgia, USA

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Amy Lee Grant (born November 25, 1960) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, author and media personality. She is known for performing contemporary Christian music (CCM) and for a successful  ...more

    The Best Amy Grant Albums of All Time#3 of 121 The Best 1970s Christian Pop Artists#114 of 500 The Best Female Vocalists Ever

  • 13
    Poet, Novelist

    AgeDec. at 79 (1899-1979)

    BirthplaceWinchester, Kentucky

    NationalityUnited States of America

    John Orley Allen Tate (November 19, 1899 – February 9, 1979), known professionally as Allen Tate, was an American poet, essayist, social commentator, and Poet Laureate from 1943 to 1944.  ...more
  • 14
    Television director, Television producer

    AgeDec. at 87 (1920-2007)

    BirthplaceUSA, Lawrence, Kansas

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Delbert Martin Mann Jr. (January 30, 1920 – November 11, 2007) was an American television and film director. He won the Academy Award for Best Director for the film Marty (1955), adapted from a 1953  ...more
  • 15

    Jack Thompson



    BirthplaceCleveland, Ohio

    NationalityUnited States of America

    John Bruce Thompson (born July 25, 1951) is an American activist and disbarred attorney, based in Coral Gables, Florida. Thompson is known for his role as an anti-video-game activist, particularly  ...more
  • 16

    Brendan Synnott




    NationalityUnited States of America

    Brendan Synnott is scheduled to appear on Survivor: Tocantins, the eighteenth season of reality show Survivor.  ...more
  • 17

    John Barrett

    Journalist, Diplomat

    AgeDec. at 71 (1866-1938)

    BirthplaceGrafton, Vermont, USA

    NationalityUnited States of America

    John Barrett (November 28, 1866 – October 17, 1938) was a United States diplomat and one of the most influential early directors general of the Pan American Union. On his death, the New York Times  ...more
  • 18

    John Lowden Knight

    John Lowden Knight (November 2, 1915 – July 21, 2001) was a professor, university administrator, and a Methodist theologian. He was President of Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln, Nebraska; the  ...more
  • 19

    David Boaz

    David Boaz (; born August 29, 1953, Mayfield, Kentucky) is the executive vice president of the Cato Institute, an American libertarian think tank. He is the author of Libertarianism: A Primer,  ...more
  • 20

    Fred Thompson

    Public speaker, Politician

    AgeDec. at 73 (1942-2015)

    BirthplaceSheffield, Alabama, USA

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Freddie Dalton Thompson (August 19, 1942 – November 1, 2015) was an American politician, attorney, lobbyist, columnist, actor and radio personality. Thompson, a Republican, served in the United  ...more

    #237 of 432 Famous Tall Men Over 6'2#16 of 30 31 Actors Who Went Into Politics

  • 21


    BirthplaceGreenwood, Mississippi

    NationalityUnited States of America

    James Bernard Machen (; born March 26, 1944) is an American university professor and administrator. Machen is a native of Mississippi, and earned several academic degrees before becoming a  ...more
  • 22

    Randall Jarrell

    Poet, Novelist

    AgeDec. at 51 (1914-1965)

    BirthplaceNashville, Tennessee

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Randall Jarrell (May 6, 1914 – October 14, 1965) was an American poet, literary critic, children's author, essayist, and novelist. He was the 11th Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress—a  ...more
  • 23
    Journalist, Screenwriter

    AgeDec. at 82 (1920-2003)

    BirthplaceWilmington, USA, North Carolina

    NationalityUnited States of America

    David McClure Brinkley (July 10, 1920 – June 11, 2003) was an American newscaster for NBC and ABC in a career lasting from 1943 to 1997. From 1956 through 1970, he co-anchored NBC's top-rated nightly  ...more
  • 24

    Norman Shumway


    AgeDec. at 83 (1923-2006)

    BirthplaceKalamazoo, Michigan

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Norman Edward Shumway (February 9, 1923 – February 10, 2006) was a pioneer of heart surgery at Stanford University. He was the 67th president of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery and the  ...more
  • 25

    Steve Cohen

    Politician, Lawyer


    BirthplaceMemphis, Tennessee, USA

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Stephen Ira Cohen (born May 24, 1949) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative from Tennessee's 9th congressional district, since 2007. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The  ...more