Notable Alumni


Government and Law

Elected officials

  • Mo Brooks ’75: U.S. House of Representatives (Alabama)
  • Bradley Byrne ’77: U.S. House of Representatives (Alabama)
  • Shelley Moore Capito ’75: U.S. senator (West Virginia)
  • Elizabeth Dole ’58: Former U.S. senator; former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and U.S. Secretary of Labor; former president of the American Red Cross
  • Dan Lipinski PhD’98: U.S. House of Representatives (Illinois)
  • Richard Nixon JD’37: 37th president of the United States
  • Rand Paul MD’88: U.S. senator (Kentucky)
  • Scott Peters '80: U.S. House of Representatives (California)
  • Dave Trott JD'85: U.S. House of Representatives (Michigan)
  • Bob Wise ‘70: Former governor of West Virginia

See also: Duke alumni in Congress

Cabinet and administrative leaders

  • Martin Dempsey AM’84: Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Neil Eggleston ’75: White House counsel to President Barack Obama
  • Deborah James ’79: Secretary of the U.S. Air Force
  • John Koskinen ’61: Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service
  • Juanita Kreps AM’44, PhD’48: Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce (1977-79)
  • Eric Shinseki AM’76: Former U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs (2009-14) and former chief of staff for the U.S. Army
  • Jeffrey Zients ’88: Director, National Economic Council, and economic policy advisor to President Barack Obama


  • Allyson Duncan JD’75: Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
  • Todd Hughes JD’92, AM’92: Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • Jane Kelly ’87: Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit
  • Gerald Tjoflat LLB’57: Chief Judge Emeritus, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit

International government and diplomacy

  • Arkady Dvorkovich PhD’98: Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation
  • William Eacho ’76: U.S. Ambassador to Austria
  • Stuart Jones ’82: U.S. Ambassador to Iraq
  • Ricardo Lagos AM’63, PhD’66: Former president of Chile
  • Amit Mitra AM’76, PhD’78: Finance minister of India’s West Bengal, winner of India's national civilian Padma Shri Award
  • Mayassa al-Thani ’05: Chairperson, Qatar Museums Authority, daughter of the Emir of Qatar
  • Gao Xiqing JD’86: Former president, and CIO, China Investment Corporation

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Philanthropy, public policy and activism

  • John H. Adams LLB’62: Cofounder, Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Charlotte Bunch ’66: Author, human rights activist
  • Benjamin Chavis Jr. MDiv’80: Civil rights activist, former executive director, NAACP
  • Andrew Cunningham ’08: Cofounder and first director, Women’s Institute for Secondary Education and Research (WISER), a Duke-supported women’s school in Kenya
  • Melinda French Gates ’86, MBA’87: Cofounder, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Eric Greitens ’96: Former Navy SEAL and founder of The Mission Continues, which helps veterans transition to post-combat life
  • Neal Keny-Guyer ’76: CEO, Mercy Corps
  • Michael Marsicano ‘77, ME’78, PhD’82: President and CEO, Foundation for the Carolinas
  • Eleanor Smeal ’61: Former president, National Organization for Women
  • Margaret Taylor Smith ’47: Former chair, Kresge Foundation

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Journalism and media

  • Dan Abrams ’88: ABC News chief legal analyst and co-anchor of ABC’s Nightline
  • Seth Davis ’92: Reporter for Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports
  • John Feinstein ’77: Sportswriter, The Washington Post
  • Clay Felker ’51: Founding editor of New York Magazine
  • Cornelia Grumman ’85: Journalist and opinion writer; won Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for series of editorials in the Chicago Tribune
  • Melissa Harris-Perry AM’97, PhD’99: Host of Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC
  • David Hartman ’56: First host of Good Morning America
  • John Harwood ’78: Chief Washington correspondent for CNBC, political writer for The New York Times
  • Mangesh Hattikudur ’01 and Will Pearson ’01: Founders, mental floss magazine
  • Nia-Malika Henderson ’96: National political reporter, The Washington Post and MSNBC
  • Christopher Keyes ’96: Editor, Outside magazine
  • Hugo Lindgren ’90: Editor, New York Times Magazine
  • Russell Kirk AM’41: Columnist and author of The Conservative Mind and other books, pioneer in modern conservative movement
  • Mark Mazzetti ’96: New York Times national-security correspondent, won 2009 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of violence in Pakistan and Afghanistan
  • Sean McManus ’77: Chairman, CBS Sports
  • Charlie Rose ‘64, JD’68: CBS This Morning co-anchor and host of Charlie Rose show on PBS
  • John Seigenthaler ’78: News anchor, Al Jazeera America
  • Leslie Jane Seymour ’78: Editor-in-chief, MORE magazine
  • Elizabeth Spiers ’99: Former editor of the New York Observer, founding editor,
  • Greg Veis ’03: Executive editor, The New Republic
  • Judy Woodruff ’68: Co-anchor and managing editor of PBS NewsHour

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  • Rex Adams ’62: Chairman and director, Invesco; dean emeritus of Duke Fuqua School of Business
  • Melissa Bernstein ’87: Cofounder, Melissa & Doug brand of educational toys
  • Jack Bovender Jr. ’67, MHA’69: Former chairman and CEO, Hospital Corporation of America
  • John Chambers ’71: Chairman and CEO, Cisco Systems
  • Timothy Cook MBA’88: CEO, Apple
  • Chad Dickerson ’93: CEO, Etsy
  • Pamela Edwards MBA’88: CFO, Victoria’s Secret
  • William Gross ’66: Bond fund manager, cofounder and former managing director of Pacific Investment Management Co.
  • Gerald Hassell ’77: Chairman and CEO, BNY Mellon
  • Amy Hood ’94: CFO, Microsoft
  • Lisa Hook ’80: President and CEO, NeuStar
  • Betsy Holden ’77: Former co-CEO, Kraft Foods
  • Lesa Kennedy ’83: CEO, International Speedway Corporation, and NASCAR board of directors
  • Michael W. Lamach MBA’01: Chairman and CEO, Ingersoll Rand
  • Dylan Lauren ’96: Founder of Dylan’s Candy Bar online and retail candy stores
  • Poman Lo ’99: Managing director, Regal Hotels International, and producer of Chinese children’s show Bodhi and Friends
  • John J. Mack ’68: Senior adviser and former CEO, Morgan Stanley; former CEO, Credit Suisse First Boston
  • Peter Nicholas ’64: Cofounder and chairman, Boston Scientific Corp.
  • Stephen Pagliuca ’77: Managing director, Bain Capital; managing general partner and co-owner, Boston Celtics
  • David M. Rubenstein ’70: Cofounder and managing director, The Carlyle Group
  • Alan D. Schwartz ’72: Executive chairman, Guggenheim Partners; former CEO, Bear Stearns
  • Malvinder Mohan Singh MBA’98 and Shivinder Mohan Singh MBA’00: Brothers who lead Fortis Healthcare, a large hospital chain in India
  • Joseph Robert Swedish MHA’79: President and CEO, WellPoint
  • Karl von der Heyden ’62: Former co-chairman and CEO, RJR Nabisco; former CFO, PepsiCo
  • Richard Wagoner ’75: Former chairman and CEO, General Motors

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Arts and entertainment

  • Michael Best ’62: Tenor, former principal artist of the Metropolitan Opera
  • Les Brown ’36: Musician, inducted into Big Band & Jazz Hall of Fame
  • Ralph Alan Cohen AM’69, PhD’73: Cofounder and director of mission, American Shakespeare Center
  • Pola Changnon ’85: Vice president and creative director, Turner Classic Movies
  • Robert L. Cook ’73: Oscar-winning animation software designer, former VP at Pixar Animation Studios
  • Bill Cunliffe ’78: Grammy Award-winning composer, arranger and pianist
  • Kara DioGuardi ’93: Songwriter, former judge on TV’s American Idol
  • Annabeth Gish ’92: Actress (The X-Files, The West Wing, The Bridge)
  • Kevin Gray ’80: Actor who starred in Broadway productions of Phantom of the Opera
  • Jared Harris ’84: Actor on TV series Mad Men, feature film Lincoln
  • Ken Jeong ’90: Comedian, TV and film actor (The Hangover, Knocked Up, Pain & Gain)
  • Aaron Lazar ’98: Actor on Broadway (Mamma Mia!, The Last Ship), film and TV
  • Alisa Lepselter ’85: Film editor on all of Woody Allen’s movies since 1999
  • Mike Posner ’09: Pop musician
  • Charles Randolph-Wright ’78: Director of Motown: The Musical and other Broadway productions
  • Marietta Sirleaf ’92: Comedian and actress on NBC’s Parks and Recreation
  • Bryan Unkeless ’04: Producer of The Hunger Games and other movies
  • Mark Vahradian ’89: Producer of Transformers movies and other films
  • Randall Wallace ’71: Screenwriter (Braveheart, The Man in the Iron Mask, Pearl Harbor, We Were Soldiers)
  • Ryan White ’04: Filmmaker, won Sundance Film Festival award for The Case Against 8
  • Patrick Williams ’61: Emmy- and Grammy-winning composer
  • Robert Yeoman ’73: Cinematographer (Drugstore Cowboy, The Royal Tenenbaums, Bridesmaids, The Grand Budapest Hotel)

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  • Fred Chappell ’61, AM’64: Novelist and former North Carolina Poet Laureate
  • Ben Fountain JD’83: 2012 National Book Award finalist for Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
  • Josephine Humphreys ’67: Novelist (Dreams of Sleep, Rich in Love, Nowhere Else on Earth)
  • Peter Maas ’50: Author of police and crime nonfiction books (Serpico, The Valachi Papers, Underboss)
  • Khaled Mattawa PhD’09: Poet and literary translator, winner of 2014 MacArthur Foundation genius grant
  • Lydia Millet MEM’96: Novelist, winner of 2003 PEN Center USA Award for Fiction for My Happy Life
  • Noel Perrin AM’50: Essayist and literary critic, author of First Person Rural: Essays of a Sometime Farmer
  • Reynolds Price ’55: Poet, novelist and former Duke professor of English
  • William Styron ’47: Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and essayist
  • Anne Tyler ’61: Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and writer of short stories
  • Dana Vachon ’02: Author of acclaimed first novel Mergers & Acquisitions

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  • Elizabeth Davis PhD’92: President, Furman University
  • Mauri Ditzler PhD’79: President of Albion College
  • Charles L. Flynn Jr. AM’75, PhD’80: President, College of Mount Saint Vincent
  • W. Kent Fuchs BSE’77: President, University of Florida
  • Pamela Gann JD’73: Former president, Claremont McKenna College (1999-2013)
  • Susan Henking ’77: President of Shimer College
  • Susan Herbst ’84: President of the University of Connecticut
  • Albert D. Kirwan PhD’47: Former president of the University of Kentucky (1968-69)
  • Benjamin Ladner PhD’71: Former president of American University (1994-2005)
  • Vergel L. Lattimore MDiv’77: President, Hood Theological Seminary
  • Mirta Martin ’82: President, Fort Hays State University
  • Richard L. Morrill PhD’68: Former president of the University of Richmond (1988-98)
  • David P. Roselle PhD’65: Former president of the University of Kentucky (1987-89) and the University of Delaware (1990-2007)
  • Andrew Rosen ’82: CEO, Kaplan, Inc.
  • Kenneth Starr JD’73: President, Baylor University; former federal judge and solicitor general of the United States
  • Carolyn J. Stefanco PhD'87: President, College of Saint Rose
  • David E. Sweet PhD’68: Founding president of Metropolitan State University (1971-77) and former president of Rhode Island College (1977-84)
  • Jill Tiefenthaler PhD’91: President of Colorado College

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Science and medicine

  • Ian Barbour ’47: Won 1999 Templeton Prize for study of science and religion
  • Kimberly Blackwell ’89: Duke professor and oncologist, pioneer in breast-cancer research
  • Charles Brady Jr. MD’75: Astronaut on 1996 U.S. space shuttle Columbia mission
  • George M. Church ’74: Harvard University geneticist, pioneer in human genome sequencing
  • Hans Dehmelt Postdoc 1955: 1989 Nobel Prize winner in physics
  • Sylvia Earle AM’56, PhD’66: Former chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, Time magazine’s first Hero for the Planet
  • Paul Farmer ’82: Physician and cofounder of the global-health organization Partners in Health
  • Brian Kobilka Postdoc 1987: Co-winner (with Duke professor Robert Lefkowitz) of 2012 Nobel Prize in chemistry
  • Martin Kratt ’89: Zoologist and co-host of PBS children’s show Wild Kratts
  • Larry Mimms PhD’81: Biochemist; won 2004 National Medal of Technology for innovations in HIV detection and testing
  • Robert Richardson PhD’66: 1996 Nobel Prize winner in physics
  • Charles Townes AM’37: 1964 Nobel Prize winner in physics; winner of 2005 Templeton Prize
  • Blake Wilson BSE’74: Duke professor who co-developed the cochlear implant; won 2013 Lasker Award for clinical research

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  • Andrew Busey ’93: Entrepreneur, creator of iChat
  • Eddy Cue ’86: Senior vice president of software and services, Apple
  • Jim Ellis ’78, AM’83 and Tom Truscott ’75, AM’81: Creators of Usenet, one of the first communication systems on the Internet
  • Scott Guthrie '97: Corporate Vice President, Microsoft
  • Terry Myerson ’92: Executive vice president of operating systems for Microsoft, led Windows Phone
  • Aaron Patzer BSE’02: Founder and former CEO,
  • Dylan Smith ’08: Cofounder and CFO,
  • Luis von Ahn ’00: Inventor of CAPTCHA Internet security system; MacArthur genius grant winner
  • Ge Wang ’00: Stanford University computer scientist; founder of laptop and mobile-phone orchestras

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  • Tommy Amaker ’87, MBA’89: Head basketball coach, Harvard University
  • Alana Beard ’04: Four-time WNBA All-Star
  • Jay Bilas ’86, JD’92: Emmy-nominated sports analyst, ESPN
  • Chris Collins ’96: Head basketball coach, Northwestern University
  • Johnny Dawkins ’86: Head basketball coach, Stanford University
  • Danny Ferry ’89: General manager, Atlanta Hawks
  • Paulie Harraka ’12: NASCAR driver
  • Jay Heaps ’98: Head coach, New England Revolution (Major League Soccer)
  • Grant Hill ’94: Seven-time NBA All-Star. Turner Sports and NBA-TV broadcaster
  • Nancy Hogshead-Makar ’86: Won three gold medals in swimming, 1984 Olympics
  • Bobby Hurley ’93: Head basketball coach, University of Buffalo
  • Abby Johnston ’13: Silver medalist in diving, 2012 Olympics
  • Sonny Jurgensen ’57: Hall of Fame NFL quarterback
  • Billy King ’88: General manger, Brooklyn Nets
  • Alison Levine MBA’00: Adventurer, first American woman to climb the highest mountain on all seven continents and reach both poles
  • Nick McCrory ’14: Four-time NCAA champion diver; won bronze medal at 2012 Olympics
  • Charlie “Ace” Parker ’37: Played professional baseball and football (1937-1941), inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1972
  • Adam Silver ’84: Commissioner, NBA
  • Andrew Skurka ’05: Long-distance hiker; National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2007
  • Quin Snyder ’89, JD’95, MBA’95: Head coach, Utah Jazz
  • Becca Ward ’12: Won two medals in fencing at 2008 Olympics

See also:
Duke alumni in the NBA
Duke alumni in the WNBA
Duke alumni in the NFL

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