Notable Alumni

Notable alumni of the Columbia University School of General Studies, including its dual and joint degree programs, as well as the Columbia University Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program.

  • Ira Gershwin* (1918), Pulitzer Prize-winning American lyricist
  • Amelia Earhart* (1920), American aviator and early female pilot
  • Simon Kuznets (1923), Nobel Prize-winning economist
  • David O. Selznick* (1923), Hollywood producer, King Kong (1933) and Gone with the Wind
  • Federico García Lorca* (1929), Spanish poet and dramatist
  • Isaac Asimov (1939), Science fiction author and biochemist
  • J.D. Salinger* (1939), Author
  • Jane Jacobs* (1940s), Urban theorist, activist, and author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities
  • Baruj Benacerraf (1942), Nobel Prize-winning immunologist
  • Telly Savalas (1946), Emmy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated actor
  • Gene Roddenberry* (1946-1947), Screenwriter, producer, and creator of the original Star Trek television series and its first spin-off series Star Wars: The Next Generation
  • Ossie Davis* (1947-1948), Actor and social activist; Emmy and Golden Globe award nominee
  • Louis Simpson (1948), Pulitzer Prize-winning poet
  • John W. Backus (1950), Developer of Fortran, the first true computer language
  • Anthony Perkins* (1950s), Actor and writer
  • Frank Sutton (1952), Actor
  • Donald Clarence Judd (1953), Artist
  • Donald Richie (1953), Film critic
  • Sandy Koufax* (1955), Pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers and Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Mike Gravel (1956), Former U.S. Senator from Alaska and candidate for the 2008 Democratic nomination for President of the United States; released full Pentagon Papers
  • Pat Boone (1957), Singer and actor
  • Lee Falk* (1957-1961), Comic strip writer (created The Phantom and Mandrake the Magician); theater director and producer
  • Gerard W. Ford (1957), Founder, Ford Modeling Agency
  • Hunter S. Thompson* (1958), Writer
  • Mary McFadden (1959), Fashion designer
  • Stewart Rawlings Mott (1959), Lobbyist and philanthropist
  • Edward Klein (1960), Author
  • R.W. Apple (1961), New York Times associate editor
  • John Tauranac (1963), Chief designer of the New York City subway map of 1979
  • Louise Glück* (1963-1968), Nobel Prize-winning poet; United States Poet Laureate, 2003 and 2004
  • Jehuda Reinharz (1964), President, Brandeis University
  • Malcolm Borg (1965), Chairman of North Jersey Media Group (formerly Macromedia, Inc.); owner of The Record newspaper in Bergen County
  • Whitney Dow (1968), Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker
  • Jacques Pépin (1970), Twenty-four-time James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef, author, culinary educator, television personality, and artist; recipient of Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement
  • Edward Cecil Harris (1971), Creator of the Harris matrix
  • Peter H. Kostmayer (1971), Former (D) Congressman of Pennsylvania
  • Roger Pilon (1971), Constitutional scholar and legal theorist
  • Kristi Zea (1974), Production designer and producer, Academy Award nominee for Best Picture for As Good as It Gets
  • Howard Dean (1975), Former Governor of Vermont and Chair of the Democratic National Committee
  • Christopher Gray (1975), American journalist and architectural historian
  • Howard G. Chua-Eoan (1983), News Director, TIME magazine
  • Gil Shaham (1990), Violinist
  • Ted Rall (1991), Syndicated cartoonist
  • Sasha Frere-Jones (1993), Music critic for The New Yorker
  • Gale Brewer (1997), City Council Representative for the Upper West Side; Manhattan Borough President
  • Josh Waitzkin* (1999), Child chess prodigy and author
  • Philippe Reines (2000), Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Senior Advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • Trent Dimas (2002), Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics
  • Julia Bacha (2003), Award-winning documentary filmmaker
  • Eric Shaw (2003), Emmy Award-winning screenwriter
  • Lauren McFall (2008), Olympic bronze medalist in synchronized swimming
  • Thomas Reardon (2008), Creator of Internet Explorer
  • Michelle Rejwan (2008), Senior Vice President of Live Action Development and Production at Lucasfilm
  • Tim Goebel (2010), 2002 Olympic bronze medalist in ice skating
  • Lena Park (2010), Singer
  • Jonathan Weiss (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) (2010), Actor
  • Sara Ziff (2011), Fashion model and activist
  • Cameron Russell (2012), Fashion model
  • Jason Everman (2013), Former guitarist in Nirvana and Soundgarden
  • Lisa Cant (2013), Fashion model
  • Troy Murphy (2016), Professional basketball player; formerly played for Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers
  • Sasha Cohen (2016), Olympic silver medalist in figure skating

*Indicates an attendee who did not graduate