Columbia University Notable Alumni, and Biographies

Joseph Kanu
Joseph Kanu  - Content Writer, Editor and Blogger January 27, 2023
Updated 2023/03/21 at 2:30 PM
Columbus University Notable Alumni
Columbus University Notable Alumni

Are you searching for Columbia University Notable Alumni? Search no further, this article presents you with Columbia University Notable alumni. 

Out of the numerous Columbia University notable alumni, we have carefully selected just 10, and the good thing is that we are not just going to name them but we’ll as well tell you briefly about them.

Below are 10 Columbia university notable alumni:

1. Barack Obama

The first on our list is Barack Hussein Obama II popularly known as Barack Obama. He is a 62-year-old retired American politician born on August 4th, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii. His father was Kenyan and his mother was American.

Barack Obama served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017, making him the first African-American to emerge as president of the United States under the Democratic Party.

Before Obama became US president, he was formally a senator of the United States from 2005 to 2008 and as an Illinois state senator from 1997 to 2004 and was previously a civil rights lawyer before he ventured into politics.

Barack Obama graduated from Columbia University in 1983, and he began work as a community organizer in Chicago, he furthered his studies at Harvard Law School in 1988, where he emerged as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review

After he graduated from Harvard Law School, he became a civil rights lawyer and an academic and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. 

2. Julia Stiles

Julia O’Hara Stiles professionally known as Julia Stiles is a 42-year-old American actress born on March 28th, 1981, in New York City where she was raised as well.

Julia Stiles started acting when she was 11 years old with New York’s La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club. She did her film debut with a minor role in I Love You, I Love You Not in 1996.

After her film debut, In 1998, Julia Stiles had a lead role in Wicked and her outstanding performance in the film earned her the Karlovy Vary Film Festival Award for Best Actress. Julia Stiles became very popular after she had her leading roles in teen films including 10 Things I Hate About You in 1999, Down to You in 2000, and Save the Last Dance in 2001. 

Stiles has had numerous awards and honours for her outstanding performances including one NBR Award, one CFCA Award, one Gold Derby Award, one Teen Choice Award, and two MTV Movie Awards, as well as Satellite Award, Gotham Award, Golden Globe Award, and Emmy Award nominations.

Her father was John O’Hara, an elementary school teacher, and her mother is Judith Newcomb Stiles, a Greenwich Village artist. Stiles is the oldest of her parents’ three children and is of English, Irish, and Italian ancestry

3. Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton was an American military personnel, statesman, and Founding Father born on January 11th, 1757, in Charlestown, Nevis, and died on July 12th, 1804.]

 His father was James A. Hamilton, a Scotsman the fourth son of Alexander Hamilton, the laird of Grange, Ayrshire, and his mother was Rachel Faucette who was a married woman of half-British and half-French Huguenot ancestry.

Hilton was one of the founding fathers of the United States of America, he served as the first United States secretary of the treasury from 1789 to 1795.

Alexander Hamilton was birthed out of wedlock, was orphaned as a child, and was catered for by a prosperous merchant. Hamilton had his education in New York and thereafter he served as an artillery officer in the American Revolutionary War.

4. Lou Gehrig

Henry Louis Gehrig professionally known as Lou Gehrig was an American professional baseball first baseman born on June 19th, 1903, in the Yorkville neighborhood of Manhattan, and died on June 2nd, 1941.

Lou Gehrig played 17 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Yankees from 1923 to 1939,  being popular for his prowess as a hitter and for his endurance, he earned the nickname “the Iron Horse”.

Lou Gehrig has had several awards and honors including a 7-time All-Star, a Triple Crown once, a two-time American League (AL) Most Valuable Player, and membership of six World Series champion teams, among other honors.

His father was Heinrich Gehrig who was a sheet metal worker and his mother, Christina Foch was a maid, and the main breadwinner and disciplinarian of the family.

5. Brian Dennehy

Brian Manion Dennehy professionally known as Brian Dennehy was an American stage, television, and film actor born on July 9th, 1938,  in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and died on April 15th, 2020.

His father was Edward Dennehy, who worked as a wire service editor for the Associated Press, and his mother was Hannah (nee Manion), who worked as a nurse.  Brian Dennehy had a Catholic upbringing and was of Irish descent.

Brian Dennehy is a two-time Tony Awards winner, who has also won an Olivier Award, and a Golden Globe, and has bagged six Primetime Emmy Award nominations. He has been featured in more than 180 films and in several  TV and stage productions.

Dennehy gained entry into  Columbia University in New York City on a football scholarship in late 1956, he suspended his studies and spent five years in the U.S. Marines, and after a while and some incidences, he got back to Columbia University where he graduated and bagged a B.A. in history in 1965.

6. Kate McKinnon

Kate McKinnon Berthold professionally known as Kate McKinnon is a 39-year-old American actress, comedian, and writer born on January 6th, 1984, on Long Island in the town of Sea Cliff, New York.

Mckinnon is popular for her roles on the NBC sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live from 2012 to 2022, where she came to the limelight for her character work and celebrity impressions. 

Her father was Michael Thomas Berthold, an architect who died while Kate was 18 years old, and her mother was Laura Campbell, a parent educator. Her younger sister is Emily Lynne, a comedian who collaborated on the Audible series Heads Will Roll, as well as the digital series Notary Publix.

7. Alicia Keys

Alicia Augello Cook popularly known as Alicia keys is a 42-year-old American singer, songwriter, and pianist born on January 25th, 1981, in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, a borough of New York City.

She was raised by her mother, Teresa Augello, a paralegal and part-time who is of Italian, Irish, and Scottish descent.

Alicia Keys is a classically-oriented pianist, she began composing songs at age 12 and was first signed by Columbia Records at 15 years old, and after a beef with the record label, she signed with Arista Records. She has won numerous awards for her outstanding performances and body of work.

8. Jack Kerouac

Jean-Louis Lebris de Kérouac popularly known as Jack Kerouac was an American novelist and poet born on March 12th,1922, in Lowell, Massachusetts, and died on October 21st, 1969. His parents were Léo-Alcide Kéroack,  and Gabrielle-Ange Lévesque both of French-Canadian descent.

Jack Kerouac was a pioneer of the Beat Generation alongside William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. Kerouac is of French-Canadian descent, he “learned how to speak English with a fluent accent while he was six years old.

9. Art Garfunkel

Arthur Ira Garfunkel popularly known as Art Garfunkel is an 82-year-old American singer, poet, and actor born on November 5th, 1941, in Forest Hills, Queens, New York City.

His father was Jacob “Jack” Garfunkel, a traveling salesman and his mother was Rose (nee Pearlman). Art Garfunkel is of Romanian-Jewish descent. Art Garfunkel is very popular for his partnership with Paul Simon in the folk rock duo Simon & Garfunkel.

10. George Stephanopoulos

George Robert Stephanopoulos popularly known as George Stephanopoulos is a 62-year-old American political commentator, television host, and former Democratic advisor born on February 10, 1961, in Fall River, Massachusetts.

His parents are Robert George Stephanopoulos(father) a Greek Orthodox priest and dean emeritus of the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York City, and Nickolitsa “Nikki” Gloria (née Chafos)(mother), both of Greek descent.

George Stephanopoulos is currently a co-anchor alongside Robin Roberts and Michael Strahan on Good Morning America. He is also the host of This Week, ABC’s Sunday morning current events news program.

Before George Stephanopoulos fully became a journalist, he served as an advisor to the Democratic Party and famous when he served as a communications director for Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign and eventually emerged as the director of White House communications. 

George Stephanopoulos was later appointed as senior advisor for policy and strategy, before he vacated the office in December 1996.


In every organization, institution, and sphere of life, there are usually some personalities who are the most notable of everyone there because everyone can never be taken note of.

We guess this article has met your search intent and now you know who Columbia University notable alumni are, for more articles like this, keep visiting our website at

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