World Facts

10 Famous People Who Went to Columbia University

A list of famous alumni of Colombia University.

Columbia University is among the top-ranking schools of business, law, education, and undergraduate studies not only in the United States but also in the world. The institution offers many prestigious programs, and it is no surprise that it has produced a wide array of successful people over the years. The following are some of the notable alumni of Columbia University.

Famous People Who Went to Colombia University

Barack Obama

Barack Obama was the 44th President and the first African-American president of the United States. He began his senior education at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California, before transferring to Columbia University in New York where he graduated with a major in political science in 1983. He later joined Harvard School of law where he graduated with a JD degree magna cum laude in 1991.

Presidents Teddy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt were distant relatives who served as American presidents. They both attended Columbia school of law but neither graduated. Teddy Roosevelt became the youngest president in American history when he assumed office in 1901 after the assassination of William McKinley. Franklin Roosevelt served between 1933 and 1945 and was known for introducing the New Deal and other Great Depression recovery programs. Both presidents received posthumous degrees in 2008 making Teddy Roosevelt an official member of the class of 1882 and Franklin Roosevelt a successful graduate of the class of 1907.

Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys began her senior studies at the Professional Performance Art School in New York before she was accepted to Columbia University in 1997 at the age of 16. She dropped out after one year to record music and went ahead to win 15 Grammy Awards by 2019.

Alexander Hamilton

Alex Hamilton was among the founding fathers of the United States. He served as the first Secretary of the Treasury between September 1789 and January 1795. He was admitted to Columbia then known as King's College at the age of 18. Despite the institution’s affiliation with the King of England Hamilton participated in revolutionary causes.

Dwight Eisenhower

President Dwight Eisenhower did not study at Columbia University but instead served as the president of the institution from 1948 to 1953. Eisenhower was occasionally absent from the University for long periods most significantly in 1950 when he took up a military role as the commander of NATO. Despite his absenteeism, he oversaw significant developments in the institution including the founding of the Columbia Center for Oral History. He resigned after being elected the 34th president of the United States.

Madeleine Albright

Madeleine Albright served as the first female Secretary of State between 1997 and 2001 during the Bill Clinton administration. She moved to the United States from Czechoslovakia with her family in 1948. Albright attended Wellesley College for her undergraduate degree in political science. She joined the John Hopkins University before attending Columbia’s Harriman Institute for a master's degree in 1968 and a Ph.D. in public law and governance in 1976.

Other Famous Alumni of Columbia University

Other famous people who attended Columbia University include novelist and writer J.D. Salinger, model and actor Katie Holmes, film producer and actor Jake Gyllenhaal, politician and economist Alan Greenspan, and businessman and banker David Rockefeller among many others.

10 Famous People Who Went to Columbia University

RankName
1Alexander Hamilton
2Alicia Keys
3Barack Obama
4Dwight Eisenhower
5Franklin Delano Roosevelt
6Georgia O'Keeffe
7JD Salinger
8Katie Holmes
9Madeleine Albright
10Theodore Roosevelt

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