Skip to main content

On Common Grounds

An incomplete list of notable alumni who shared the University

No University of Virginia retrospective would be complete without remembering some of the accomplished men and women who have shared these Grounds. We knew at the outset that narrowing down hundreds of thousands of alumni to a few pages would be nearly impossible; we’d have to omit countless individuals with achievements at least as remarkable. And that’s not even to mention those alumni who have flown under the radar—living quiet lives of great importance among their loved ones and communities.

With all appropriate disclaimers then, and also an open invitation for you to add to our list, here’s a roundup of some of UVA’s foremost former students.


Edgar Allan Poe (1826)
Edgar Allan Poe

The former resident of 13 West Range left the newly established University because of lack of funds. Then, after failing at West Point, Poe went on to make his mark as one of the first well-known Americans to make an (albeit meager) living as a writer. Some of his best-known works, including The Raven, The Cask of Amontillado and The Tell-Tale Heart, showcase his somber and at times macabre style, and his detective novels are said to have inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character, Sherlock Holmes.

John Stevenson (Law 1834)

U.S. congressman from Kentucky (1857–1861) who supported Sen. John Crittenden’s compromise plan for preserving the Union; governor of Kentucky (1867–1871); U.S. senator (1871–1877) and president of the American Bar Association (1884–1885).

James Lawrence Orr (Law 1841)

Former South Carolina governor and 22nd speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives; served as a member of both the Confederate Senate and the Confederate Army; appointed by President Grant as minister to Russia in 1872.

Bernard Gaines Farrar Jr. (Col 1852)

Farrar enlisted in the Union Army while living in the border state of Missouri. He eventually served as Missouri’s provost-marshal-­general and formed what would later become the 6th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery—an all-black regiment, most former slaves. After the Civil War, Farrar was Missouri’s assistant U.S. treasurer under President Benjamin Harrison.

Maj. Walter Reed (Col 1869)
Walter Reed

In his experiments as a U.S. Army surgeon, Reed confirmed that mosquitoes transmitted yellow fever, which had ravaged troops during the Spanish American War. Some consider the discovery the greatest single contribution to medicine in history. Multiple medical facilities have been named in Reed’s honor since 1909, including the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, dedicated in 2011.

John Bassett Moore (Law 1880)

First American to serve on the Permanent Court of International Justice, also known as the World Court (1921–1928); justice of the Permanent Court of International Arbitration at The Hague (1912–1938); alumnus for whom UVA’s John Bassett Moore Society of International Law is named.

Woodrow Wilson (Law 1880)
Woodrow Wilson

A Staunton, Virginia, native, Wilson attended the Law School for a year before changing course to study, teach, and write about political science and history. He served as president of Princeton University, his alma mater, and as governor of New Jersey before being elected president of the United States. Though his proposed Fourteen Points for peace were rejected in favor of the Treaty of Versailles following World War I, he was awarded the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the League of Nations.

William “Reddy” Holding Echols (Engr 1882)

This much-admired mathematics professor—for whom the Echols Scholars Program is named—was on Grounds in 1895 when the Rotunda annex caught fire. Hoping to contain the flames, he catapulted 100 pounds of dynamite onto the portico connecting the annex and the famed dome. Though the dramatic effort proved ineffective, he nonetheless became a Virginia legend.

Claude Swanson (Law 1886)

U.S. congressman (1893–1906) and senator from Virginia (1910–1933); Secretary of the Navy (1933–1939); governor of Virginia (1906–1910) who helped fund the state’s first highway system.

Caroline Preston Davis (Col 1893)

The granddaughter of law professor John A.G. Davis (famously shot by a student on the Lawn), Caroline Preston Davis became the University’s first female student after she petitioned to study mathematics in 1892. She was allowed only to learn privately from professors, however, and was granted a “pass certificate” rather than a diploma. She passed with distinction.

Joseph Taylor Robinson (Law 1895)

Governor of Arkansas for two months before filling vacant U.S. Senate seat (1913–1937); Democratic majority leader who helped pass the New Deal (1933–1937); vice presidential nominee in the 1928 election, the first Arkansan on a major-party ticket.

Back to top


Adm. William F. “Bull” Halsey (Med 1900)

After two years at UVA, Adm. Halsey received his coveted appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. He later earned his wings at age 51 and joined the growing aviation force. A mission took him away from Pearl Harbor just before the Japanese bombing in 1941, but his actions in World War II earned him a reputation as America’s most acclaimed fighting admiral.

W.W. Yen (Col 1900)
W.W. Yen

Yen (formal name Yan Huiqing) was the first Chinese student to earn a degree from UVA. He went on to have international influence as China’s first ambassador to the Soviet Union and as that country’s premier and acting president. In 2017, UVA’s Board of Visitors renamed a dorm at the International Residential College in his honor.

Wade Hampton Frost (Col 1901, Med 1903)

Pioneering epidemiologist who researched yellow fever, polio and influenza; founding dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health; professorship named after him in the UVA Medical School.

Alben Barkley (Law 1904)

Born to Kentucky tenant farmers, Barkley went on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and then the U.S. Senate, where he helped steer Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal through Congress. In 1948, at nearly 71, he became the oldest person elected vice president, under Harry S. Truman, and served four years.

William Alexander Fleet (Col 1904)

A member of the first class of American Rhodes scholars, Fleet earned his B.A. from UVA before beginning studies at Oxford in 1904. Frustrated by the U.S. government’s neutrality during the early part of World War I, he joined the British Army in 1917 and served in the famed Grenadier Guards until he was killed in action the following May.

Adm. Richard E. Byrd (Col 1908)

After studying for one year at UVA, Adm. Byrd graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and later retired as a rear admiral. He gained fame during the world’s aviation races for his daring polar expeditions—receiving the Tiffany Cross Medal of Honor for his 1926 continuous flight over the North Pole and back, and a Congressional Medal for his first Antarctic expedition (1928–1930). Byrd went on to aid other aviators, including Charles Lindbergh, and is recognized as having launched the era of aerial exploration of Antarctica.

Alexander Vandegrift (Col 1908)

Major general in the U.S. Marine Corps who led the assault on Guadalcanal in World War II; first Marine to receive both the Navy Cross and Medal of Honor and the first on active duty to become a four-star general; commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps (1944–1948).

John “James” Alcorn Rector (Law 1909)

First Cavalier to medal in the Olympic Games, taking silver in the 1908 100-meter dash; served as a St. Louis lawyer for the bulk of his career.

James Rogers McConnell (Col 1910)

Weeks before the U.S. entered World War I, McConnell—a flier in the Lafayette Escadrille—was killed in a dogfight over France. He had joined the French war effort in 1915 as an ambulance driver and received the Croix de Guerre for rescuing a wounded soldier. McConnell left UVA before earning his degree, but “The Aviator” statue near Clemons Library honors him.

Georgia O’Keeffe (attended 1912–1914)
O’Keeffe’s time at UVA was short—three summers—but scholars think one professor’s classroom exercise guided her style throughout a career for which she earned the title “mother of American modernism.” Gaining unprecedented fame for a female artist of her time, she was lauded by two presidents and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1977) and the National Medal of Arts (1985). Her 1932 Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 holds the record for the highest-valued painting sold by a female artist: $44.4 million. Tony Vaccaro/Getty Images
Robert Kent Gooch (Col 1914, Grad 1915)

In addition to quarterback prowess, Gooch may well have been the University’s first Honor Chairman. He was named a Rhodes Scholar but didn’t complete his studies. Instead, two years before the U.S. entered World War I, he volunteered for duty as an ambulance driver in France. After earning additional degrees at Oxford University after the war, Gooch returned to UVA, where he served as a professor until his retirement.

Eppa Rixey (Col 1914, Grad 1920)
Eppa Rixey National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Eppa Rixey, a left-handed pitcher, went directly from UVA to major league baseball. He played pro ball for 21 seasons, with a break in 1918 to serve in Europe during World War I. Shortly before his death in 1963, he was honored with membership in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Jesse W. Beams (Grad 1926)

An experimental physicist, Beams worked on the first linear electron accelerator and the magnetic ultracentrifuge. He was president of the American Physical Society (1957), won the National Medal of Science in 1967 and spent decades on the UVA faculty, until his death in 1977.

J. Hartwell Harrison (Col 1929, Med 1932)

Surgeon who participated in the first human organ transplant using a living donor—between identical twins in 1954; co-recipient of the 1961 Amory Prize of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Frank Gardiner Wisner (Col 1931, Law 1934)

During World War II, Wisner became head of operations for the Office of Strategic Services (a wartime intelligence agency) in southeastern Europe and arranged the airlift of more than 1,300 Allied prisoners of war. He later played a key role in establishing the CIA (successor to the OSS) and led its covert operations.

Jabez Curry Street (Grad 1931)

Physicist who co-discovered a fundamental particle of matter, known as the muon, and made important contributions to the development of the global radio navigation system LORAN; chairman of Harvard’s physics department.

Ruth Patrick (Grad 1931, 1934)
Ruth Patrick

Aquatic biologist hailed for pioneering limnology—the scientific study of stream ecosystems; became the 12th woman elected into the National Academy of Sciences; awarded the National Medal of Science in 1996.

Mortimer Caplin (Col 1937, Law 1940)

102-year-old former lawyer who taught at the UVA School of Law and served as JFK’s IRS commissioner; recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law in 2001.

Harry H. Gaver (Engr 1939)

Marine second lieutenant who served aboard the USS Oklahoma, becoming the first Virginia alumnus killed in WWII, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr. (Law 1940)

Former naval officer in World War II, then U.S. congressman from New York; named by President Kennedy as undersecretary of commerce; and served as chair of the Equal Opportunity Commission.

Robert Aldrich (Col 1941)

Hollywood director known for his realistic, often violent, socially conscious films, including What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, The Dirty Dozen and The Longest Yard.

William “Bullet” Dudley (Educ 1942)

The first Cavalier to have his number retired in any sport, Dudley was also the first player selected in the 1942 NFL draft (by the Pittsburgh Steelers); and the only Virginian elected to both the College and Professional Football Halls of Fame. He interrupted his pro career to serve in World War II, returning to play for the Steelers and then the Detroit Lions.

Alfred K. Mann (Col 1942, Grad 1944, Grad 1947)

Particle physicist best known for his role in discovering the fundamental properties of neutrinos; served as professor emeritus of physics at the University of Pennsylvania; 1981 Guggenheim Fellow.

John Backus (Col 1946)

Led the group that developed FORTRAN, the first widely used programming language; winner of the National Medal of Science in 1975.

Karl Gordon Henize (Col 1947, Grad 1948)

Before his selection by NASA as a scientist-astronaut in 1967, Henize gained renown as an astronomer, with a nova in a neighboring galaxy named after him. His mission aboard the space shuttle Challenger in 1985, at age 58, made him the oldest American to fly in space. Over his lifetime he received numerous awards, including the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal in 1974.

Robert F. Kennedy (Law 1951)
Robert F. Kennedy

As U.S. attorney general, Kennedy sent federal troops to Mississippi to enforce college integration. He was an ardent champion for the poor and for civil rights, and opposed expanded involvement in the Vietnam War. While a U.S. senator from New York, he ran for the presidency and was assassinated.

Walter N. Ridley (Educ 1953)
Walter N. Ridley

The first African American to graduate from UVA, Ridley had initially been denied entrance. He reapplied after segregation was overturned and graduated at age 43 with his doctorate. He held prominent roles at several universities, most notably as president at Elizabeth City State College (North Carolina) and gave leadership to the American Teachers Association for 25 years.

Gregory Swanson (Law 1953)

When Swanson applied to UVA for a master’s degree in law, he was already a practicing attorney. After the Board of Visitors rejected him, he sued and won admission, becoming the University’s first black student. Swanson wasn’t allowed to live on Grounds and left after one year, but his case led UVA to move toward desegregation.

John Warner (Law 1953)

A veteran of World War II and the Korean War, Warner served as secretary of the Navy (and had a submarine named after him) before being elected five times to the U.S. Senate, where he led the Armed Services Committee. Queen Elizabeth II honored him after he retired; his papers are stored at the UVA library.

Edward Elson (Col 1956)

Ambassador to Denmark (1993–1998), where he was awarded the Merkonom Prize for significant contribution to Denmark’s economic life; UVA Rector (1990–1992) and member of the Board of Visitors (1984–1992) for whom the Elson Student Health Center is named.

Lowell Weicker (Law 1958)

Former politician who served Connecticut as a U.S. representative, senator and governor; member of the Senate Watergate Committee and first Republican senator to call for Nixon’s resignation; made an unsuccessful bid for the 1980 Republican presidential nomination.

Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy (Law 1959)

The youngest brother in his family’s political dynasty, Kennedy served in the U.S. Senate for nine terms despite personal scandals. The unapologetically liberal Democrat championed better health care, voting rights, education, immigration reform, and equality for minorities, women, gays and people with disabilities.

John Tunney (Law 1959)

California congressman (1965–1971) and U.S. senator (1971–1977) whose Senate campaign inspired Robert Redford film The Candidate; at UVA, won moot court competition with roommate Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy (Law ’59).

N. Scott Momaday (Law 1959)

Kiowa author whose first novel, House Made of Dawn, won the 1969 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction and sparked a marked increase in Native American literature; awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2007.

Back to top


Tom Amlong (Educ 1961)

Winner of 1964 national title in coxless pairs and Olympic gold in men’s eight (rowing); served as a captain in the U.S. Army.

Aubrey Daniel (Col 1963)

Capt. Daniel, as prosecutor in the case against Lt. William Calley, won the sole conviction against U.S. soldiers involved in the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War. When President Nixon intervened, Daniel famously wrote the commander-in-chief expressing his dismay. Daniel went on to work for the prestigious firm Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C., before his retirement.

Paul Junger Witt (Col 1963)

Producer of Oscar-winning Dead Poets Society, Oscar-nominated A Better Life, and both Brian’s Song and The Golden Girls, which earned multiple Emmy Awards; also produced The Partridge Family, Soap and Benson.

Henry Taylor (Col 1965)

In 1986, Taylor won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for his collection The Flying Change. A professor of literature at American University for more than three decades, he also co-directed the M.F.A. program in creative writing there. He has written more than 15 books of poems.

Fred Barnes (Col 1965)

Executive editor and co-founder of The Weekly Standard; political commentator who regularly contributes to Fox News programs and previously co-hosted Fox’s “The Beltway Boys.”

Brit Hume (Col 1965)

Political analyst and TV journalist; hosted Fox News’ “On the Record,” following a 23-year career with ABC News, including as chief White House correspondent.

James Moore Goode (Grad 1966)

A noted architectural historian, Goode was curator of the Smithsonian Institution Building (known as the Castle) and oversaw its broad restoration. He has written numerous books on Washington’s buildings and sculptures and was the second person to win the Visionary Historian Award for a lifetime of achievement in the study of Washington history.

John Snow (Grad 1966)

Former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury (2003–2006), president of CSX Corp. and administrator of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the U.S. Department of Transportation; current principal with JWS Associates.

John Lowe (Law 1967)

Lawyer who successfully sued UVA in 1969 for admission of undergraduate women to the College of Arts and Sciences; won First Amendment case Bigelow v. Virginia at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Vivian Pinn (Med 1967)
Vivian Pinn

In 1967, Dr. Pinn was the only African American and only woman in her graduating class from the School of Medicine. She later served as director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health and president of the National Medical Association. A UVA medical research building was renamed in her honor in 2017.

Stanley “Stan” Winston (Col 1968)

Winston’s artistry knew few bounds: He studied fine art at UVA, tried acting in Hollywood, and finally settled into the world of motion-picture makeup and special effects. His acclaimed career earned him four Oscars and included groundbreaking creations for such movies as Aliens, Edward Scissorhands, the Terminator series, the Jurassic Park series and more.

Robert “Bob” Charles Wright (Law 1968)

Lawyer, businessman and philanthropist; noted as a former NBC and GE executive as well as for co-founding Autism Speaks (advocating government-supported research for the disorder) and founding the Suzanne Wright Foundation for pancreatic cancer.

Bill Nelson (Law 1968)

Six-term Democratic representative from Florida and three-term U.S. senator; became second sitting member of Congress in space when he served as payload specialist on a 1986 mission aboard the shuttle Columbia.

Back to top


Elaine Jones (Law 1970)

The first black woman to attend the UVA School of Law, Jones litigated fiercely for civil rights. One case, before the U.S. Supreme Court, resulted in the abolition of the death penalty in 37 states. She also became the first female to lead the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Andrew Scheinman (Col 1970, Law 1973)

Co-founder of Castle Rock Entertainment and award-winning producer: Emmy for Seinfeld; Oscar nomination for A Few Good Men; lifetime of fans for The Princess Bride and When Harry Met Sally, among other movies.

Francis Collins (Col 1970)

Geneticist; part of a team that discovered the gene for cystic fibrosis; director of Human Genome Project (1993–2008); received Presidential Medal of Freedom (2007), National Medal of Science (2009); current director, National Institutes of Health.

Mark Johnson (Col 1971)

Producer of the Oscar-winning film Rain Man, as well as Bugsy and The Chronicles of Narnia series; produced Emmy Award-winning Breaking Bad; other credits include The Rookie, The Guardian and Good Morning, Vietnam; president/CEO of Gran Via Productions.

Javier Solana (Grad 1971)

A Fulbright scholarship brought Solano from Spain to UVA, after which he built a vast international resume, with roles such as Spain’s minister of foreign affairs, NATO secretary-general and secretary- general of the Council of the European Union. Solana now serves as president of the ESADE Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics and as a distinguished fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Jim Gilmore (Col 1971, Law 1977)

Former governor (1998–2002) and attorney general of Virginia (1994–1997); chair of the Republican National Committee (2001–2002); and U.S. Army counterintelligence agent who received the Joint Service Commendation Medal for service to NATO.

Asher Dan Grunis (Law 1972)
Asher Dan Grunis

President (chief justice) of the Supreme Court of Israel (2012–2015), after a career of judgeship, teaching law and private practice in Tel Aviv, Beer-Sheba and Jerusalem.

John Charles Thomas (Col 1972, Law 1975)

When he joined the Supreme Court of Virginia in 1983, Thomas was its first African-American justice and—at age 32—the youngest in state history. Today he is a guest lecturer at the UVA School of Law; a judge on the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland; and a poet.

Gene Lockhart (Engr 1972, Darden 1974)

Special adviser, General Atlantic; former president, global retail bank, Bank of America; former president/CEO, MasterCard Worldwide; former CEO, Midland Bank UK.

Rebecca W. Rimel (Nurs 1973)

Rimel initially gained recognition in 1981 as the first nurse on the faculty of UVA’s School of Medicine. In 1983, she joined Pew Charitable Trusts and became president and CEO 11 years later. Under her leadership, Pew has evolved into one of the country’s most powerful public philanthropies.

Tim Finchem (Law 1973)

Former commissioner of the PGA Tour, lauded for greatly expanding the tour purse and earnings potential for pro golfers; deputy adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the Office of Economic Affairs.

Charles “Chuck” Robb (Law 1973)

Former Virginia governor (1982–1986) and U.S. senator (1989–2001); also former co-chair of the Iraq Intelligence Commission and member of the Council on Foreign Relations; awarded the Bronze Star for military service in Vietnam.

Robert Mueller (Law 1973)
His courage under fire while a Marine during the Vietnam War earned Mueller a Bronze Star with distinction for valor and a Purple Heart, as well as induction into the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame. For 12 years he served as director of the FBI, including during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Then, in May 2017, he was named special counsel in the investigation of possible Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Cole Geddy
Clarence Cain (Col 1974, Law 1977)

One of the first African-American resident advisers at UVA, Cain remained a trailblazer. In 1987, shortly after he was diagnosed with AIDS, he was fired by his employer, Hyatt Legal Services. Cain filed a successful discrimination suit, and his ordeal helped inspire the 1993 movie Philadelphia.

Larry Sabato (Col 1974)

Founder and director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics; editor-in-chief of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a nonpartisan political analysis and handicapping site; three-time Emmy winner, including one for Out of Order, a TV documentary on the U.S. Senate.

Gen. Robert B. Neller (Col 1975)

Four-star general and 37th commandant of the Marine Corps; veteran infantry officer who served in three major conflicts (Operation Restore Hope, in Somalia; the invasion of Panama; and the Iraq war).

Joan Stapleton Tooley (Col 1975)

Former president, publisher and advertising director of The New Republic; vice president, Tooley Communications.

Jonathan Mariner (Com 1976)

Former CFO for Major League Baseball; founder and president of startup TaxDay, a travel-tracking app for those who live or work in multiple states.

Wally Walker (Col 1976)

Retired NBA player who led the Cavaliers to their first ACC Tournament championship and NCAA Tournament; former president and general manager of the Seattle Sonics.

L. Kent Merritt (Col 1976, Darden 1983)

Merritt was one of four African-American students to integrate UVA’s football team in 1970. He was also named ACC performer of the year in track and helped establish the Eta Sigma chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. After a career in banking, he returned to UVA to serve as an administrator in the history department until his 2018 retirement.

Michael Leinbach (Arch 1976, Engr 1981)

Former shuttle launch director, John F. Kennedy Space Center; led reconstruction team following Columbia shuttle disaster; director of human spaceflight operations at United Launch Alliance; received several NASA medals for outstanding leadership and exceptional service.

William Shortz (Law 1977)

Self-proclaimed “enigmatologist”; New York Times crossword editor since 1993; owner of the world’s largest puzzle library, numbering more than 25,000 publications dating back to 1534.

Leroy Rountree Hassell (Col 1977)

First African-American chief justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, the first chief elected by colleagues (2003; appointed to court, 1989); received Virginia Bar Association’s Distinguished Service Award; established commission that helped modernize Virginia’s mental health care system.

George Rodrigue (Col 1978)

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner (with the newsroom at the Dallas Morning News winning another Pulitzer under his leadership as managing editor); editor of Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Steven S. Reinemund (Darden 1978)

Former CEO and chairman of PepsiCo (2001–2006), dean of Wake Forest University School of Business (2008–2014) and CEO of Frito-Lay’s worldwide operations (1996–1999).

Daryl Brewster (Col 1979)

CEO, Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy; founder/CEO, Brookside Management; former executive, Nabisco and Kraft; turnaround CEO, Krispy Kreme.

Katie Couric (Col 1979)
Couric claimed her seat on the couch as co-anchor of NBC’s Today show in 1991 but left in 2006 to become TV’s first female solo nightly news anchor with CBS Evening News. After stints at ABC and Yahoo! News, Couric continues reporting and producing with her company, Katie Couric Media. Among her many accolades are six Emmy Awards and an Associated Press Award. She was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 2004. Sanjay Suchak
Claudia Emerson (Col 1979)

Poet Laureate of Virginia (2008–2010); 2006 Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry and author of seven poetry collections; former professor at several universities, including University of Mary Washington and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Kathryn C. Thornton (Grad 1979)
Kathryn C. Thornton NASA

Former NASA veteran (four space flights) and member of the Astronaut Hall of Fame; currently directs UVA’s aerospace engineering program.

Back to top


Jeff Wisoff (Col 1980)

NASA astronaut (1991–2001); completed four space missions; received NASA Distinguished Service Medal and four Space Flight Medals; holds a directorship at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Val Ackerman (Col 1981)

As commissioner of the Big East Conference, Ackerman possesses a rare athletic resume: She has held leadership positions in both men’s and women’s sports at the collegiate, professional, national and international levels, including stints as president of USA Basketball and founding president of the Women’s National Basketball Association.

David Granger (Grad 1981)

Former editor-in-chief of Esquire, which won 17 National Magazine Awards during his tenure (1997–2016); previously executive editor at GQ, Adweek and MediaWeek.

Edward P. Jones (Grad 1981)

Novelist and short-story writer whose numerous awards include the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction (The Known World); former MacArthur Fellow; current teacher of creative writing at George Washington University.

Ron Suskind (Col 1981)

Pulitzer Prize winner; senior national affairs reporter, Wall Street Journal (1993–2000); author of six books, including Life, Animated; founder/CEO of Sidekicks; lecturer, Harvard Law School.

Hanan Ashrawi (Grad 1982)

Palestinian educator, activist and legislator; spokeswoman for the Palestinian delegation during the Middle East peace process (1991–1993); founder of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens’ Rights, which investigates human rights violations.

B. Evan Bayh (Law 1982)

U.S. senator (1999–2011), two-term governor (1989–1997) and secretary of state for Indiana (1986–1989); current senior adviser to Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies and of counsel to Cozen O’Connor law firm.

Patricia Sellers (Col 1982)

Co-founder and partner of content creation company SellersEaston Media (2016); former assistant managing editor and senior editor-at-large of Fortune magazine; co-founder of the annual Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit.

Michael Cogswell (Col 1983)

American-jazz devotee who cataloged the Louis Armstrong Archives and served as founding director of the Louis Armstrong House Museum; writer, Louis Armstrong: The Offstage Story of Satchmo.

Janet Napolitano (Law 1983)

When Napolitano assumed her current role as first female president of the University of California system in 2013, she was in somewhat familiar territory. She had already served as the first female attorney general of Arizona and, after two terms as Arizona’s governor, as the first female secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. In the latter position, she initiated programs including TSA PreCheck and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. In 2010, she received the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Law.

Jacqueline Novogratz (Col 1983)

Jacqueline Novogratz

International banker-turned-social-entrepreneur who co-founded Rwanda’s first micro­finance institution, Duterimbere, and founded impact investment giant Acumen; writer, New York Times best-selling memoir The Blue Sweater.

Ralph Sampson (Col 1983)

Three-time college basketball Player of the Year; No. 1 pick in the 1983 NBA draft; Rookie of the Year (1984), three-time NBA all-star and MVP of the 1985 All Star Game; inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012.

Sheryl Gay Stolberg (Col 1983)

Covering Congress for The New York Times (previously she was White House correspondent and mid-Atlantic bureau chief); reporter with The Los Angeles Times, where she shared two Pulitzer Prizes for coverage of the Rodney King riots and the Northridge earthquake.

Rick Carlisle (Col 1984)

NBA head coach (Mavericks, Pacers and Pistons) and former player (Celtics, Knicks and Nets) who won an NBA championship both as a player and as a coach; co-captained UVA to the 1984 NCAA Final Four.

Chris Nassetta (Com 1984)

President and CEO of Hilton, with hotels in more than 100 countries; executive vice president and later president and CEO of Host Hotels & Resorts Inc. (1995–2007).

Juan R. Torruella (Law 1984)

Puerto Rican jurist on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit, of which he was formerly chief judge; advocate for Puerto Rican rights; represented Puerto Rico in sailing in four Olympic Games.

Stephanie Ferguson (Nurs 1985, Grad 1996)

As a global health consultant, Ferguson has worked in more than 100 countries on behalf of the World Health Organization and the International Council of Nurses. As an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, she also advises the current presidential administration on global health and the future role of the U.S. 

Elizabeth Smith (Col 1985)

Chairman of the board and CEO of Bloomin’ Brands Inc., the parent organization for restaurants such as Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Bonefish Grill; former president of Avon Products Inc.

David Baldacci (Law 1986)

Writing came before lawyering for Baldacci, who crafted stories and screenplays throughout college and law school. After nine years practicing corporate law, writing books on the side, he left to write full time. He has now published 36 novels for adults, which have been translated into more than 45 languages, and six novels for younger readers. He’s also known for his family’s Wish You Well Foundation, which supports family literacy.

Christopher Doley (Col 1986)

Chief of the Habitat Restoration Division for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—notably tasked with leading the restoration of the Gulf region following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Shelby Bonnie (Com 1986)

Co-founder and CEO of Pylon ai Inc., which builds artificial intelligence products for voice platforms (such as Amazon’s Alexa) and helps users navigate visual information through voice technologies; co-founder and CEO of CNET (1993–2006).

Victoria Harker (Col 1986)

Executive vice president and chief financial officer of Tegna (formerly Gannett Co.); former member of UVA’s Board of Visitors and chair of the UVA Alumni Association Board of Managers.

Julie Rasmussen (Col 1987)

Former majority owner/CEO of Hertz Russia and president of Mary Kay Europe; adviser to companies doing business in Russia; strategic executive who helps companies manage and sustain their growth.

Cheryl Mills (Col 1987)

Founder and CEO of BlackIvy Group, growing commercial enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa; counselor and chief of staff to Hillary Clinton at the U.S. State Department (2009–2013), where she supervised the Obama Administration’s $3.5 billion global hunger and food security initiative.

Mary Hager (Col 1987)

Executive producer of Face the Nation (promoted from senior producer in 2011) and of CBS News’ 2018 midterm election night coverage; former producer for CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer.

Zena Howard (Arch 1988)

Award-winning architect who project-managed one of the newest attractions in the U.S. capital: the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture; advocate for diversity within the architecture profession.

Stephen Malkmus (Col 1988)
Musician known for his role as lead singer and guitarist of indie-rock group Pavement; now performs with Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks; disc jockeyed for Charlottesville’s WTJU while at UVA. Masao Nakagami
Mark Sanford (Darden 1988)

Two-term South Carolina governor (2003–2011); U.S. Congressman who served from 1995–2001 then returned to office in 2013 (he will leave Congress in 2019); retired captain in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.

Allison Abraham (Darden 1988)

Founder of The Newton School, a private, nonprofit school for students in grades K-8 who struggle in traditional classrooms; chairwoman of the board for

Lane DeGregory (Col 1989, Grad 1995)

2009 Pulitzer Prize winner for feature writing; enterprise reporter, Tampa Bay Times-St. Petersburg Times; won a 2008 American Society of Newspaper Editors Award.

Patrick Forrester (Engr 1989)

Astronaut who has logged more than 950 hours in space, conducted four spacewalks and flown three space shuttle missions; former test pilot for the U.S. Army (flying 5,300 hours in more than 50 different aircraft).

Back to top


Richard Lowry (Col 1990)
Richard Lowry Gage Skidmore

Editor of the National Review; syndicated columnist and commentator for the Fox News Channel; author of Lincoln Unbound and the New York Times best-seller Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years.

Theresa Payton (Grad 1990)

Cybersecurity expert and a head of intelligence on the CBS reality series Hunted, exposing modern digital world dangers; former White House chief information officer (George W. Bush administration).

Charles Philip “Chuck” Rosenberg (Law 1990)

Former federal prosecutor who worked at the highest levels of the Department of Justice, including as acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration and chief of staff to then-FBI Director James Comey; MSNBC legal analyst.

John Dickerson (Col 1991)

Co-host of CBS This Morning and contributing editor at The Atlantic; former chief Washington correspondent for CBS News, anchor of Face the Nation, political reporter and White House correspondent for Time.

Lisa Hamilton (Com 1991)

Executive vice president and chief program officer of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, working to build better futures for the country’s disadvantaged children; former president of the UPS Foundation.

Laura Ingraham (Law 1991)

Commentator and talk-show host (radio’s Laura Ingraham Show and Fox News’ Ingraham Angle); former clerk, Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas; Reagan administration speechwriter.

Leland Melvin (Engr 1991)

Former astronaut who made two space shuttle flights to help build the International Space Station; only person to both be drafted by an NFL team (the Detroit Lions, in 1986) and then later fly in space.

Margot Lee Shetterly (Com 1991)
Entrepreneur and author of the No. 1 New York Times best-seller Hidden Figures; founder of the Human Computer Project, which tells the stories of pioneering women in the U.S. space program and other fields.
Michael Smith (Col 1992)

Business and corporate-development maven, noted for success as COO of; now COO of the personal-style service Stitch Fix.

Tina Fey (Col 1992)
Fey decided at UVA that she wanted to write—not perform—comedy. Of course, she’s successfully done both over her career. After getting her start at Second City in Chicago, Fey went on to write for and perform in Saturday Night Live, Mean Girls, 30 Rock and other films and TV shows. Her work has earned her nine Primetime Emmys, two Golden Globes, a Tony nomination and eight Writers Guild of America Awards, among other achievements. And her book, Bossypants, was a New York Times best-seller. Dan Addison
Dawn Staley (Col 1992)

As a coach, Staley won the NCAA national championship at the University of South Carolina in 2017, and she’ll lead the USA women’s national basketball team through 2020. As a player, she was a three-time All American at UVA, Sports Illustrated’s 1991 Player of the Year, and a three-time Olympic gold medalist—carrying the American flag at the 2004 opening ceremony.

John Cornyn (Law 1995)

U.S. senator from Texas and Republican majority whip; justice on the Texas Supreme Court (1990–1997) and state attorney general (1999–2002).

Matt Fischer (Col 1995)

Vice president of Apple’s App Store, which receives a half-billion weekly visitors; previously director of marketing and partnership for iTunes; head of marketing for Napster (2000–2002).

Tiki Barber (Com 1997) and Ronde Barber (Com 1997)

Identical twins born seven minutes apart; older brother Ronde played cornerback and safety for 16 seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was selected to the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team; Tiki was a running back for 10 seasons with the New York Giants and is the team’s career leader in rushing yards; they are the co-authors of eight children’s books for Simon & Schuster.

James Farrior (Col 1997)

Former NFL linebacker who played 15 seasons between the Jets and the Steelers (earning two Super Bowl rings with the Steelers); member of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame; leads a charitable foundation serving the Richmond area.

Kirstjen Nielsen (Law 1999)

Sixth secretary of Homeland Security (appointed 2017); founder and former president, Sunesis Consulting; special assistant to President George W. Bush for prevention, preparedness and response on the White House Homeland Security Council.

Back to top


Rangina Hamidi (Col 2000)

Afghan-American social activist and entrepreneur; founder and president of Kandahar Treasure, a nonprofit selling embroidered handicrafts created by Afghan women artisans.

Angela Hucles (Col 2000)

Two-time Olympic gold medalist for women’s soccer (2004, 2008); U.S. National Team member (2003–2009); two-time World Cup bronze medalist (2003, 2007); former president, Women’s Sports Foundation; founder, Empowerment Through Sport; holds UVA record for most game-winning goals (19).

Wyatt Allen (Col 2001)

Olympic gold medalist, men’s eight (rowing), 2004 Athens Games; bronze medalist, 2008 Beijing Games; 2007 U.S. Rowing Male Athlete of the Year; head coach, men’s heavyweight rowing, Dartmouth College.

Sarah Drew (Col 2002)

Featured cast member of Everwood (2004–2006) and Grey’s Anatomy (2009–2018); director of the Emmy Award-nominated web series Grey’s Anatomy: B-Team; actor in Radio; voice actor in the animated series Daria.

Lindsay Shoop (Col 2003)

Gold medalist, women’s eight (rowing) at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing; inducted into the U.S. Rowing Hall of Fame (2014); University of Miami assistant rowing coach and recruiting coordinator.

Kater Gordon (Col 2004)

Emmy-winning writer for Mad Men; launched Modern Alliance in 2017 to educate people about, and end, sexual harassment.

Ed Moses (Educ 2004)

Olympic medalist—winning gold for world record-setting men’s 4x100 medley relay at 2000 Sydney Games, and silver for men’s 100 breaststroke; won 2000 NCAA championships, setting world records in men’s 100 and 200 breaststroke; co-founder/vice president, Mojo Marketing and Media.

Amber Payne (Col 2004)

Executive producer of Teen Vogue video productions; founding managing editor of NBCBLK (2014–2017), a section of that tells stories for and about the black community; former news and features producer for national NBC news shows.

Alexis Ohanian (Com 2005)

He’s best known for co-founding Reddit—and for marrying tennis legend Serena Williams—but Ohanian also co-founded Initialized Capital, a venture capital firm. He’s a Wall Street Journal best-selling author and has advised and invested in more than 200 tech startups.

Kate Clopeck Cincotta (Engr 2006)

Co-founder and executive director of the nonprofit Saha Global, which delivers clean water to rural villages in northern Ghana by training entrepreneurs to run water purification businesses.

Ryan Zimmerman (Col 2006)

MLB first and third baseman (Nationals) since 2005; record-holder for longest hit at Nationals Park (a 470-foot homer); founder of the ziMS Foundation, dedicated to helping cure multiple sclerosis.

Adrienne Porter Felt (Engr 2008)

Software engineer for Google Chrome whose work has made websites more secure; led push for “https”; named one of the 35 top innovators under 35 by MIT Technology Review in 2017.

Chris Long (Col 2008)
He may own two Super Bowl rings, but Long is more focused on service than sacks. In 2015, the Philadelphia Eagles defensive end created the Chris Long Foundation, which serves people such as veterans and the homeless. He’s also donating a quarter of his 2018 NFL salary to children’s literacy programs in Philadelphia. While he left UVA before finishing his degree, in his 2018 UVA valediction he said, “This university encouraged me to be a complete human being.”
Becky Sauerbrunn (Col 2008)

Two-time Olympian, women’s soccer; gold medalist, 2012 London Games; 2015 World Cup gold medalist; co-captain, 2016 U.S. Women’s national team; defender, team captain for Utah Royals FC.

Sasheer Zamata (Col 2008)

Saturday Night Live cast member (2014–17); performer with Upright Citizens Brigade; co-creator of web series Pursuit of Sexiness; ACLU celebrity ambassador; founded UVA’s Amuse Bouche improv group.

Jamelle Bouie (Col 2009)
Slate’s chief political correspondent and CBS News political analyst, covering campaigns, elections and national affairs; named one of the 30 top media professionals under 30 by Forbes in 2015.

Back to top


Matt McLean (Col 2011)

Record-holder (UVA and ACC) for men’s 200 freestyle; gold in men’s 500 freestyle at 2011 NCAA championships; 15-time All-American; 2012 Olympic gold in men’s 4x200 freestyle relay; gold in 2012 FINA World Short Course Championships 4x200 freestyle relay.

Lauren Perdue (Col 2013)

Gold medalist, women’s 4x200 freestyle relay, 2012 London Olympics; 19-time ACC conference champion; set ACC record for women’s 200 freestyle; inducted into North Carolina Swimming Hall of Fame.

Malcolm Brogdon (Col 2015, Batten 2016)

Guard for the Milwaukee Bucks and NBA Rookie of the Year for the 2016–17 season; named first-team All-American by the Sporting News at UVA in 2015.

Morgan Brian (Educ 2017)
Youngest player on the U.S. women’s national soccer team that won the 2015 Women’s World Cup; named Soccer America’s 2013 Player of the Year; plays professionally for the Chicago Red Stars. Jamie Smed
Leah Smith (Col 2017)

Olympic medalist, 2016 (Rio): gold, women’s 4x200 freestyle relay; bronze, women’s 400 freestyle relay. Winner at FINA World Championships: 4x200 freestyle relay (2015), 800 (2016). Four-time individual NCAA champion (UVA record).