Famous History Majors

Politicians/Public Servants

  • John F. Kennedy: U. S. President
  • Richard Nixon: U.S. President
  • Claudia Taylor “Lady Bird” Johnson: Former First Lady
  • Gordon Brown: Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
  • Anthony M. Kennedy: U. S. Supreme Court Justice
  • Antonin Scalia: Supreme Court Justice
  • George Mitchell: Former U.S. Senator; special envoy to the Middle East
  • Bill Bradley: Former U.S. Senator; professional basketball player
  • Max Cleland: U. S. Senator
  • Orrin Hatch: U. S. Senator
  • Newt Gingrich: Former Speaker of the House
  • Tim Johnson: U. S. Congressman
  • John E. Baldacci: Governor of Maine
  • Eric Holder: 82nd Attorney General of the United States
  • A. Elizabeth Jones: Former U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan
  • Betsy McCaughey: 72nd Lieutenant Governor of New York
  • Marilyn McAfee: Former U. S. Ambassador to Guatemala
  • William J. Lynn: Deputy Secretary of Defense
  • William R. Steiger: Director of the U. S. Department of Health Human Service’s Office of Global Affairs
  • J. Stapleton Roy: Ambassador; Director of the Kissinger Institute for Chinese-US Scholars

Actor/Director/Comedian/Songwriter

  • Katharine Hepburn: Academy award-winning actress
  • Sacha Baron Cohen: Comedian; writer; star of “The Ali G Show” and “Borat”
  • Larry David: Actor; writer; comedian; producer; film director; co-creator of “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
  • Edward Norton: Actor
  • Conan O’Brien: Host of “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien”
  • Steve Carell: Comedian; star of “The Office”
  • Christopher Meloni: Emmy-nominated actor; star of “Law & Order: SVU” and “Oz”
  • Dean Cain: Actor; star of “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman”
  • Jimmy Buffett: Songwriter; singer; restaurant-chain owner; businessman
  • Julia Child: Chef; author; television personality; host of “The French Chef”; author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking
  • Brian Dennehy: Actor; writer; director; film producer
  • Will Forte: Actor; comedian; writer; star of “Saturday Night Live”
  • Janeane Garofalo: Comedian; actress; political activist
  • Josh Kear: Songwriter; 2007 winner of the CMA’s Single of the Year Award
  • Julie White: Tony Award-winning actress

News Media/Entertainment

  • Charlie Rose: Host of “Charlie Rose”
  • Bill O’Reilly: Political commentator; host of “The O’Reilly Factor”
  • Seymour Hersh: Pulizer prize-winning journalist
  • Wolf Blitzer: Journalist
  • David Brancaccio: Host of PBS’s “Now”
  • Ray Suarez: Senior correspondent for PBS’s “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer”
  • Andrés Martinez: Editor, Los Angeles Times
  • Samantha Power: Journalist; political advisor; winner of 2003 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction
  • John Schwartz: Science reporter, New York Times
  • Peter Sarsgaard: Actor
  • Joseph H. Adler: Television legal commentator; law professor
  • Tony Horwitz: Journalist; author of Confederates in the Attic and Baghdad Without a Map
  • Chris “Boomer” Berman: Anchor of “SportsCenter,” “Monday Night Countdown,” and “Baseball Tonight”
  • Max Boot: Journalist; editor; Senior Fellow, Council of Foreign Relations
  • Tucker Carlson: Former host of CNN’s “Crossfire”; senior fellow at the Cato Institute
  • Kimberly Kelleher: Vice President and Publisher, SELF Magazine
  • Sean Astin: Actor; director; producer
  • Robert Johnson: Founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET)
  • Ira Stoll: Former vice president and manager of The New York Sun; author of Samuel Adams: A Life
  • Milton Viorst: Journalist; Middle-East specialist
  • Errol Morris: Documentary filmmaker
  • Michael Sragow: Film critic
  • Eric Stange: Documentary filmmaker and producer

Authors

  • Annie Proulx: Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award
  • Ayn Rand: Novelist; philosopher; playwright
  • Fran Baker: Romance novelist
  • Rick Bayan: Webmaster; author of Words That Sell and The Cynic’s Dictionary
  • Tom Becker: Children’s author; winner of the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize
  • Jessica Bird: Author of romance novels; author of paranormal romance novels (as J. R. Ward)
  • Ian Caldwell: Novelist
  • Barbara Cooney: Children’s book author and illustrator; multiple winner of the Caldecott Medal
  • Anthony Doerr: Fiction writer
  • Laura Anne Gilman: Fantasy writer; author of the Cosa Nostradamus series
  • Malcolm Gladwell: Journalist and author of The Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers
  • Annette Gordon-Reed: 2008 winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction
  • Irving Kristol: Conservative author, editor; 2002 winner of the Medal of Freedom
  • Jim Leisy: Photographer; book editor; publisher
  • Gail Z. Martin: Fantasy writer; author of The Chronicles of The Necromancer
  • Valentine Moghadam: Scholar; activist; author of Globalizing Women: Transnational Feminist Networks
  • Sharon Kay Penman: Historical novelist
  • Magali García Ramis: Fiction writer; journalist; essayist

Business

  • Lee Iococca: Former CEO of the Chrysler Corporation
  • Chelsea Clinton: Former First Daughter; hedge-fund manager
  • Chris Hughes: Founder of Facebook
  • Donna Dubinsky: CEO of Palm, Inc.; developed the Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)
  • Carly Fiorina: Former president and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard
  • Richard B. Fisher: Former chairman of Morgan Stanley
  • Michael Flaherty: Co-founder and president of Walden Media
  • Robert Fogel: Winner of the 1993 Nobel Memorial in Economic Sciences
  • Charles L. Hill: CEO of Veritas et Lux; commentator; president of the Boston Society of Security Analysts
  • David Willis: Film producer; president of the Ixnay Pix production company
  • Martha Stewart: Media mogul
  • Howard Stringer: Chairman and CEO of the Sony Corporation
  • Harvey Mackay: Best-selling business author; founder and CEO of Mackay Envelope Corporation
  • Wendy P. McCaw: Owner of the Santa Barbara News-Press
  • Clemson Smith Muñiz: Founder, president of Smith Muñiz Productions, Spanish-language sports media company
  • Samuel J. Palmisano: Chief Executive Officer of IBM
  • Jim Rogers: Founder of the Quantum Fund; creator of the Rogers International Commodities Index
  • Charles Sennott: Journalist; co-founder and vice president of Global News
  • Ben Silverman: Co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and NBC Universal Television Studio

The arts, sciences, laboratory, funny pages, and more

  • J. Carter Brown: Former director, National Gallery of Art
  • Louis R. Caplan: Neurology professor; physician
  • Juan Cole: Middle East scholar; professor; public intellectual
  • Kevin Fagan: Cartoonist; created of the syndicated strip “Drabble”
  • Elena Kagan: First female dean of Harvard University Law School
  • Flo Steinberg: Pioneer publisher of underground comic books
  • Frank Stella: Painter; printmaker
  • Franklin S. Odo: Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Asia Pacific American Program
  • David L. Pulver: Freelance writer; video-game designer
  • Pat Robertson: Televangelist
  • Josh Sawyer: Designer of role-playing video games

List compiled by:
Catherine M. Burns
Department of History
University of Wisconsin—Madison