School spirit: this campus has got it. We love our friends, our campus, and our school. Let’s be honest, we sometimes like to brag about the famous alumni who have walked these halls. There are the usual suspects, like Hugh Hefner (yes, that one), Betsy Brandt (who played Marie on Breaking Bad), Alan Ruck (from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), and Scott Altman (NASA Astronaut). You might be pleased to know about some other famous alumni – here’s a short list, with library resources to help you learn more.
Robert L. Johnson
A graduate from the class of 1964 with a degree in history, Johnson went on to become a businessman, philanthropist, and founder of Black Entertainment Television. Johnson also founded The RLJ Companies, which includes hotel real estate investments, financial services, and other financial deals. If you want to learn more about Mr. Johnson, the library has a book available here!
Robert L. Johnson (on the left), sitting next to former President George W. Bush
Does the name sound familiar? You might know Ms. Orman from her television appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Ms. Orman is an alum from the class of 1976. Having graduated with a degree in social work, Ms. Orman went on to form the Suze Orman Financial Group in California. Known as a “financial guru”, Ms. Orman is the author of several finance-related books. Curious to see what she has written? The library catalog has some of her books available here!
Suze Orman Attribution: Photo courtesy of David Shankbone
This famous alumnus graduated with a degree in math and computer science in 1986. For the gamers in the UGL, you might know who he is. For those who are not familiar, he is the co-creator of the video game Mortal Kombat. Lucky for you, the UGL has the game available for checkout!
Ed Boon. Photo Courtesy of VideoGameVisionary.com
A recent winner of this year’s New York City Marathon women’s wheelchair race – but wait, that’s not all! Ms. McFadden has also won titles in Boston, London, and Chicago. Although not an alum just yet, Ms. McFadden is currently a senior here at UIUC. She is also a member of the U.S Paralympic Track & Field Team. With medals and victories in various parts of the country, Ms. McFadden continues to make us proud to call ourselves students of the University of Illinois. You can find out Ms. McFadden’s stats and more info here.
Tatyana McFadden. Photo courtesy of Team USA
A former member of the Fighting Illini football team, Mr. Hayden is currently the cornerback for the Chicago Bears. A member of the class of 2004, he led the Fighting Illini as a cornerback. To find out more about Mr. Hayden’s time with the Fighting Illini, visit this page for statistics and career highs!
Kelvin Hayden. Photo courtesy of Julio Cortez
Mr. Correa has two degrees from this fine institution. In 1999, he earned a Master’s in Economics, and in 2001, a Ph.D. in the same field. Originally from Guayaquil, Ecuador, Mr. Correa became the President of Ecuador in December of 2006. Since then, he has been appointed for a third term. He was recently in the news in connection with the Edward Snowden controversy; Mr. Correa first offered Mr. Snowden a temporary travel document, but later said it had been “a mistake” to have offered it in the first place. To learn more about Ecuador, click here for materials about the country and its culture.
President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa. Photo courtesy of Agência Brasil
Born right here in Urbana, Ms. Harold is a former Ms. America from 2003. A graduate of University High School, she also attended UIUC and graduated with a degree in Political Science in 2001. Ms. Harold has been active in the community for the past couple of years and has spent time working with various organizations in regards to bullying prevention efforts and other issues. Ms. Harold works for a law firm in Champaign. Here’s a news piece about her Ms. America win.
Erika Harold. Photo Courtesy of Sean Powers/WILL
Now you have seven more names to add to your list of famous alumni! Interested in finding more? The Office of Admissions has a list of celebrity UIUC graduates for you to peruse. If there are other alumni you’re proud to share your alma mater with, tell us about them in the comments!