Notable Cal Alumni

Cal’s legacy is lived every day, in Berkeley and beyond, by exceptional alumni of all stripes. The world should have known when Rube Goldberg received an engineering degree from Cal in 1904 that the creativity and curiosity of our graduates would become iconic. True to form, Cal alumni have followed our founders’ legacy by making breakthroughs in industry and leading social change—not to mention winning 183 Olympic medals and receiving 29 Nobel Prizes.

What will today’s brilliant graduates add to our legacy? Meet a few of our young alumni and learn how they are furthering the excellence of our university in Young Alumni News.

  • James H. Budd ’73, 19th Governor of California and member of the U.S. House of Representatives
  • Frank Otis ’73, Mayor of Alameda
  • Josiah Royce ’75, philosopher, Harvard professor
  • Franklin Knight Lane ’87, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Chair of the Interstate Commerce Commission, Democratic nominee for Governor of California
  • Stephen Mather ’87, Founding Director, National Parks Service
  • William Denman ’94, U.S. Federal Judge
  • Julia Morgan ’94, architect
  • Joseph Erlanger ’95, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine for contributions to the field of neuroscience
  • Frederick Gardner Cottrell ’96, founder of Research Corporation, National Inventors Hall of Fame, inventor of the electrostatic precipitator
  • Milicent Shinn ’98, child psychologist, first woman to earn a doctorate from the University of California
  • Lillian Moller Gilbreth ’00, M.A. ’02, first industrial/organizational psychologist, one of first working female engineers with Ph.D.
  • Rube Goldberg ’04, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist
  • Irving Morrow ’06, architect of the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Horace M. Albright ’12, conservationist, helped establish National Park Service
  • Earl Warren ’12, L.L.B. ’14, 14th Chief Justice of the United States (1953–1969)
  • Walter A. Gordon ’18, J.D. ’22, Federal District Judge, Governor of U.S. Virgin Islands, first African American graduate of Boalt Hall
  • Edith Head ’18, costume designer, recipient of eight Academy Awards for Best Costume Design
  • Selman Waksman ’18, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, discovered antibiotic treatment for tuberculosis
  • Ida Louise Jackson ’22, M.A. ’24, established first Black sorority chapter at UC Berkeley (Alpha Kappa Alpha), first African American teacher in Oakland public schools
  • Dalip Singh Saund M.A. ’22, Ph.D. ’24, first Sikh American, Asian American, and Indian American Congressman, member of the United States House of Representatives
  • Loren L. Ryder ’24, recipient of five Academy Awards in Best Sound Recording and Best Effects
  • Robert Penn Warren M.A. ’27, author of All the King’s Men, three-time Pulitzer Prize winner
  • Henry Eyring ’27, namesake of Eyring equation, National Medal of Science
  • Richard Bolt ’33, M.A. ’37, Ph.D. ’39, co-founder of ARPANET
  • Robert McNamara ’37, eighth U.S. Secretary of Defense, president of World Bank and Ford Motor Company
  • Beverly Cleary ’38, author of the Ramona Quimby series
  • Gregory Peck ’39, Oscar-winning actor
  • Glen Edwards ’41, WWII U.S. Air Force test pilot, the namesake of Edwards Air Force Base
  • Marguerite Higgins ’41, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and war correspondent
  • Hugh Bradner ’43, inventor of the neoprene wetsuit
  • Glenn Seaborg Ph.D. ’47, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, discovered of 10 elements, including berkelium and californium
  • Chien-Shiung Wu Ph.D. ’40, earned inaugural Wolf Prize in Physics, conducted Wu Experiment, contributor on the Manhattan Project
  • George Pimentel Ph.D. ’49, received Wolf Prize in Chemistry, inventor of the chemical laser
  • Gordon E. Moore ’50, co-founder of Intel, author of Moore’s law
  • Raymond Watson ’51, architect, counselor on design of EPCOT, former chairman of Walt Disney Productions
  • Douglas Engelbart M.S. ’53, Ph.D. ’55, inventor of the computer mouse
  • Joan Didion ’56, author of Slouching Toward Bethlehem
  • Floyd Kvamme ’59, co-founder of National Semiconductor
  • George Takei ’59, actor in Star Trek, author
  • Jerry Brown ’61, Governor of California
  • Maxine Hong Kingston ’62, author of The Woman Warrior
  • Rick Cronk ’65, co-owner of Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, former president of Boy Scouts of America
  • William Ballhaus Jr. ’67, M.S. ’68, P.h.D. ’71, former director of NASA’s Ames Research, Center, president and CEO of The Aerospace Corporation
  • Alice Waters ’67, chef and owner of Chez Panisse
  • Richard Aoki ’68, M.S.W. ’70, early member of the Black Panther Party
  • Robert Gaskins ’74, one of the inventors of PowerPoint
  • Paul Otellini MBA ’74, president and CEO of Intel
  • Steven Chu Ph.D. ’76, Nobel Laureate in Physics, former U.S. Secretary of Energy (and one of 29 alumni Nobel Laureates)
  • Louis Sachar ’76, author of Holes and the Sideways Stories from Wayside School series
  • Joan Blades ’77, co-founder of Berkeley Systems and
  • Carol Shaw ’77, M.S. ’79, one of the first female video-game designers
  • Sanjay Mehrotra ’78, M.S. ’80, co-founder and president of SanDisk, CEO of Micron Technology
  • William Joy M.S. ’79, co-founder of Sun Microsystems and co-creator of Berkeley Unix, Java
  • Eric Schmidt M.S. ’79, Ph.D. ’82, CEO of Google and Alphabet Inc.
  • Leroy Chiao ’83, astronaut, commander of Expedition 10, lived on board the International Space Station from 2004–2005
  • Robert Hotchkiss ’83, one of the founding musicians of the band Train
  • Kim Polese ’84, CEO of SpikeSource, co-founder of Marimba, made Time Magazine’s list of “The 25 Most Influential Americans” in 1997
  • Sehat Sutardja M.S. ’85, Ph.D. ’88, co-founder, chairman, president, and CEO of Marvell Technology Group
  • Marc Tarpenning ’85, co-founder of Tesla Motors
  • Scott Adams ’86, cartoonist of “Dilbert”
  • Steve Wozniak ’86, co-founder of Apple
  • John Battelle ’87, co-founder of Wired magazine
  • Michele Tafoya ’88, NFL sideline reporter
  • Tiffany Shlain ’92, filmmaker, founder of the Webby Awards, co-founder of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences
  • Mark Bingham ’93, founded the Bingham Group, stopped attempted hijacking of United Flight 93 on September 11, 2001
  • Maz Jobrani ’93, comedian
  • Shantanu Narayen MBA ’93, CEO of Adobe
  • Ravinder Bhalla ’95, mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, first Sikh mayor in U.S. history
  • John Cho ’96, actor in Star Trek
  • John Hanke MBA ’96, founder and CEO of Niantic, Inc.
  • Viet Thanh Nguyen ’97, M.S. ’98, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer
  • Senh Duong ’98, co-founder of Rotten Tomatoes
  • Tom Anderson ’98, co-founder of MySpace
  • Patrick Awuah MBA ’99, founder of Ashesi University, Africa’s first private liberal arts college
  • Haakon Magnus ’99, Crown Prince of Norway
  • Kate and Laura Mulleavy ’01, founders of fashion label Rodarte
  • Chris Pine ’02, actor in Star Trek
  • Stephen Wang ’02, co-founder of Rotten Tomatoes
  • Marshawn Lynch, running back for Oakland Raiders
  • Aaron Rodgers, quarterback for Green Bay Packers
  • Patrick Lee ’04, co-founder of Rotten Tomatoes
  • Natalie Coughlin ’05, Olympic gold-medalist swimmer
  • Ki Hong Li ’08, actor in The Maze Runner
  • Hannah Hart ’09, YouTuber, producer, author, and actress
  • Brenda Song ’09, actress in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody
  • Laci Green ’11, sexual-education YouTuber
  • Nathan Adrian ’12, Olympic gold-medalist swimmer
  • Alex Morgan ’14, Olympic gold-medalist soccer player
  • Jaylen Brown ’15, shooting guard with the Boston Celtics

Learn more about our most recent graduates in Young Alumni News.

Nobel Prizes have been awarded to 29 UC Berkeley alumni.

Physiology or Medicine




See a full list of UC Berkeley alumni Nobel Prize winners and faculty Nobel Laureates.