Orange Alert

Notable Alumni

A&S | Maxwell alumni have gone on to do great things after their time at Syracuse. Our alumni include some leading names in business, politics, astronomy, science and writing. Here are some of our grads who have made an impact in the world today.

Notable A&S | Maxwell Alumni

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

’16 M.F.A., Creative Writing

Author (“Friday Black,” one of “New York Times'” 100 Notable Books of 2018, “New York Times” Editors' Choice, “Los Angeles Times” bestseller and a “Boston Globe" bestseller; "Chain-Gang All-Stars," finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction, "New York Times'" Book Review Editors’ Choice)

James Hope Birnie

James Hope Birnie (1909-1974)

’48 Ph.D., Biology

First African American faculty member in biology; one of Syracuse’s first biology faculty members to be supported by the National Institutes of Health; advocate for equity in the sciences; Chief of the Endocrinology Section of the Research and Development Division at Smith, Kline & French Laboratories (now GlaxoSmithKline)

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Sharon Brangman

’77, Biology

National leader in geriatric medicine; recipient of the Chancellor’s Citation for Achievement in Medicine and the 2018 George Arents Award (the University’s highest alumni honor); Distinguished Service Professor and chair of the Department of Geriatrics at SUNY Upstate University Hospital; director of the Upstate Center of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease; Director of the Nappi Longevity Institute

William Lewis Buckley

William Lewis Bulkley (1861-1933)

1893 Ph.D., Classics and Classical Civilization

First African American to earn a doctoral degree in classics and classical civilization from Syracuse University; third African American to earn a doctorate in the U.S.; co-founder of the National Urban League and the NAACP


Eileen Collins

'78, Mathematics and Economics

Astronaut and pilot; U.S. Air Force’s first female flight instructor; first female astronaut to both pilot (1995) and then command (1999) a Space Shuttle mission; retired from the Air Force in 2005 at the rank of Colonel; Syracuse University Arents Award recipient (highest alumni honor); inductee of the National Women’s Hall of Fame; one of Encyclopedia Britannica’s top 300 women in history to have changed the world

Tim Green

Tim Green

'86 (English), L’94

Professional football player, author and lawyer; two-time collegiate All-American and first-round draft pick in the 1986 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons; children’s book “Football Genius” made “New York Times’” best-seller list of children's chapter books; recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal

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Kathleen Hochul

’80, Political Science

Governor of New York State; former Lieutenant Governor of New York State; former president of the NYS Senate; chair of the NYS Women’s Suffrage 100th Anniversary Commemoration Commission


Lori Feldman

'89, Fine Arts

Chief marketing officer, Paradigm Talent Agency; former executive vice president of strategic marketing, Warner Bros. Records; Billboard Magazine 100 Most Powerful Women in Music; co-founder of campus radio station WERW

Nina V. Fedoroff '66

Nina Fedoroff

'66, Biology and Chemistry

Molecular biologist (specializes in genetic modification in plants); recipient of Syracuse University’s George Arents Pioneer Medal; recipient of the 2006 National Medal of Science by President George W. Bush

Edith Flanigen and Barack Obama

Edith Flanigen

G’52, Chemistry

Inorganic physical chemist; author or co-author of more than 36 publications and holder of 109 U.S. patents; developed “zeolite Y,” a sieve which optimized conversion of crude oil into gasoline; winner of the Perkin Medal, the nation’s most distinguished honor in applied chemistry; inductee into the National Inventors Hall of Fame; recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Barack Obama


Megyn Kelly

‘92, Political Science

Attorney, journalist, political analyst and author (“Settle for More”); former FOX News and NBC news anchor; 2014 “Time” magazine 100 most influential people

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Marvin K. Lender

’63, Political Science

Co-founder, Lender’s Bagels company; chairman, Baldwin Street Management LLC; co-founder, New Haven Holocaust Education Prejudice Reduction Program; 2019 recipient of a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree from Syracuse University

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Robert Mankoff

'66, Psychology

Cartoon and humor editor, Esquire magazine; former cartoonist for The New Yorker


Franklin Story Musgrave

'58, Mathematics and Statistics

Scientist, astronaut; only astronaut to fly missions on all five of the space shuttles; inductee of the International Space Hall of Fame; Syracuse University Arents Award recipient

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Joyce Carol Oates

'60, English

Author (“We Were the Mulvaneys,” “Blonde,” which was nominated for the National Book Award, and the “New York Times” bestseller “The Falls”); recipient of the National Book Award, two O. Henry Awards, the National Humanities Medal, the Jerusalem Prize and Pulitzer Prize finalist

Roslyn Pope

Roslyn Pope (1938-2023)

’74 Ph.D., Humanities

Prominent civil rights activist; author of An Appeal for Human Rights, which outlined the right to equality in education, jobs, housing, hospitals, entertainment and law enforcement; recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Spelman College

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Elliott I. Portnoy

’86, Political Science

Global Chief Executive Officer, Dentons (global law firm); Syracuse University’s first Rhodes Scholar

Lou Reed '64

Lou Reed (1942-2013)

'64, English

Musician and poet; hit songs include “Walk on the Wild Side” and “Satellite of Love”; two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee (as a member of the Velvet Underground in 1996 and as a solo act in 2015)

Elsa Reichmanis '72, G'75

Elsa Reichmanis

’72, '75 Ph.D., Chemistry

Professor and Pete Silas Chair in Chemical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology; 1995 National Academy of Engineering inductee; 2024 recipient of the Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences Award from the American Chemical Society


Jacqueline Saturn

'90, Political Science, minor in French

President of “Caroline,” Capitol Music Group’s indie label services division; honored at the annual Billboard’s Women in Music awards in 2018 for her significant contributions to the music industry

George Saunders

George Saunders

’88 M.A., English

Author (“Lincoln in the Bardo,” won the Man Booker Prize and was a “New York Times” bestseller); contributor to “The New Yorker” (published more than 20 short stories); Professor in the Department of English (creative writing M.F.A. program)

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Alice Sebold

'84, Writing

Author (“The Lovely Bones,” “Lucky” and “The Almost Moon”); “The Lovely Bones” was adapted into a motion picture.


Cheryl Strayed

’02 M.F.A., Creative Writing

Author (“New York Times” bestselling memoir “Wild,” “Tiny Beautiful Things,” “Brave Enough,” and “Torch”); “Wild” was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as the first selection for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 and the movie adaptation starring Reese Witherspoon was nominated for two Oscars.

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Kathrine Switzer

’68 (English), G’72

Author, marathon runner; first woman to officially enter and run the Boston Marathon in 1967; Syracuse University Arents Award recipient; 2011 inductee into the National Women’s Hall of Fame

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Rubye Torrey (1926-2017)

’69 Ph.D., Chemistry

First African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from Syracuse; member of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society; founder of Tennessee State University's annual research symposium; one of the first African American women inducted into the American Chemical Society

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Kathleen Walters

'73, Mathematics

Retired Executive VP of Georgia-Pacific; chair of the Syracuse University Board of Trustees; member of the Syracuse University Libraries Advisory Board

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Peter Weller

'05 M.A., Art History

Movie and television actor, director; starred in "RoboCop," "RoboCop 2," "Sons of Anarchy," "Dexter" and "24"