39 Notable New York University Alumni

Taylor Hill, Getty Images
Taylor Hill, Getty Images / Taylor Hill, Getty Images

New York University is famous for its arts programs, so it makes sense that the college has produced some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry. In addition to artists and entertainers, NYU has also accepted future CEOs and politicians into its halls.

NYU's history began in the 1831, when a group of prominent New Yorkers founded a school they hoped would embody the city's fast pace and metropolitan culture. Its liberal arts tradition was present from the start. Co-founder and former secretary of the treasury Albert Gallatin said the university would cater both to students “who devote themselves to scientific or literary pursuits,” and to those interested in “the learned professions, commerce, or the mechanical and useful arts.”

NYU's Tisch School Of The Arts didn't open until 1965, and it's already become one of the most influential art institutions in the world. The school immediately attracted young visionaries who would go on to revolutionize their fields. Today it's not only a popular place for talented unknowns, but also for established child stars looking to further hone their skills.

From Oscar winners to policy-makers, here are some of the most famous alumni—both with and without degrees—to attend New York University.

New York University Graduates

  1. Ursula Burns // Former chairman and CEO of Xerox
  1. Alec Baldwin // Actor
  1. Chris Columbus // Director
  1. Billy Crudup // Actor
  1. Billy Crystal // Actor and comedian
  1. Jonas Salk // Discoverer of the first polio vaccine
  1. Clive Davis // Record producer
  1. Donald Glover // Emmy-winning actor, writer, director, and musician
  1. Regina Hall // Actor
  1. Philip Seymour Hoffman // Actor
  1. Neil Diamond // Musician
  1. Bill de Blasio // New York City mayor
  1. Judy Blume // Author
  1. Spike Lee // Oscar-winning writer and director
  1. Rudy Giuliani // Former New York City mayor
  1. Suzanne Collins // Author
  1. Haley Joel Osment // Actor
  1. Elizabeth Gilbert // Author
  1. Frank McCourt // Author
  1. Martin Scorsese // Oscar-winning director and writer
  1. Ang Lee // Oscar-winning director
  1. Adam Sandler // Actor and comedian
  1. Angelina Jolie // Oscar-winning actor
  1. Mahershala Ali // Oscar-winning actor
  1. Alan Menken // Oscar-winning songwriter
  1. Barry Sonnenfeld // Director

People who Attended NYU, but didn't graduate

  1. Jack Dorsey // Co-founder and CEO of Twitter
  1. Lady Gaga // Actor and musician
  1. John Waters // Writer and director
  1. Paul Thomas Anderson // Writer and director
  1. Kristen Bell // Actor
  1. John Cusack // Actor
  1. Mary-Kate Olsen // Actor
  1. Ashley Olsen // Actor
  1. Anne Hathaway // Oscar-winning actor
  1. Ethan Hawke // Actor
  1. Neil Simon // Pulitzer-winning playwright
  1. Rooney Mara // Actor
  1. Meg Ryan // Actor