25 Notable Yale Alumni

Yale graduate Jodie Foster.
Yale graduate Jodie Foster. / Jason Merritt, Getty Images

Built in 1701, Yale University takes its name from Elihu Yale, a Welsh merchant who generously donated the proceeds from the sale of goods and a portrait of King George I to help get the school off the ground. It’s among the oldest institutions in the country and boasts of an eclectic alumni group. Take a look at some of the more notable names to pass through its halls over the years.

  1. George H.W. Bush // 41st President of the United States
  2. George W. Bush // 43rd President of the United States
  3. Hillary Rodham Clinton // Former Secretary of State, Former U.S. Senator from New York
  4. Gerald Ford // 38th President of the United States
  5. Sonia Sotomayor // Associate Supreme Court Justice
  6. William Howard Taft // 27th President of the United States
  7. Samuel Morse // Inventor of the telegraph
  8. Benjamin Spock, M.D. // Child psychology expert
  9. Eli Whitney // Inventor of the cotton gin
  10. Fred Smith // FedEx Founder
  11. William F. Buckley Jr. // Political commentator
  12. Stone Phillips // Broadcast journalist
  13. Garry Trudeau // Creator of Doonesbury
  14. Thornton Wilder // Playwright (Our Town)
  15. Bob Woodward // Journalist and author (All the President’s Men)
  16. Angela Bassett // Actress
  17. James Burrows // Television director (Cheers, Friends)
  18. Dick Cavett // Television host
  19. Claire Danes // Actress
  20. Jodie Foster // Actress
  21. Paul Newman // Actor
  22. Edward Norton // Actor
  23. Lupita Nyong’o // Actress
  24. Meryl Streep // Actress
  25. Cole Porter // Songwriter