Notable Alumni of Stanford University

Can you imagine a world without Google? It would never have existed without Stanford graduate Larry Page. In fact, many of the things that define our culture today, from Instagram to Netflix, were invented by Stanford graduates.

The alumni of Stanford University (the second ranking university in the world, according to QS) have dazzled us in popular culture for decades. From the some of the most famous US presidents to award-winning actors and writers, many of Stanford graduates are household names.

While Elle Woods from Legally Blonde went to Harvard, Reese Witherspoon (the actress who played her) went to Stanford. Along with Witherspoon, famous Stanford alumni also include Elon Musk, John Steinbeck and Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female judge of the supreme court.

Oxford Royale Academy has put together a list of Stanford University’s most notable alumni. Let’s dive straight in, and discover the famous figures who attended this top university.

Who are the notable alumni of Stanford University?


Reese Witherspoon

Famous for playing dog-loving sorority queen Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, Reese Witherspoon1 is a household name.

She dropped out of Stanford in 1996 to pursue acting, and did pretty well out of it! She now has a net worth of 240 million USD.

Full name Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon
Nicknames Baby Spoon, Little Spoon, Fork Knife and Spoon.
Birth Year 1976
Stanford Years mid-1990s (dropped out in 1996 to pursue acting)
Known For Academy Award-winning actress, known for “Legally Blonde”, “Big Little Lies” and “Wild”.
Wealth $240 million
Industry Acting
Relationships Jim Toth (m.2011)
Favourite food Fried chicken
Things you didn’t know She was a wrestling cheerleader in high school.


John Steinbeck

Everyone knows John Steinbeck2, whether you curl up every night with a copy of The Grapes of Wrath, or you struggled to stay awake while reading Of Mice and Men in school.

Famous and prolific American novelist John Steinbeck was famous for documenting the misery of migrant life during America’s Great Depression.

Full name John Ernst Steinbeck Jr.
Nicknames Giant of American Letters
Birth Year 1902
Stanford Years 1919 – 1925 (left without completing degree)
Known For Famous American novelist who wrote classics like The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men
Wealth $50 million dollars
Industry Writing
Relationships Carol Henning (m.1930 – 1943), Gwendolyn Conger (m. 1943 – 1948)
Favourite food He often made ponsole from ‘a can of beans and a can of hominy’
Things you didn’t know An early draft of his novel Of Mice and Men was eaten by his dog



Elon Musk

As second richest person in the world (March 2021), Elon Musk3 is never far from the headlines. Elon Musk started at Stanford in 1995. However, he dropped out after two days to pursue his internet start-up.

Musk is the CEO, CTO and chief designer of SpaceX.

Full name Elon Reeve Musk
Nicknames Not known, but his son X Æ A-Xii is nicknamed ‘Little X’
Birth Year 1971
Stanford Years 1995 (dropped out after two days to pursue his internet start-up)
Known For Business magnate, industrial designer and engineer. CEO, CTO and chief designer of SpaceX.
Wealth Net worth: 167.0 billion USD
Industry Aerospace engineering , transport and healthcare, to name a few.
Relationship status Justine Wilson (m.2000 – 2008), Talulah Riley (m.2010 – 2012, m. 2013 – 2016).
Favourite food Doner kebab
Things you didn’t know Despite being a billionaire, has lived on just 1$ a day.


Tiger Woods

Even if you don’t know sports, you know the name Tiger Woods4. One of the most famous golfers of all time, Woods the first African-American man to win the US Masters.

Woods enrolled in Stanford in 1994 on a golf scholarship and will enter the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2021.

Full name Eldrick Tont Woods
Nicknames Tiger and Urkel
Birth Year 1975
Stanford Years Graduated: 1996
Known For American professional golfer, one of the most famous athletes of all time
Wealth Net worth: 800 million USD
Industry Golf
Relationships Elin Nordegren (m.2004 – 2010)
Favourite food Mcdonald’s cheeseburges and Taco Bell
Things you didn’t know His nickname ‘Tiger’ comes from his father’s army friend Col. Phong, who was also known as Tiger.



Sigourney Weaver

Dubbed The Sci-Fi Queen, and famous for starring in the Alien franchise, Sigourney Weaver5 is a pioneer for women in science fiction films.

Weaver studied Literature at Stanford, graduating in 1971. She then attended Drama School in Yale, alongside her friend and actress Meryl Streep.

Full name Susan Alexandra Weaver
Nicknames Sigourney and The Sci-Fi Queen
Birth Year 1949
Stanford Years Graduated: 1972
Known For American actress and pioneer for action heroines in science fiction films
Wealth Net worth: 60 million USD
Industry Acting
Relationships Jim Simpson (m.1984)
Favourite food Anything from the Mary Poppins Cookbook except kedegree
Things you didn’t know She changed her name after reading The Great Gatsby


Jennifer Connelly

Jennifer Connelly6 is world-famous for her starring performances in movies such as A Beautiful Mind, Labyrinth and Requiem for a Dream.

Connelly is no stranger to Ivy-League universities. She studied English at Yale University in 1988, before transferring to Stanford to study drama.

Full name Jennifer Lynn Connelly
Nicknames Jenny C
Birth Year 1970
Stanford Years 1990 (dropped out same year to pursue acting)
Known For Child model and famous American actress
Wealth 20 million USD
Industry Acting
Relationships Paul Bettany (m.2003)
Favourite food Sushi
Things you didn’t know She holds herself to a standard that most actors cannot attain


Rishi Sunak

Did you know that the man currently responsible for the UK economy went to Stanford University? Rishi Sunak7, who is currently worth a dazzling £200 million, gained an MBA at Stanford and was also a Fulbright scholar there.

Full name The Right Honourable Rishi Sunak MP
Nicknames Dishy Rishi and the maharajah of the Yorkshire Dales
Birth Year 1980
Stanford Years Graduated: 2006
Known For Chancellor of the Exchequer
Wealth 200 million GBP
Industry Investment banking, wealth management and politics
Relationship status Akshata Murthy (m.2009)
Favourite food Not known, but he’s a fan of The Bull pub in West Tanfield, Yorkshire.
Things you didn’t know As a child he dreamed of being a Jedi knight

Mae Jemison

Dr Mae Jemison8 has managed to triple the achievements of most high-performing people in life. She is an outstanding engineer, astronaut and medical doctor, and she graduated from Stanford in 1977. As the first black woman to travel to space, she served as a mission specialist upon the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

Full name Dr Mae Carol Jemison
Nicknames None
Birth Year 1956
Stanford Years Graduated: 1977
Known For First black woman to travel into space, and famous engineer, astronaut and physician.
Wealth 2 million USD
Industry Chemical engineering, space, medicine and research
Relationships Mae Jemison has never married
Favourite food Not known, but she ate oatmeal, chili and shrimp cocktail in space.
Things you didn’t know She wanted to become an astronaut because of Star Trek


Herbert Hoover

Herbert Hoover9 is well known in history books as the 31st president of the United States.

Hoover is inevitably linked to America’s Great Depression. He came into power just in time for the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

Full name Herbert Clark Hoover
Nicknames Bert, The Grand Old Man, The Chief
Birth Year 1874
Stanford Years Graduated: 1895
Known For 31st president of the United States
Wealth 83 million USD
Industry Civil engineering, business, politics
Relationships Lou Henry (m.1899 – 1944)
Favourite food Sweet potatoes with marshmallows
Things you didn’t know He became an orphan aged 9



John F. Kennedy

America’s 35th president, John F. Kennedy10 was infamously assassinated as he rode in a procession of motor cars through Dallas, Texas.

JFK, as he is famously known, is also known for the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Full name John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Nicknames JFK and Jack
Birth Year 1917
Stanford Years 1940 (dropped out)
Known For 35th president of the United States, death by assassination
Wealth 10 million USD
Industry Military and politics
Relationship status Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (m.1963)
Favourite food He was partial to lamb chops, steak, seafood, baked beans and corn muffins
Things you didn’t know One of his legs was 4 inches longer than the other

Larry Page

The world as we know it today wouldn’t exist without Larry Page11..He invented the search engine by which we maintain our livelihoods, raise our children, and make everyday decisions – Google.

Page dreamed of creating a search engine which curated and ranked all the pages on the internet, and that’s exactly what he did. He went to Stanford in the mid 1990s and met Sergey Brin in 1996. Together, they co-founded Google.

Full name Lawrence Edward Page
Nicknames Not known, but interestingly, Google’s name was originally BackRub.
Birth Year 1973
Stanford Years Mid 1990s
Known For Co-founder of Google
Wealth 69.4 billion USD
Industry Computer Science and Engineering
Relationship status Lucinda Southworth (m.2007)
Favourite food Not known, but the head chef for Google, Charlie Ayers, used to make recipes such as ‘Google Hot Sauce’ and ‘Mystical Granola’.
Things you didn’t know He got the idea for Google in a dream


Fred Savage

Fred Savage12 is a famous child actor, who played Kevin Arnold in the American television series The Wonder Years. He has earned several awards and nominations, such as People’s Choice Awards and Young Artist Awards.

Full name Frederick Aaron Savage
Nicknames Freddy
Birth Year 1976
Stanford Years Graduated: 1999
Known For Famous American actor
Wealth 14 million USD
Industry Acting
Relationships Jennifer Lynn Stone (m.2004)
Favourite food Italian food, and wolfberries and limes.
Things you didn’t know By the age of 12, he was the youngest person ever to be nominated for an Emmy

Peter Thiel

As the billionaire who co-founded Paypal, Peter Thiel13 has money to spare. He is currently worth 3.2 billion USD. Thiel studied Philosophy at Stanford, before graduating with a degree in Law.

While at Stanford, Thiel founded a newspaper called The Stanford Review, to criticise the University’s stance on political correctness.

Full name Peter Andreas Thiel
Nicknames Not known
Birth Year 1967
Stanford Years Graduated: 1989
Known For Founder of Paypal
Wealth 3.2 billion USD
Industry Venture capitalism
Relationships Matt Danzeisen (m.2017)
Favourite food Not known, but according to Vanity Fair, Thiel served a ‘disappointing’ amount of edamame and sushi at a party.
Things you didn’t know He’s invested a lot of money in 3D printed meat.


Reed Hastings

If you’ve ever stayed up until the sun rises, bingeing on Netflix documentaries, you have this man to thank. Reed Hastings14 is the founder and CEO of the streaming giant Netflix. Netflix has transformed the way we consumed television and film, leaving Hastings a billionaire.

Full name Wilmot Reed Hastings Jr
Nicknames The Animal (because of how uncompromising he was at work)
Birth Year 1960
Stanford Years Graduated: 1988
Known For Founder and CEO of Netflix
Wealth Net worth: 5.8 billion USD
Industry Tech & Entertainment, software development
Relationships Patricia Ann Quillin
Favourite food Not known
Things you didn’t know He is embarrassed not to have read the book Anna Karenina yet


Issa Rae

Issa Rae15 is an extraordinarily talented American actress writer and producer. She is famous for her work on the YouTube series Awkward Black Girl.

Rae is also famous for co-writing and starring in the HBO television series Insecure. She has received two Golden Globe award nominations for Best Actress and two primetime Emmy Awards nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

Full name Jo-Issa Rae Diop
Nicknames Not known, but Issa Rae is an abbreviation of her full name
Birth Year 1985
Stanford Years Graduated: 2007
Known For Famous American actress, writer and producer.
Wealth 4 million USD
Industry Acting
Relationship status Louis Diame (engaged)
Favourite food Favorite snacks include popcorn and chocolate
Things you didn’t know Her birth name Jo-Issa is a combination of her grandmothers’ names, Isseu and Joyce.


Sandra Day O’Connor

Sandra Day O’Connor16 is fairly extraordinary, as the first woman Justice of the Supreme Court of America. She graduated from Stanford Law School in 1952.

Sandra Day O’Connor had trouble finding work as a lawyer, because at the time, firms would only hire men. She was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Reagan, on August 19th, 1981.


Full name Sandra Day O’Connor
Nicknames The FWOTSC (The First Woman of The Supreme Court
Birth Year 1930
Stanford Years Graduated: 1952
Known For First woman Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Wealth Somewhere between $4.2 million and $15.2, according to a 2002 article
Industry Law
Relationships John Jay O’Connor (m.1952)
Favourite food Her favourite McDonald’s food s a Big Mac
Things you didn’t know In Gilmore Girls, Sandra Day O’Connor is said to have attended Chilton School (in real life she attended Radford School in Texas)


Jennifer Katharine Gates

Jennifer Katharine Gates17 might be best known as the daughter of billionaire and Microsoft creator Bill Gates, but she is extremely accomplished in her own right.

Gates graduated from Stanford in 2018 with a degree in Human Biology. She is also a very talented horse rider and performer (equestrian)


Full name Jennifer Katharine Gates
Nicknames Jenni
Birth Year 1996
Stanford Years Graduated: 2018
Known For Bill Gates’ daughter, accomplished equestrian
Wealth 20 million USD
Industry Equestrian
Relationships Nayel Nassar (engaged)
Favourite food Not known, but her dad Bill Gates’ favourite food is a burger.
Things you didn’t know She will barely inherit anything from her father’s fortune.


Kevin Systrom

Kevin Systrom18 pretty much invented the way we take photos today. He got the idea for Instagram when his girlfriend at the time refused to publish photos of herself that were taken on an iPhone camera. This gave him the idea for Instagram and Instagram filters, and the rest is history.

Instagram has given rise to many of the world’s popular influencers today, and is now worth around 100 billion USD. Systrom graduated from Stanford in 2006.


Full name Kevin Systrom
Nicknames Not known
Birth Year 1983
Stanford Years Graudated: 2006
Known For Co-founded instagram
Wealth 1.1 billion USD
Industry Computer programming
Relationships Nicole Schuetz (m.2016)
Favourite food Fine food
Things you didn’t know He came up with the idea for Instagram when he girlfriend was unwilling to post her photos because they didn’t look good enough when taken with an iPhone camera.


Viktor Koo

Viktor Koo19 is famous for founding video website Youku. When Youku merged with Tudou in 2012, it became one of China’s top video portals.

Koo graudated from Stanford in 1994, returning to China to start his technology empire.

Full name Victor Wing Cheung Koo or Gu Yongqiang
Nicknames Sea turtle
Birth Year 1966
Stanford Years Graduated: 1994
Known For Co-founding Youku and creating one of China’s premiere video portals
Wealth Net worth: 1.1. billion USD
Industry Business, technology and entrepreneurship
Relationships Not known
Favourite food Not known
Things you didn’t know Along with other famous Chinese tech executives, Koo is called a ‘sea turtle’ because it is homonymous with the word for a person who goes overseas and comes back to China


Sam Yagan

Sam Yagan20 transformed online dating as we know it today, by creating the dating site OkCupid. He was the CEO of Match, the group that owns Tinder and Hinge – dating apps that have taken millennial culture by storm.

Yagan graduated from Stanford in 2005 and created OkCupid because he disliked the dating culture of introducing yourselves to strangers in bars. He also created SparkNotes, making him the saviour of many students before their exams.


Full name Sam Yagan
Nicknames The “Nerd King of Online Dating” according to CNN Money.
Birth Year 1977
Stanford Years Graduated 2005
Known For Created SparkNotes and co-founded OKCupid
Wealth Net worth: at least 31.2 million USD
Industry Internet entrepreneurship
Relationships Jessica Droste Yagan (m. 2003)
Favourite food Not known
Things you didn’t know He got the idea for OKCupid because he hated meeting people in bars when he was single.


Jacqueline Novogratz

Jacqueline Novogratz21 is a famous American entrepreneur and author.

As the founder and CEO of Acumen, a non-profit global venture capitalist fun, she uses entrepreneurial approach is to address the widespread problem of global poverty.

She earned an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1991


Full name Jacqueline Novogratz
Nicknames Not known
Birth Year 1961
Stanford Years Graduated: 1991
Known For Founder and CEO of Acumen, a non-profit fund which addresses global poverty
Wealth Not known
Industry Entrepreneurship
Relationship Chris Anderson (m.)
Favourite food Not known
Things you didn’t know She once saw a boy in Rwanda wearing a sweater she donated to Goodwill a decade earlier. This inspired her to write her book The Blue Sweater.


Jeffrey Skoll

Jeffrey Skoll22 has taken the world by storm as an engineer, billionaire Internet entrepreneur and film producer. He attended Stanford university is business school in 1993.

We have Skoll to thank for the eBay we know today. He wrote the business plan that allowed the company to emerge as an Internet shopping giant.

Full name Jeffrey Stuart Skoll
Nicknames Not known
Birth Year 1965
Stanford Years Graduated: 1995
Known For Canadian engineer, billionaire internet entrepreneur and film producer
Wealth 5.5 billion USD
Industry Engineering, entrepreneurship and film production
Relationships Stephanie Swedlove (m. 2014)
Favourite food Not known
Things you didn’t know He paid for his college through money he earned pumping gas.

Mary Barra

Mary Barra23, Chairman and CEO of General Motors company, as famous as the first female CEO of a major automaker.

She graduated from Stanford in 1990, and has a net worth of at least 58.4 million USD.

Full name Mary Teresa Barra
Nicknames Not known
Birth Year 1961
Stanford Years Graduated: 1990
Known For Chairman and CEO of General Motors Company (first female CEO of a major automaker).
Wealth Net worth: at least 58.4 million USD
Industry Business and engineering
Relationship status Tony Barra (m.)
Favourite food Not known
Things you didn’t know Her favourite cars are the Chevrolet Camaro and the Pontiac Firebird


Penny Pritzker

Penny Pritzker24 is one of the worlds few female billionaires. She is famous as an American businesswoman entrepreneur and civic leader.

President Barack Obama nominated her as United States Secretary of Commerce. She graduated from Stanford in 1985.

Full name Penny Sue Pritzker
Nicknames Not known
Birth Year 1959
Stanford Years Graduated: 1985
Known For American billionaire, businesswoman, entrepreneur and civic leader.
Wealth Net Worth: 2.7 billion USD
Industry Business and entrepreneurship
Relationships Brian Traubert
Favourite food Not known
Things you didn’t know Her mother suffered badly with depression



Ted Koppel

Ted Koppel25 is well known for being the managing director and news anchor for ABC News Nightline, one of the most honoured broadcasts in television.

A renowned American broadcast journalist, Koppel graduated from Stanford in 1962.

Full name Edward James Martin Koppel
Nicknames Teddy Red Cop
Birth Year 1940
Stanford Years graduated: 1962
Known For American broadcast journalist, best known as the anchor for Nightline
Wealth 30 million USD
Industry Broadcast journalism
Relationships Grace Anne Koppel (m. 1963)
Favourite food Not known
Things you didn’t know He says he’s too ugly to be narcissistic


Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney26 famously ran for Presidential candidate against Obama in 2008.

Romilly is a politician and businessman who served as 70th governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007.


Full name Willard Mitt Romney
Nicknames Fancy Cheesebag (in high school)
Birth Year 1947
Stanford Years Graduated: 1966
Known For Former presidential candidate against Obama, junior United States senator.
Wealth 190 – 250 million USD
Industry Politics and business
Relationships Anne Davis (m. 1969)
Favourite food Hot Dog
Things you didn’t know He voted to convict Trump and called him an ‘autocrat’


Phil Knight

Nike is one of those brands that you grow up hearing about as part of your daily life. Phil Knight27 is the co-founder and chairman emeritus of Nike Inc., as well as being a former CEO of the company.

Knight was ranked by Forbes as the 26th richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of 39.2 billion USD.

Full name Philip Hampson Knight
Nicknames Buck
Birth Year 1938
Stanford Years Graduated: 1962
Known For Co-founder and former CEO of Nike
Wealth 48.6 billion USD
Industry Business and entrepreneurship
Relationships Penny Knight (m.1968)
Favourite food Not known
Things you didn’t know He used his wife’s waffle iron to create the first pair of Nike shoes with traction


Ted Danson

Ted Danson28 famously played the character of Sam Malone in the hit NBC sitcom Cheers.

He is also famous for starring in films such as Three Men and a Baby, and as Dr John Becker on the CBS sitcom Becker. He has been nominated for 18 prime-time Emmy awards and 11 Golden Globe awards nominations.

Full name Edward Bridge Danson
Nicknames Not known
Birth Year 1947
Stanford Years Early 1970s (transferred to Carneige Mellon)
Known For American actor and producer who played lead character Sam Malone in NBC Sitcom Cheers.
Wealth 80 million USD
Industry Acting
Relationships Mary Steenburgen (m.1995), Casey Coates (m.1977-1993), Randy Danson (m.1970 – 1975).
Favourite food Mashed potatoes
Things you didn’t know He didn’t think he was cut out for the role of Sam Malone after watching the Cheers pilot


Cory Booker

Cory Booker29 is an American politician attorney and author who has served as a junior United States Senator for New Jersey since 2013.

Booker is also famous as the first African American US senator from New Jersey. He was previously the mayor of New York from 2016 to 2013. He graduated from Stanford in 1991.

Full name Cory Anthony Booker
Nicknames Not known
Birth Year 1969
Stanford Years Graduated: 1991
Known For United States Senator, attorney and author
Wealth 1.5 million USD
Industry Law and Politics
Relationships Rosario Dawson (domestic partner)
Favourite food Booker is a vegan, whose favourite comfort food vegan place is HipCityVeg.
Things you didn’t know He staged a ten day hunger strike and lived in a tent to draw attention to urban development issues in the city



Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow30 is best known as the humorous and incisive host MSNBC’s ‘The Rachel Maddow show’. A liberal political journalist, she is well known for the criticisms of Donald Trump and the far-right.

Maddow is also extremely intelligent, graduating from Stanford in 1994. She was also a Rhodes scholar at the University of Oxford.

Full name Rachel Anne Maddow
Nicknames Not known
Birth Year 1973
Stanford Years Graduated: 1994
Known For American television news programme host and liberal political commentator
Wealth 25 million USD
Industry Journalism
Relationships Susan Mikula (partner)
Favourite food Not known, but when journalist Kate Krader had dinner her, Maddow enjoyed bo ssam, Momofuko pork buns and fried chicken.
Things you didn’t know Maddow has suffered from cyclical depression since she was a teenager


Julie Foudy

Julie Foudy31 is a famous Olympic gold medalist and American retired soccer midfielder.

Foudy is also a two time winner of the FIFA women’s World Cup. She graduated from Stanford in 1994.

Full name Julie Maurine Foudy
Nicknames Loudy Foudy
Birth Year 1971
Stanford Years Graduated: 1994
Known For Famous American soccer midfielder
Wealth 14 million USD
Industry Sports
Relationships Ian Sawyers (m.1995)
Favourite food Not known
Things you didn’t know She is certain that the first female US president will have played sport

















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