University Archives: Notable University of Iowa Alumni and Former Students

B. J. Armstrong – Professional basketball player with the Golden State Warriors, formerly with the Chicago Bulls. Played on the Bulls’ NBA Championship teams in 1991, 1992, and 1993. B.A., 1989, Communica-tion Studies

Mildred Wirt Benson – Creator of the Nancy Drew mystery story collection. B.A., 1925; M.A. 1927, Journalism and Mass Communication

Terry Branstad – Governor of Iowa, and longest-tenured Governor in the nation. B.A., 1969, Political Science

Robert Olen Butler, Jr.-Won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, among other literary awards. M.A., 1969, Communication and Theatre Arts

Elizabeth Catlett – Acclaimed painter who studied under Grant Wood and is the first African American woman to earn the MFA from the University of Iowa. MFA, 1940, Art

Max A. Collins, Jr. – Writer of the comic strip “Dick Tracy.” (Chester Gould was the creator of the strip and Collins took over in 1977 when Gould retired.) Collins also writes mystery novels. B.A., 1970; M.F.A., 1972, English

Paul Conrad – Former editorial cartoonist for the Los Angeles Times who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1964, 1971, and 1984. B.A., 1950, Art

Rita Dove – Won Pulitzer Prize for poetry and was the 1993 Poet Laureate of the United States. M.F.A., 1977

Paul Engle – Poet and director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop for 24 years. Engle also founded the International Writing Program- M.A., 1932, English. Deceased 3/22/91

Simon Estes – World famous baritone, formerly of the New York Metropolitan Opera. B.M., 1986

Jorie Graham – Pulitzer Prize winning poet and MacArthur Fellow who was on the faculty of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. M.F.A., 1978, English

Charles Guggenheim – A Washington, D.C.-based documentary filmmaker who has won three Academy Awards and been nominated for eight others. B.A., 1948, Communication and Theatre Arts

Paul P. Harris – Founder of Rotary International. L.L.B., 1891.

John W. Irving – Novelist who wrote The World According to Garp, A Prayer for Owen Meany, and several others. M.F.A., 1967, English

Al Jarreau – Jazz singer and 1982 Grammy Award winner for best male pop performance. M.A., 1964, Education

Donald R Justice – Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry. Ph.D., 1954, English

Barry M. Kemp – Executive producer of several television series including “Coach” and “Newhart.” B.A., 1971, Communication & Theatre Arts

W.P. Kinsella – Author of the critically-acclaimed bestseller Shoeless Joe, upon which the motion picture “Field of Dreams” was based. M.F.A., 1978, English

Ashton Kutcher – Television and film actor.

Richard W. Maibaum – Screenwriter and producer who wrote Broadway plays and thirteen James Bond scripts/films. B.A., 1931; M.A., 1932, Communication and Theatre Arts. Deceased 1 /4/91

James Alan McPherson – Pulitzer Prize winning author and MacArthur Fellow who is currently on the faculty of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. M.F.A., 1971, English

Nicholas Meyer – Film writer and director whose film credits include “Time After Time,” “The Seven Per-Cent Solution,” and “Star Trek II, IV, and VI.” B.A., 1968, Communication and Theatre Arts

(Mary) Flannery O’Connor – Novelist and author of numerous short stories. M.F.A., 1947, English. Deceased 8/4/64

Trudy Huskamp Peterson – Acting Archivist of the United States, 1993-95. Ph.D., 1975, History

W. Ann Reynolds – Chancellor of the City University of New York and former Chancellor, California State University. M.S., 1960; Ph.D., 1962, Zoology

Jane Smiley – 1992 Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction for the novel A Thousand Acres. M.A., 1975; M.F.A., 1976; Ph.D., 1978, English

Mary Louise Smith – Former chair of the National Republican Committee, and former vice chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. B.A., 1935, Business Administration

Juanita Kidd Stout – First woman appointed as a federal judge; Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice. B.A., 1939, Music

Michael F. Toner – 1993 Pulitzer Prize winner for explanatory journalism. B.A., 1966, Journalism and Mass Communication

James Van Allen – World famous physicist and discoverer of two radiation belts (the Van Allen Belts) that surround the earth. Emeritus Carver Professor of Physics at the University of Iowa. M.S., 1936; Ph.D., 1939, Physics

Gene Wilder – Comedic film and television actor whose credits include “Silver Streak,” “Young Frankenstein,” and “Stir Crazy”. 1955, Theater

 

 

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