Nebraska Notable Alumni and Natives

June 11, 2010

Other Information


  • Twenty-two Rhodes Scholars
  • Three Nobel Laureates
  • Seven Pulitzer Prize winners
  • Other notable alumni:
    • Grace Abbott: A 20th century feminist, served as director of the Immigrants Protective League of Hull House in Chicago. She also served as chief of the U.S. Children's Bureau where she administered the first federal child labor law and the Maternity and Infancy Act.
    • Warren Buffett: One of the wealthiest men in the country, earned a B.S. in economics in 1950. A native of Omaha, Buffett is chairman of the board of Berkshire Hathaway, a company whose business activities include underwriting of property and casualty insurance, newspaper publishing and candy production and sales.
    • Johnny Carson: The "Tonight Show" host for more than 30 years, Carson turned the show into one of NBC's biggest money-makers. He won numerous Emmy Awards and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Kennedy Center Honors Lifetime Achievement Award.
    • Willa Cather: Regarded as one of her century's greatest writers, Cather drew on her childhood and college days to produce "O Pioneers!", "My Antonia" and the Pulitzer Prize-winning wartime novel, "One of Ours."
    • Aaron Douglas: A leader of the Harlem Renaissance, Douglas has been described as "the father of African-American art." Douglas was the first African-American artist to explore modernism and to reflect African art in his paintings, murals and illustrations.
    • Ted Kooser: Served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 2004-06 and won a Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for his book, Delights & Shadows. Currently a Presidential Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he earned his master's degree in 1968.
    • John J. Pershing: A general in the U.S. Army, launched the first offensive by American forces in World War I. Was named General of the Army and served as chief of staff until his retirement in 1924, earning a Pulitzer Prize for his memoir. Served as head of Nebraska's military science department, a unit which adopted the name, "Pershing Rifles."


  • Lincoln:
    • Dick Cavett - former talk show host
    • Dick Cheney - former vice president of the United States
    • Hilary Swank - two-time Academy Award-winning actress
    • Paula Zahn - former CNN News anchor
  • Omaha:
    • Fred Astaire - film actor, Broadway dancer, choreographer and singer
    • Marlon Brando - Academy Award-winning actor
    • Gerald Ford - former United States president
    • Malcolm X - civil rights leader
  • Grand Island:
    • Henry Fonda - film and stage actor