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Notable Alumni

Far from an exhaustive list, below we feature some of the LAS community's notable alumni who work in a variety of fields including politics, journalism, acting, marketing, business, non-profit work, and education. To nominate yourself or a peer for inclusion on this list, please email Read on for some inspiration and know that you are in good company as an LAS alum!

Bernard Shaw, 1966
Former chief anchor at CNN

Tony Podesta, 1967
Founding President of People for the American Way and former aide to President Bill Clinton

Rose Economou, 1968 (deceased)
Independent filmmaker and documentarian for ABC, PBS and CBS. Winner of seven Emmy Awards and four Chicago International Film Festival Awards

John Leverence, 1968
Senior Vice President of Awards at Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

Carol Moseley Braun, 1969
First African-American woman elected to the U.S. Senate. Candidate for Mayor in Chicago, 2011

Barbara Schaal, 1969
First woman elected vice president of the National Academy of Sciences. Named by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Council of Advisors on Science and Technology

Michael Gross, 1970
Movie and television actor best known for playing Steven Keaton on “Family Ties”

Robert Mariano, 1971
Former CEO of Roundy’s (later purchased by Kroger’s) and founder of the Mariano’s Fresh Market chain of stores.

Leonard Roberts, 1971
Consultant for Radio Shack Corporation (RSC) and former Chief Executive Chairman of RSC.

Charles Connor, 1972
President of the U.S. Navy Public Affairs Association and former Senior Vice President of Communications and Marketing for the American Red Cross.

Ellis Cose, 1972
Author, columnist, and contributing editor for Newsweek magazine

Jean Bogner, 1973
Member of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climiate Change that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore

Bill Lamar, 1973
Former Director of Operations and Assistant Vice President of Marketing, McDonald’s Corporation. Winner of the Silver Medal Lifetime Achievement Award, American Advertising Federation, 2007

James McNulty, 1973
Past president and CEO of the Chicago Merchantile Exchange.

Billy Branch, 1974
Musician and Grammy award nominee for “Billy Branch and his Sons of Blues Band.”

Julia Stasch, 1974
President, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Carlos Tortolero, 1975
Founder and President of the National Museum of Mexican Art

Herbert Paaren, 1976
Synthetic organic chemist with extensive research and administrative experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Co-founder of Tetrionics and investor in Cardiavent, which is focused on developing a novel Vitamin D analog for cardiovascular indications.

Jaslin Salmon, 1977
Acting Director-General of the Dominica Red Cross

James Compton, 1978; MA, 1983
Former Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer, United Airlines

Michael Hagerty, 1978
Actor, known for Overboard (1987), Inspector Gadget (1999) and So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993). He has also appeared on television in character roles in shows such as Brooklyn Nine-NineShameless, and The Goldbergs.

Gery Chico, 1979
Former president of the Chicago Board of Education. Candidate for Mayor of Chicago, 2011.

Ertharin Cousin, 1979
Distinguished fellow of global agriculture at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.  She previously served as executive director of the World Food Programme from 2012 until 2017. In this role, Cousin led the world’s largest humanitarian organization with 14,000 staff serving 80 million vulnerable people across 75 countries.

Dwayne Johnson-Cochran, 1982
Filmmaker, writer, producer, director and educator based in Los Angeles. Owner of DJC Films.

Howard Kaufman, 1982
Chief Medical Officer, Replimune, Inc. Developed two FDA-approved drugs to treat cancer, Imlygic and Bavencio.

Yi-Yin Ku, 1985 (MS, PhD ’88)
Senior Research Fellow, Abbvie, Inc.

Sheryl Underwood, 1987
Comedian, actress and television host. She is well known for hosting BET Comic View and is currently one of the five hosts on the daytime chat show The Talk on CBS.

Bobby L. Rush, 1994
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives

Julie Smolyansky, 1996
CEO, Lifeway Kefir

Jesús G. “Chuy” García, 1998
Member-elect of the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois’ 4th district. Former Illinois State Senator and former candidate for Mayor of Chicago.

Cheryl Ganz, 2005 (PhD)
Smithsonian Institution curator emerita and former Chief Curator of Philately at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum

Nnedi Okarafor, 2007
Winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa, considered Africa’s Nobel Prize.

Nicole Franklin, 2010
Award-winning filmmaker, published writer, and assistant professor of Television Production at Hofstra University.