Notable Alumni

These distinguished alumni are an inspiration to the UMass Amherst community and the world at large. We are proud of their outstanding accomplishments and proud to call them UMass alumni.

Art & Literature

Jack Canfield '72G
Author, Chicken Soup for the Soul

Paul Harding '92
Author, 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Tinkers

Brett Lott '84G
Author, Jewel (Oprah's Book Club)

William Manchester '46
Author, Death of a President, The Last Lion: Winston Churchill

Valerie Martin '74G
Author, 2003 Orange Prize for Property

Scott Prior '71

Paul Theroux '63
Author, The Great Railway Bazaar, The Mosquito Coast

Natasha Trethewey '95G
Poet, 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Native Guard


George "Trigger" Burke '56
Forward, Boston Celtics 1956-57

Marcus Camby '96
Forward, Portland Trail Blazers

Gary DiSarcina '90
Boston Red Sox

Julius Erving '86
Forward, Philadelphia 76ers, inducted into Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993

Danielle Henderson '99
Olympic softball player

James Ihedigbo '07
Safety, New York Jets

Robert Meers '66
Football Player, Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Chargers, CEO Reebok

Rick Pitino '75
Head basketball coach at University of Louisville

Briana Scurry '95
Former goalie, US Women's National Soccer Team

Business & Industry

George Ditomassi '57
Former CEO of  Milton Bradley

Eugene Isenberg '50
Chairman, CEO, Nabors Industries, Ltd.

John Jacobs '90
Founder, Life is Good

Richard Kelleher '73
Principal and CEO of Pyramid Hotel Group

Jack Smith '60
Former CEO of General Motors

Jack Welch '57
Former chairman and CEO of General Electric

Science & Technology

Cady Coleman '91G


Norm Abram '72
Host, This Old House

Natalie Cole '72

Jeff Corwin '02G
Host and executive producer, Animal Planet

Bill Cosby '72G, '76 EdD
Comedian, actor, author, TV producer, The Cosby Show

Jeffrey Donovan '91
Actor, Burn Notice

Richard Gere '71
Actor, Pretty Woman

Mike Haley, '65
Film producer and actor, Angels in America, Working Girl

Taj Mahal '63
Blues musician

Ken Ober '80
Comedian, game show host, Remote Control

Bill Pullman '80G, '08 DFA
Actor, While You Were Sleeping, Independence Day

Buffy Sainte-Marie '70
Singer, songwriter

Joanne Weir '75
Author, host, Joanne Weir's Cooking Show

Mark Wilding '79
Writer/Producer Grey's Anatomy


Carlton Brown '72, '79G
President, Clark Atlanta University

Evan Dobelle '63, '70G, '87 EdD
President, Westfield State College

Joseph Moore '76
President, Lesley University

Qifeng Zhou '83 PhD
President, Peking University

Government & Politics

James Kallstrom '66
Former head of FBI

Madeline Kunin '56
Former Vermont governor

Law & Justice

Kenneth Feinberg '67
Attorney, September 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund; Administrator, Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Compensation Fund