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Ten Notable Penn State Alumni Who Left a Lasting Impact on the World
Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) has a rich history of producing outstanding graduates who have gone on to make significant contributions to their respective fields and to society as a whole. As one of America’s premier research institutions, Penn State has nurtured talent and fostered innovation for more than a century. From accomplished actors to visionary leaders, here are ten notable Penn State alumni who left a lasting impact on the world.
1. Keegan-Michael Key – Award-Winning Actor, Writer, and Producer
Best known for his comedic talent on the sketch show “Key & Peele”, Keegan-Michael Key is an award-winning actor, writer, and producer. A Penn State graduate with an MFA in theater, Key honed his craft and has since become one of Hollywood’s most versatile entertainers.
2. Lara Spencer – Co-Anchor of “Good Morning America”
A household name in American television, Lara Spencer graduated from Penn State with a degree in broadcast journalism. As co-anchor of “Good Morning America” on ABC, she provided news, entertainment, and lifestyle stories to millions of viewers across the country.
3. Mark Parker – CEO of Nike
A renowned figure in the world of sports and business, Mark Parker earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Penn State. He then became the CEO of Nike, leading the company to new heights of innovation and global success during his tenure.
4. Guion Bluford – First African-American Astronaut to Fly in Space
As a pioneer in space exploration, Guion Bluford became the first African-American astronaut to fly in space. He completed his master’s and doctorate in Aerospace Engineering at Penn State, a testament to the university’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of science and technology.
5. Larry Foster – Philanthropist and Advocate for Social Change
A strong advocate for philanthropy and social change, Larry Foster earned his accounting degree at Penn State. He was president of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and played a key role in fundraising for cancer research and patient support.
6. Ann Dunwoody – First Woman Four-Star General in the U.S. Army
Breaking the glass ceiling in the United States Army, Ann Dunwoody made history by becoming the first woman to achieve the rank of four-star general in the United States Army. Her time at Penn State, where she earned a master’s degree in logistics management, prepared her for the remarkable leadership journey that followed.
7. John Urschel – Math Scholar and Former NFL Player
John Urschel is a testament to the power of the balance between academics and athletics. Graduating with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in math while excelling on the football field, Urschel went on to play for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens before pursuing a doctorate in mathematics at MIT.
8. Lyndsey Harding – Tech Industry Leader and Diversity Advocate
An advocate for diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, Lyndsey Harding graduated from Penn State with a degree in computer science and engineering. She then became Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the popular job search platform, Indeed, and worked to promote women’s representation in STEM fields.
9. Ty Burrell – Emmy-Winning Actor
Famous for his role as Phil Dunphy on the hit TV show “Modern Family”, Ty Burrell graduated from Penn State with a degree in theater. His exceptional acting career earned him several Emmy Awards and cemented his place in Hollywood.
10. Paul Berg – Nobel Prize-Winning Scientist
Winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Paul Berg obtained his doctorate in biochemistry from Penn State. His groundbreaking work in genetic splicing technology revolutionized genetic engineering and had a profound impact on biotechnology.
The Legacy of Penn State Alumni
These notable Penn State alumni exemplify the university’s commitment to excellence, innovation, and the pursuit of knowledge. From entertainment and sports to science and social advocacy, their achievements continue to inspire and enrich the world around us. As Penn State continues to shape future generations of leaders and innovators, it’s clear that the legacy of its alumni will endure for years to come.
Q: What other famous alumni graduated from Penn State?
A: In addition to the ten notable alumni listed in this article, Penn State boasts a long list of accomplished graduates. Some other famous alumni include Valerie Plame, Matthew McConaughey, and Franco Harris.
Q: How does Penn State’s alumni network support students and graduates?
A: Penn State’s alumni network provides support through mentorship programs, career resources, networking opportunities, and scholarships. Alumni often give back to the university and its students by sharing their experiences and providing guidance.
Q: Can I visit Penn State to learn more about the university and its alumni?
A: Absolutely! Penn State welcomes visitors and