CU breeds success: A look at famous alumni

Byron White, Lynne Cheney, Robert Redford among the many who graduated from CU

“The spirit of the university is carried by all that have passed through her halls,” said George Norlin, a former president of CU. Here, the Campus Press takes a closer look at some of CU’s noteworthy graduates.

Standing next to Glenn Miller, Robert Redford and the creators of South Park are many of the Olympic athletes, political figures, astronauts, inventors and public figures who have graduated from CU.

Lynne Cheney, the wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, got her masters degree from CU in English Literature in 1964. Cheney is known for her conservative politics and has authored and co-authored over ten books. She was mentioned as a possible conservative female pick for a Republican Vice Presidential nominee in 2000, but President George W. Bush later chose her husband.

Supreme Court Justice Byron White graduated from the college of Arts and Sciences in 1938 and received an honorary doctorate from the university in 1963. He led the CU football team to the Cotton Bowl in 1938 and played for two NFL teams after graduating. He has a place in the CU Athletic Hall of Honor. President John F. Kennedy nominated him for the Supreme Court in 1962.

Inventor Spencer Silver is known for inventing the Post-it note. He graduated from CU with a doctorate in Organic Chemistry. He has his name on 22 U.S. Patents and is the senior chemist at 3M.

Theodore Maiman graduated with a degree in physics in 1949. He invented the first laser in 1960, which was later named as one of the top ten technological achievements in the 20th century. In 1984, Maiman was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, where he sits next to Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers.

Hale Irwin Jr. got a degree in Marketing in 1968. He was a defensive back for CU and graduated with honors. After college, he became a professional golfer and has 20 victories in the PGA tour. He has won the U.S. Open Championship three times and the Senior U.S. Open twice. Irwin tops the all-time Champions Tour money list with earnings of over $22 million.

Roberta Ramo became the first woman elected president of the American Bar Association. She graduated from CU in 1964 with a degree in humanities.

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Inc., was expelled from the university in 1969 for sending prank messages on CU’s fledgling computer system. He went back to California to build his own computer known as Apple I. Apple II became the world’s first truly successful computer. He reached Fortune 500 status within the first five years and CU gave him an honorary doctorate degree in science in 1989.

These are just a few names that stand out in the Distinguished Alumni Gallery in the Heritage Center located at the top level of Old Main, however, it does not accurately depict the multitude of graduates that present CU as a distinguished university. Check it out, and get inspired.

CU Independent

The CU Independent, or CUI for short, is the student news outlet for the University of Colorado at Boulder. We cover news, sports, politics, opinion, arts and entertainment and more. Our mission is to provide news and commentary that's for students and by students — about the things we care about.

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