Notable Alumni


From actors, artists and musicians to business leaders, politicians, inventors and more, this page includes some of Mizzou's best-known alumni. All alumni are  categorized by field and listed alphabetically. Use the buttons below to jump to a specific category.

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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series race car driver Carl Edwards grew up in Columbia and attended Mizzou in the mid-2000s.

One of the best in his sport today, Edwards became the NASCAR Busch Series Champion in 2007, and in 2008, he finished second to Jimmie Johnson in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Off the track, Carl has been busy promoting his new record label, Back40 Records, a company he started with a high school friend back in Columbia. He can often be seen cheering on the Tigers at Mizzou games when it isn't racing season.

Although he never completed his degree, Cardinals third baseman David Freese spent some time as a Missouri Tiger and even pledged Sigma Alpha Epsilon while he was here.

Freese was a senior at Lafayette High School in Wildwood, MO when he was offered a Division I Mizzou baseball scholarship in 2001; at the time, he was considered the best shortstop in the state. Burned out on baseball, Freese enrolled for the fall 2001 semester but declined the scholarship.

He studied computer science at MU for two semesters before realizing that he missed playing the game too much to quit. He spent a season playing for St. Louis Community College and then transferred to the University of South Alabama.

After graduating, Freese moved on to the minor leagues in 2006 and the major leagues in 2009. Today, he is best known for setting the MLB postseason record of 21 runs batted in: an achievement that made him the 2011 World Series MVP, NLCS MVP and winner of the 2011 Babe Ruth Award.

Many impressive footballers have proudly sported black and gold as MU Tigers, but few have been as accomplished as wide receiver Mel Gray.

The high school track star grew up in Santa Rosa, Calif. At Montgomery High School, Gray not only won the 100 yard dash at the state track meet, he also set the meet record and national high school record for the event; he remained the meet record-holder for the next 12 years.

Gray accepted a scholarship to MU in the late 1960s. During his time as a Tiger, he lettered in both football and track was all Big-Eight in 1969 and chosen for MU’s all-century team in 1990.  In 1969 alone, he caught 25 passes for 705 yards and had nine touchdowns. This talented athlete held the school record for career receiving yardage for two decades and still holds the career record for receiving touchdowns.

In addition to being a wide receiver for MU, Gray was a 5-time Big Eight Conference sprint champion, a 3-time all American for college track and a Grand Slam winner for the 100 meter dash.

Given his collegiate success, it came as no surprise that the St. Louis Cardinals football team selected Gray as its sixth-round draft choice for the in the 1971 NFL draft. He became an all-pro receiver during his career with the NFL from 1971 to 1982 and was selected to four consecutive Pro Bowls.

By the time Gray retired at the age of 34, he had caught at least one pass in 121 consecutive games.

He is a Major League Baseball player, Big 12 Pitcher of the Year in 2005, not to mention a Missouri native, but what really sets pitcher Max Scherzer apart is that he chose Mizzou—even when given the option to sign with the St. Louis Cardinals instead.

Maxwell M. Scherzer was born July 27, 1984 in Chesterfield, MO. He enrolled at Mizzou in 2003 and, despite turning down the Cardinals’ offer, was given another shot at the Major Leagues in 2006, when he was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks. This offer made him the 11th draft pick of the year and Mizzou’s first ever first-round MLB pick.

He made his debut as a Diamondback in April of 2008 after being named the fourth best prospect in the Diamondbacks’ organization; during that game he threw four-and-a-third perfect innings with seven strikeouts. Scherzer participated in a few other independent teams in the off-seasons, but continued to play for the Diamondbacks as a full-time starter through the 2009 season.

Scherzer was traded to the Detroit Tigers in December of 2009 and finished his first Tiger season with a 12-11 record. He continues to play for Detroit and has broken or nearly broken several team and Major League records.

In 2012, the University inducted him into the University of Missouri Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame, and a year later he won the American League Cy Young Award for his outstanding career as a Major League pitcher.

“Stormin” Norm Stewart, best known for his 32-year career as head basketball coach at Mizzou, is the only person in the school’s history to be inducted into the University of Missouri Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame as both a student-athlete and coach.

The Shelbyville, Mo. native lettered in both basketball and baseball at MU from 1954 to 1956. He was drafted into the NBA for the St. Louis Hawks as well as the MLB for the Baltimore Orioles upon graduation.

Stewart returned to his beloved alma mater to begin his tenure as head coach at the University of Missouri in 1967. Known as one of college basketball’s all-time greatest coaches, Stewart won eight Big Eight Conference championships and six conference tournament titles. Under Stewart, the Tigers appeared in 15 NCAA Tournaments, including two elite eights.

Stewart missed part of the 89-90 season to fight his battle with colon cancer, leading him to found Coaches vs. Cancer, an organization that raises millions of dollars annually for research on the disease. Stewart retired in 1999 and was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007. He continues to travel, attend various speaking engagements and provide color commentary on Mizzou basketball broadcasts.

The university has a long history of accomplished alumni in athletics. When Vince Tobin, special assistant to the Green Bay Packers, began his coaching career in 1971, he joined this proud tradition.

Born September 29, 1943, Tobin became a defensive back for Mizzou in the early 1960s. He went on to work as a graduate assistant for the football team in 1965 and then served as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator from 1971 to 1976.

After working for his alma mater, Tobin was a defensive coordinator for a few CFL and USFL teams in the late 1970s and first half of the 1980s, and then held the same post for the Chicago Bears right after their 1985 Super Bowl win.  In 1994, he spent a year as the defensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts  before becoming head coach for the Arizona Cardinals in 1996.

He spent a few years as the defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions, but then took his current role with the Packers in 2004.

Born and raised in Thayer, Mo., Stan Utley was a standout golfer at Mizzou; he led the Tigers to the Big Eight Championship in 1984 and then to two NCAA appearances in 1983 and 1984. He was a three-time all-Big Eight selection and a two-time All-American, and in 1995 he became the first golfer named to the University of Missouri Athletics Hall of Fame.

After earning a degree in business, Utley began his professional golf career in 1984. He joined the PGA Tour in 1989 and won the Chattanooga Classic in the same year, then joined the Nike Tour (now the Nationwide Tour) in 1992, where he played for the majority of the 1990s.

As his touring career wound down, Utley began teaching and writing with a focus on his specialty - the short game. He has quickly risen to prominence as one of the top instructors in golf and has been named one of America's 50 greatest teachers by Golf Digest.

Today, Utley continues to golf, write and teach. He lives in Scottsdale, AZ. with his wife, Elayna, and two children.

NFL Hall-of-Famer Roger Wehrli started his outstanding football career in King City, Mo. He was recruited to MU by coach Dan Devine in 1965 and was a standout defensive back and kick returner.

Wehrli set eight university records including most interceptions in a season (7 in 1968) and most in a game (3 vs. Oklahoma State in 1968). He was unanimously voted All-American in 1968.
Wehrli was a first round draft choice by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1969. He stayed with the team for his entire 13-year career in the NFL and became a perennial Pro Bowl selection.

After the end of his long pro career, he was voted a charter member of the University of Missouri Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 1990. He was also inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007, becoming the second Missouri player to be elected after Kellen Winslow. That same year, he served as Mizzou's Homecoming Grand Marshal.

Born in East St. Louis, Kellen Winslow graduated with an education degree from the University of Missouri in 1987. While captain of the football team at Mizzou, Winslow was also a member of secret honor society QEBH. 
Winslow was selected in the first round (13th overall) of the 1979 NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers. He enjoyed a nine-year career with the Chargers and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995. 
Since retiring from football, Winslow has appeared on Fox Sports, ABC's Nightline, ESPN, and many major local and national radio and television sports talk shows. He is often called upon to speak on social, political, economic and racial issues related to sports. 
While Winslow is in demand as a public speaker, he still finds time to lend his talents to youth groups and church organizations. He delivers motivational messages to audiences ranging from the boards of major corporations to civic and charitable groups.

Although Andrew Cherng (M.S. ’72) received his MU degree in applied mathematics, business turned out to be his true calling. The Chinese-born mogul and his wife, Peggy (M.S '71, P.h.D '74), went on to found the Panda Restaurant Group—the company that gave us Panda Express.

Andrew was born in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, China, but spent most of his childhood in Taiwan and Japan; his father was a chef. Peggy, on the other hand, was born in Burma amd grew up in Hong Kong.

In 1966 Andrew immigrated to the U.S. to study mathematics at Baker University in Kansas, where he received his bachelor’s of science degree and met his future wife, Peggy Tsiang.  After Cherng and Tsiang graduated from MU, the pair moved to Los Angeles to help Andrew's cousin run a restaurant in 1972.

Panda Inn, a later restaurant venture that Andrew started with his father, provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to open his own restaurant in 1983. A California mall developer invited the Cherngs to open “Panda Express” in his food court after eating at the Panda Inn. After seeing the eatery's potential, Peggy gave up her career at 3M in software development to help her husband launch the new business. Unlike the previous restaurants Andrew had run, the couple's restaurant was a fast food establishment, designed to appeal to shoppers on the go.

In just a decade, the company opened 99 more Panda Express restaurants; by the mid-1990s, Panda Express had become one of the largest fast food chains owned by a Chinese-American family.

If success is measured in dollars and cents, then Richard Kinder may be the greatest success story in Mizzou’s 175-year history. As Chairman and CEO of Kinder Morgan, he has made his mark in the energy industry and become one of America’s wealthiest men (#36 on Forbes 2012 list of the 400 Richest Americans).

Originally from Cape Girardeau, Kinder got his B.A. from MU in 1966 and his J.D. in 1968; as a Tiger, he was a Sigma Nu Fraternity brother.

After beginning his career as a Texas lawyer and real estate investor, this Tiger served as President and COO of Enron between 1990 and 1996, having been friends with the company’s founder, Kenneth Lay, in college. Kinder then started his own company and purchased Enron Liquids Pipeline for 40 million. He eventually became a board member of Transocean Waste Management Inc. among other energy organizations.

Kinder is also known for contributing multimillion dollar donations to museums, universities and the city of Houston, where he currently lives.

Stan Kroenke takes the saying “local boy makes good” to epic proportions. The businessman and entrepreneur was named after two St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famers, born and raised in Columbia and graduated from MU in 1969—few men were ever more Missourian.

Kroenke’s degrees from Mizzou include a B.A., B.S. and master’s of business administration. He put his education to good use when he founded the Kroenke Group in 1983 and THF Realty in 1991. These real estate development firms have constructed apartment buildings and a shopping center empire so vast that Kroenke is now the 92nd richest man in America (according to Forbes 2012 list of the 400 richest Americans).

Because the entrepreneur is married to Ann Walton (daughter of Wal-Mart cofounder Bud Walton,) many of Kroenke’s developments are near Wal-Mart stores. He has two children, daughter Whitney Ann, and son Josh, who played basketball at Mizzou.

Additionally, Kroenke is a well-known sports mogul and the owner of Kroenke Sports Enterprises. He owns not only the Los Angeles Rams (NFL) but also the Denver Nuggets (NBA,) the Colorado Rapids (MLS,) the Colorado Avalanche (NHL) and the Colorado Mammoth (NLL).

Kroenke lives in Columbia and is worth approximately $7.7 billion according to Forbes.

If you’ve eaten at a Long John Silver’s or an A&W Restaurant recently, then you’ve experienced the handiwork of David Novak. This successful businessman began as a Missouri J-school graduate and used his education to launch himself into the business world. He now serves as Executive Chairman and C.E.O. of YUM! Brands Inc. among other roles.

Before receiving these titles, Novak was C.E.O. of Pepsi-Cola North America and Executive Vice President of Marketing and National Sales for the Pepsi-Cola Company. Additionally, he has served as an Independent Director of JPMorgan Chase & Co. for more than a decade and is a Director of Bank One Corporation. He was named Chief Executive Magazine’s Chief Executive of the Year in 2012.

St. Louis-area native Rodger Riney is the founder and CEO of Scottrade, a top retail brokerage firm headquartered in Town and Country, MO. He earned his M.B.A from the University of Missouri in 1969.

After moving to Scottsdale, Ariz., Riney opened Scottsdale Securities in 1980 to offer investors a less expensive option for trading. The company's success led him to open a second office back in his hometown of St. Louis. In 1996, he launched, which ultimately led to the company being renamed Scottrade, Inc.

Scottrade has earned recognition from Fortune as one of the 100 best companies to work for six consecutive years and Riney takes pride in the motto "do the right thing," which remains at the heart of his company's culture. Riney and his family live by those words in their personal lives as well by supporting a variety of non-profits.

Born in Salina, Kan., Matthew Rose moved east for college and earned a business degree from the University of Missouri in 1981. Today, he is the Chairman and CEO of Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), one of the largest freight railroad corporations.

While attending Mizzou, Rose was a member of Lamda Chi Alpha fraternity, the Alumni Association Student Board and the Homecoming Steering Committee. He is also a member of the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America.

Rose lives in Texas with his wife, Lisa, and two children.

Jay Sarno, the successful business entrepreneur who founded the Caesar’s Palace hotel and Circus Circus in Las Vegas, was born in St. Joseph, Mo. in 1922.

Despite growing up poor during the Great Depression, Sarno and his six siblings were all able to attend college thanks to the success of their eldest brother, hotelier Herman Sarno. Jay was accepted to the University of Missouri and graduated in 1948 with a business degree.

During his time as a student, Jay met his longtime friend and business partner Stanley Mallin. After serving in WWII and then trying their hand at house-building, the pair went on to open their first motel in 1958 and two additional motels shortly after.

It wasn’t until he took a short trip to Las Vegas that Jay came up with a new business idea that would become his life’s work. After seeing the popularity of Vegas casinos and the market for larger more luxurious hotels, he decided to design a new type of hotel: one that would appeal to gamblers by featuring a casino on its grounds.

The revolutionary Caesar’s Palace hotel was opened in 1964 and has since become an iconic Las Vegas attraction.

Jay is also credited with making Las Vegas the more family-friendly destination that it is today. His Circus Circus hotel and circus venue brought an entirely new demographic to Las Vegas, which previously had only been a place to gamble and drink.

The legendary hotelier died in 1984 at the age of 62; he was elected to the Gaming Hall of Fame five years later.

Bob Trulaske was born April 29, 1918 in St. Louis. In 1936 he graduated from Wellston High School and was one of only two graduates to go on to attend college. Trulaske graduated from the University of Missouri's business school in 1940 and was an ROTC officer.

During World War II, Trulaske was a combat pilot and participated in the battle on D-Day. He returned home from the war in 1945 and promptly married the late Geraldine Mae Mellor. Just months later he founded True Manufacturing Company with his father and brother. Today, the firm is recognized as a leading manufacturer in the food service and soft drink industries worldwide.

Trulaske viewed his education from MU as the foundation of his success and in 1997, he chose to provide financial support to his alma mater. The endowment created by the Trulaske family funds scholarships that supports many students to this day.

On September 25, 2004, Trulaske passed away at the age of 86 but his Mizzou legacy lives on through the College of Business, which now bears his name.
Born March 29, 1918 in Kingfisher, Okla., Sam Walton graduated with an economics degree from the University of Missouri in 1940. While at Mizzou, Walton was a member of Beta Theta Pi and was inducted into the QEBH secret society.
After graduating from MU, he served as a captain in the Army Intelligence Corps from 1942 to 1945.  He married his wife, Helen, in 1943 and a few years later, Walton moved to Arkansas, where he set up the first Ben Franklin Five-and-Dime store.

He opened his first Wal-Mart store in 1962, and the company went public in 1970. Specializing in selling name brands at low prices, Wal-Mart stores began to pop up across the nation; In 1991 Wal-Mart became the largest U.S. retailer with over 1,700 stores. Walton maintained his position as President and CEO of Wal-Mart until 1988 and was Chairman until his death in 1992.

Tom Berenger was born on May 31, 1949 in Chicago. He came to the University of Missouri planning to pursue journalism, but changed his mind when he was cast in a university production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1971. 
Berenger began working in theater through regional repertory productions and then landed roles on soap operas. He has sustained a decades-long television acting career and in 2012 won an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Hatfields & McCoys on the History Channel.

His film career includes many roles spanning nearly half a century. Some of his better known films include The Big Chill, Platoon, Major League and Inception. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the role of Sergeant Barnes in Platoon in 1986.

Berenger remains a strong supporter of Mizzou to this day, and the Tom Berenger Acting Scholarship Fund was established in 1988 to award theater students for excellence.

Linda Bloodworth-Thomason was born on April 15, 1947 in Poplar Bluff, Mo. She graduated from Mizzou with a bachelor’s degree in English literature in 1969.
Bloodworth-Thomason is the creator/writer of Designing Women and Evening Shade, two of CBS Television's most successful comedy series. She also served as executive producer, along with her husband Harry Thomason, on three other series, Hearts Afire, Women of the House and Emeril.
To honor her late mother, Bloodworth-Thomason created The Claudia Foundation, which provides scholarships for girls in Arkansas and Missouri who would otherwise not be able to attend college. She has personally donated over $1 million to these scholarships, which has helped nearly 100 women attend colleges across the country.

A proud Tiger, she returned to Mizzou to serve as the Homecoming Grand Marshal in 1983.

Neal E. Boyd, known internationally as "The Voice of Missouri," grew up in Sikeston, Mo. He discovered operatic music in junior high school when his older brother did a school project involving classical music and brought home a CD of the Three Tenors.

A creative seed was planted and Boyd went on to study speech communications, political science and vocal music at Mizzou and Southeast Missouri State University, graduating from both in May 2001.

Boyd won America's Got Talent in 2008 and was awarded the $1 million prize and a headline show in Las Vegas. He signed to Decca Records and released his debut album, My American Dream, in 2009. The album debuted at No. 195 on the Billboard 200 and No. 3 on the Top Classical Albums Chart.

In 2010, Boyd performed for President Barack Obama when the president visited Missouri. Boyd has also performed for Presidents George Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Though he spent years in the oil industry, journalism and social care, James Lee Burke found that his true calling was writing mysteries. Born and raised in Texas, Burke earned a B.A. from Mizzou in 1959 and an M.A. in the following year.

Best-known for his Dave Robicheaux series, Burke has won Edgar Awards for Black Cherry Blues (1990) and Cimarron Rose (1998). The Robicheaux character has been portrayed on screen by renowned actors Alec Baldwin and Tommy Lee Jones.

Today, Burke resides in Montana with his wife, Pearl. They have four children, including their daughter Alafair Burke, who is a prominent crime writer in her own right. 

Kate Capshaw was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1953. She came to Mizzou in 1971 and was a member of Alpha Delta Pi while on campus. She earned an education degree in 1975 and taught special education classes at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia after graduation.  
  Her desire to be an actress led her from Columbia to New York, where she landed a role on the soap opera The Edge of the Night. Her first starring role came in 1984's Dreamscape and some of her other films include Just Cause, How to Make an American Quilt, The Locusts and Space Camp.

Perhaps her biggest role also came in 1984 when she beat out 120 other actresses for the female lead in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. It was during filming that she met her future husband, director Steven Spielberg.
She has been married to Spielberg since 1991, and their family includes seven children.

Chris Cooper was born in Kansas City, Mo. on July 9, 1951. After serving in the Coast Guard Reserve and studying ballet at Stephens College in Columbia, he graduated from Mizzou in 1976 with degrees in agriculture and theater. 

Cooper first achieved success on the stage when he appeared in the 1980 Broadway production of Of the Fields Lately followed by several off-Broadway shows. He rose to fame on the silver screen in the late 1990s and has appeared in many major Hollywood films.

His more notable films include The Patriot, October Sky, American Beauty, The Horse Whisperer, Seabiscuit and Adaptation, for which he won both the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor.

Candice Crawford was born and raised in Texas with her brother Chace Crawford of Gossip Girls fame. She studied journalism and business at Mizzou, was a member of Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women and appeared as a sports reporter and anchor at KOMU.

In 2008, she won the title of Miss Missouri and went on to compete in the Miss USA pageant, where she placed in the top ten. She graduated from MU the next year and went on to report on the Dallas Cowboys on CBS's The Blitz and later on CW         affiliate KDAF.

She also hosted the Cowboys' weekend sports show, Special Edition, where she met Cowboys quarterback and her future husband, Tony Romo. The couple married in 2011 and had their first child, Hawkins, in April 2012.

Singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow was born in 1962 in the small town of Kennett, Mo. Coming from a musical family, Crow pursued music composition, performance and education at Mizzou, earning her B.A.      in 1984.

While at Mizzou, Crow was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, Sigma Alpha Iota, the ODK secret society and the Homecoming Steering Committee. She also served as a Summer Welcome leader. After graduation, Crow moved to St. Louis to work as a music teacher for autistic children. She performed with a band and recorded advertising jingles on the side, but moved to Los Angeles in 1986 to try her luck in the music business.

Crow’s big break came when she was selected as a back-up singer for Michael Jackson’s international Bad tour. After the tour, she worked with a number of different artists as a session vocalist and songwriter, and eventually released her self-titled debut album in 1996.
The album went triple-platinum and Crow brought home Grammys for Best Rock Album and Best Female Rock Vocals. Since then, she has recorded other hit albums, including C’mon C'monDetours and, most recently, Feels Like Home.
Crow returned to Mizzou in 2002 to perform a concert and again in 2003 to serve as the Homecoming Grand Marshal.

Jeffery Deaver, author of such bestselling crime novels as The Bone Collector and the latest James Bond installment, Carte Blanche, was born May 6, 1950.

A native of Glen Ellyn, Ill., Deaver received his bachelor's of journalism from MU in 1972 and went on to attend Fordham University for his law degree.

Although Deaver briefly worked as a journalist, folksinger and attorney, he soon found his calling writing novels and published his first book, Manhattan is My Beat, in 1988. His novel The Bone Collector, was later made into a film, and two of his books became TV films as well.

In addition to haappearing on the bestseller lists of The New York Times, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Los Angeles Times amongst others, this Mizzou alum has won numerous writing awards and sold books in 150 countries.

Today, Deaver is still writing thrillers, but also spends his times speaking publicly about books, writing and literacy at various conferences around the world.


Although Hope Driskill seems most comfortable in the limelight, the model and reality TV actress calls Missouri her home and proudly wore black and gold as an undergraduate.

This Missouri graduate was born in Jefferson City, Mo. and is best known for her appearance on Survivor: Carmoan (Fans vs. Favorites) in 2012. She was also crowned Miss Missouri in 2011, going on to compete in Miss USA.

Driskill received her B.A. in political science from MU in 2012; additionally, she graduated summa cum laude and with general honors. Like all true pageant girls, Hope was heavily involved in extracurriculars during her time on campus. As a college junior, she worked as an intern in the Missouri Governor’s office at the state Capitol, and she was also a Chi Omega sister and a member of the Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honors Society and Phi Alpha Delta Pre-law Fraternity.

Survivor may seem like a far cry from the world of pageants, but in interviews, Driskill said that she grew up enjoying outdoor activities and felt that her social graces would help her in the competition. Unfortunately, she was the third contestant to be voted off in her season.

Television writer and producer William Froug was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1922 and grew up with his adoptive parents in Little Rock, Ark. Known for producing such classic series as the Twilight Zone, Gilligan’s Island and Bewitched, Froug graduated from the MU School of Journalism in 1943.

After Froug graduated and then served in the U.S. Navy, he pursued his passion for writing and published his first novella in 1946. He then turned to radio writing and was CBS Radio Hollywood’s vice president of programs by 1956. It wasn’t long, however, before Froug decided to focus his energies on the new frontier that was television writing.

In the years that followed, Froug gained recognition as a top-notch television writer and producer. He won his first Emmy and a Producer of the Year award in the late 1950s and went on to write for such shows as Charlie’s Angels and Bonanza.

Although he received numerous screenwriting and producing awards throughout his career, Froug eventually retired from writing and moved on to teach screenwriting at UCLA and author several books on the subject.

He died August 2013 at the age of 91.

We all know him as Champ Kind from Anchorman and Todd Packer from The Office, but funnyman David Koechner started out as a Missouri native and briefly studied political science at the University of Missouri. His college try was short-lived, however, and Koechner decided to pursue a career in improvisational comedy instead.

After moving to Chicago, he studied at ImprovOlympic and graduated from Second City in 1994. His time at Second City prepared him for a year-long stint on SNL followed by numerous minor roles in TV shows and films such as Wag the Dog, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and Man on the Moon.

Koechner got his big break in 2004, when he landed the supporting role of Champ Kind in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. The role opened up larger roles for him, and he went on to appear in comedic hits like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

The comedian has appeared in too many films and TV series to count, but this year, he completed production of an upcoming Anchorman sequel.

St. Louis native Jon Hamm got his start in acting in first grade when he played Winnie the Pooh in a school play. Audiences today, however, know him better as Don Draper from Mad Men.

Hamm began college at the University of Texas but moved home to attend Mizzou after his father's death. At MU, he answered an ad from a theater company looking for players in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. He was cast in the production and went on to secure several other roles.

After graduating in 1993 with a degree in English, Hamm returned to his high school to teach eighth-grade drama. One of his students was Ellie Kemper, the actress best known for her role on The Office.

For much of the mid-1990s, Hamm lived in Los Angeles as a struggling actor appearing in small parts in multiple television series. In 2000, he made his feature film debut in Clint Eastwood's Space Cowboys. It wasn't until 2007, however, that Hamm's career took off.

Hamm gained global recognition for playing advertising executive Don Draper in the AMC drama series Mad Men, which premiered in July 2007. His performance earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series in 2008.

Born January 3, 1930 in New York City, Robert Loggia is an Oscar-nominated actor and director. Originally intending to be a journalist, he graduated from MU's Missouri School of Journalism in 1951.

After graduation, Loggia served in the U.S. Army before leaving his plans for a journalistic career to study at the New York Actor’s Studio.

Loggia has played dozens of roles since 1956, but he's best known for his roles in the films An Officer and a Gentleman, Scarface, and Big. He has received both Academy Award and Emmy nominations for his various supporting roles.

In 2011, Loggia was given an honorary degree from Mizzou for his career and humanitarian efforts. He also served as Homecoming Grand Marshal in 1999.

William Trogdon, who writes under the name William Least Heat Moon, was born in Kansas City, Mo in 1939. He is an accomplished travel writer known for his bestselling trilogy of topographical U.S. travel writing.

Heat Moon earned bachelor’s, master's and PhD degrees in English as well as a bachelor's degree in photojournalism from Mizzou. He was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon during school and went on to serve as an English professor.

His book, Blue Highways, spent 32 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He also wrote Prairyerth, an epic evocation of the American tallgrass prairie country; and River-Horse, an account of his travels along America's interior waterways.

Today, Heat Moon resides in Rocheport, Mo., just a few miles west of Columbia.

Richard Burton Matheson came to the University of Missouri from New Jersey in hopes of becoming a journalist; the writing that became his legacy, however, was of a different variety.

After graduating in 1949 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, the screenwriter and novelist gained fame for combining fiction, horror and fantasy genres into thrilling stories. He not only authored several episodes of The Twilight Zone, but some of his books were also adapted into films, including The Incredible Shrinking Man, The Box and I Am Legend.

Matheson published his first short story, “Born of Man and Woman,” in a 1950 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. His stories appeared in various magazines over the next few years, and he released his first novel, Someone is Bleeding, in 1953. Matheson received a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, a Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement and was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2010.

In total, the author wrote 28 novels, 22 film screenplays, 53 TV episodes and almost 100 short stories before his death on June 23, 2013. Matheson was 87.

Many writers have graduated from Missouri, but few have had as many pen names as Marijane Meaker. The author and pioneer of “lesbian pulp fiction” has written upwards of 50 novels across four genres and under no fewer than seven different names.

Before starting her prolific career as a writer, Meaker spent her childhood in Auburn, N.Y. She went to Vermont Junior College in 1945 and then  transferred to Mizzou, where she completed her degree in 1949. As a student, she was a member of Alpha Delta Pi and sold her first story to Ladies Home Journal.

Under her first pseudonym, Vin Packer, Meaker wrote several psychological crime novels as well as the groundbreaking romance novel, Spring Fire. In the mid ’50s, she broke into the lesbian nonfiction genre and was published under the name Ann Aldrich; next, she wrote the bulk of her work, young adult fiction, as “M.E. Kerr.” Her readership became even younger when, in the 1990s, Meaker wrote children’s books including Shoebag, The Shuteyes          and Frankenlouse.

Meaker’s children’s books have won a host of awards and been on numerous “best books” lists. Some of her honors include a Golden Kite Award and School Library Journal’s Book of the Year Award.

Greg Miller, BJ '05, always knew he was going to write about video games. It's a journey that gained steam in the fourth grade, led to high school newspapers, and carried him to Mizzou. After graduation and a stint at a Mid-Missouri daily newspaper, Miller took his journalism degree to, the world's biggest video game web site.

But something funny happened: Miller became the face of the website and transitioned to being a video personality. In January 2015, he struck out on his own after eight years and co-founded

Now, Miller and his friends make daily video content about games, comics, and whatever they want to talk about for more than 300,000 YouTube subscribers, 250,000 Twitter followers, and thousands of podcast listeners across the globe.

Jonathan Murray’s journalism degree from Mizzou prepared him for the real world—quite literally. The Mississippi-born TV producer graduated from Mizzou in 1977 and went on to co-create the legendary reality TV series The Real World, which pioneered the reality television genre as a whole.

Murray is also responsible for The Real World spinoffs such as Road Rules, and his production company, Bunim/Murray Productions, helped produce other reality programs including The Simple Life, Project Runway and Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
The producer’s run with reality TV has been so successful that, in 2012, he was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.

Brad Pitt was born on December 18, 1963 in Shawnee, Okla. and grew up in Springfield, Mo. Following his graduation from Kickapoo High School, he enrolled at the University of Missouri in 1982 and majored in journalism with an emphasis in advertising.

While at Mizzou, Pitt was a member of Sigma Chi, acted in several fraternity shows and was on the Homecoming Steering Committee. As graduation loomed, Pitt wasn't ready to settle down and took off for Los Angeles to start his acting career, just two credits shy of earning his degree.
Pitt's onscreen career began with a two-episode role on the soap opera Another World, and he made his film debut in the low-budget thriller Cutting Class. He gained wide recognition for his role as J.D. in 1991’s Thelma and Louise and his career took off in the early '90s. Pitt was named People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1995, after starring in Legends of      the Fall.

He has since played leading roles in major films including Se7en, Snatch, Ocean’s Eleven (and sequels) Fight Club, Inglourious Basterds and many more. He has been nominated for four Academy Awards and five Golden Globes, winning once.

Born James Paul Czajkowski, James Rollins is a bestselling author of action-adventure, thriller and fantasy fiction. He has also written under the pen name James Clemens for many of his fantasy novels.

Rollins earned a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the Mizzou in 1985 but gave up his practice in Sacramento to pursue writing full-time.

Known for writing high-octane adventures on a scientific foundation, Rollins' work often explores how advancing technology can impact society. A prolific writer, the author has released at least one book a year since his first novel, Subterranean, was published in 1999. His books have been translated into several languages and sold in 32 countries outside of the United States.

Love it or hate it, MTV’s The Jersey Shore was a massive hit when it debuted in 2009. What you probably didn’t know was that it was created and produced by a Missouri graduate.

Mizzou alum Sally Ann Salsano was born and raised in Farmingdale, N.Y., a part of Long Island. She graduated from college in the mid-’90s and propelled herself into reality TV fame as a finalist on The Real World: Miami in 1996.

After graduating, Salsano interned for TV and radio personalities Howard Stern and Sally Jessy Raphael and later assisted with the production of shows such as The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Extreme Makeover: Wedding Edition. It wasn’t until 2006, however, that Salsano launched her production company, 495 Productions, which produced infamous hits like The Jersey Shore, Disaster Date and A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila.

Born on Oct. 18, 1927 in Wise, Va., George C. Scott grew up with aspirations of becoming a writer like his idol, F. Scott Fitzgerald. After serving in the U.S. Marines, he entered the University of Missouri as a journalism student. At Mizzou he became interested in drama instead and  graduated in 1953 with degrees in English and theater.

Scott spent seven years in regional repertory theater and taught a drama course at Stephens College before moving to New York City. He was best known for his stage work but also had roles in television, and film productions. His most successful film roles were in A Christmas Carol, Dr. Strangelove and Patton, for which he won an Academy Award for his performance as General George S. Patton.

Scott died on Sept. 22, 1999, leaving behind his wife, Trish, and daughter, Michelle.

Mort Walker was born in 1923 in El Dorado, Kan. He published his first comic when he was 11, and, at 18 he became chief editorial designer at Hall Bros. He helped usher in a light, playful style for the company's Hallmark Cards line. 
In 1943, Walker was drafted into the Army. He was discharged as a first lieutenant four years later and graduated from the University of Missouri in 1948. While at Mizzou, he was a member of Kappa Sigma and an editor of the school magazine.
Walker then went to New York City to pursue his cartooning career. In order to survive, he worked as editor of three magazines for Dell Publishing Company. His first 200 cartoons were rejected, but he persisted, and editors started to recognize his talent. His big break came in 1950, when King Features picked up Beetle Bailey for syndication, and in two years, he was the top-selling magazine cartoonist.

King Features now distributes the comic to roughly 1,800 newspapers and a statue of Beetle Bailey sits in front of Reynolds Alumni Center in recognition of Walker’s talents. Walker and his wife, Catherine, have 10 children between them.

Thomas Lanier "Tennessee" Williams III was an American writer who worked principally as a playwright, but also wrote short stories, novels, poetry, essays, screenplays and a volume of memoirs.

Williams attended the University of Missouri from 1929 to 1931. There, he took journalism courses and was briefly a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. After failing a military training course during his junior year, Williams was forced to leave the university by his father and to work at a shoe factory instead.

The height of Williams' career came between 1947 and 1959 when he had seven plays on Broadway including A Streetcar Named Desire. By 1959 he had earned two Pulitzer Prizes, three New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards, three Donaldson Awards and a Tony Award.

Williams died on February 25, 1983 in New York at age 71. He is buried in Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis.

Born on May 13, 1965 in Green Bay, Wis., John Anderson is an award-winning sports journalist. He got his start at the Missouri School of Journalism in the mid-1980's.

 Anderson attended Mizzou to compete as a high jumper on the track and field team. He worked on the sports desk of KOMU and graduated with a journalism degree in 1987. 
Anderson currently serves as co-anchor of ESPN SportsCenter. He joined ESPN in June 1999 as an ESPNEWS anchor after spending nine years as a sports anchor for local stations in Tulsa, Okla. and Phoenix. Since 2008, he has also co-hosted the game show Wipeout.
In 2002, Anderson returned to MU to serve as Homecoming Grand Marshal and was a speaker at the journalism school's commencement ceremony in 2007. Anderson is an active member of the Mizzou Alumni Association and can often be seen Mizzou games.

Linda Bell Blue was born on March 6, 1956 in Springfield, Mo. She studied journalism at Mizzou and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1978. While at MU, she was a member of Gamma Phi Beta and the Maneater staff. 
Blue is currently the executive producer of Entertainment Tonight. Before joining ET in 1995, she served as executive producer of Hard Copy and has also worked for news stations in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Detroit.

Gerald M. Boyd first fell in love with journalism after attending an Upward Bound program during his junior year of high school in St. Louis, where he was raised by his grandmother. He received a full scholarship to the University of Missouri in 1969, and after graduation he went on to work at the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

His competitive and hardworking spirit led to his rapid ascension in the ranks of the journalism world. At 29, he was chosen for a prestigious Nieman fellowship at Harvard. 

Boyd joined The New York Times’ Washington bureau in 1978 and was the first black journalist to serve as managing editor and metropolitan editor at The Times. He led coverage on three Pulitzer-winning series on the first World Trade Center bombing, child poverty and the complexities of race relations in the United States. Throughout his career, he was known as a constant and knowledgeable voice on leadership, ethics and diversity.

Boyd passed away in 1996 at the age of 56 and is survived by his wife and fellow journalist, Robin Stone, and their son, Zachary.

Jann Carl was born on May 19, 1960 in Carthage, Mo. She attended the Missouri School of Journalism and graduated in 1982. While at Mizzou, she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, ODK, the Mizzou Alumni Association Student Board and was a Tiger mascot.
From Columbia, Carl moved to Chicago to begin her broadcast news career at ABC affiliate WLS-TV. She later took an offer in Los Angeles to work as a news reporter and later accepted a position as co-host of KABC’s magazine show Eye on L.A. She won three Los Angeles Emmy Awards during her time in the city. In 1996, Carl joined Entertainment Tonight and worked as a correspondent until 2008.
Today, Carl is developing several projects as head of her own production company. She also serves as a national board member for the Muscular Dystrophy Association for which she has co-hosted an annual Labor Day Telethon for 18 years.
Carl returned to Mizzou in 2001 as Homecoming Grand Marshal and has been extremely active in promoting Mizzou. In 2009, she was honored with a Faculty Alumni Award for her ongoing volunteerism and service to MU. Carl and her husband, David, live in Los Angeles with their two children.

Broadcast is a tough business, but TV anchor and presenter Michael Kim seems to have it in the bag. This J-school grad (M.J. ’91) started out at NewsChannel 8 in Springfield, Va. and worked his way up to the title of lead presenter on ESPN America’s SportsCenter.

Born in Columbia, Kim graduated from Fulton High School in Fulton, Mo. in 1983; at the time, he played both football and baseball. The broadcaster then went to Westminster College for baseball (graduating in 1987) before attending MU for his M.A. in journalism.

Prior to joining ESPN in 1996, Kim earned an Emmy for his sports reporting on a series called “Local Heroes” and also received an award for Best Sports Feature from the Society of Professional Journalists. His other careers at ESPN include giving SportsCenter updates on Mike and Mike in the Morning and appearing on ESPNEWS.

Today, Kim’s SportsCenter program is viewed in 67 countries and on four continents.

Jim Lehrer was born in Wichita, Kan. in 1934. He moved east and eventually graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism in 1956. After graduation, Lehrer served for three years as an infantry officer in the Marine Corps, then worked for ten years in Dallas as a newspaperman.
In 1972, Lehrer went to Washington, D.C. with PBS and teamed up with Robert MacNeil in 1973 to cover the Senate Watergate hearings. In 1975, the duo began what would become The MacNeil/Lehrer Report and, in 1983, The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour: the first 60-minute evening news program on television. When MacNeil retired in 1995, the program was renamed The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
Lehrer has been honored with numerous awards for journalism, including a presidential National Humanities Medal in 1999. In the last four presidential elections, he moderated nine of the nationally televised candidate debates. 
Also an avid writer, Lehrer's fourteenth novel, Flying Crows, was published in 2004. He has also written two memoirs and three plays. He and his wife, Kate, have three daughters and six grandchildren.

Russ Mitchell was born on March 25, 1960 in St. Louis. He graduated from the University of Missouri in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

After graduating from Mizzou, Mitchell worked as a reporter at Kansas City television station KMBC. He got his first anchor job at WFAA Dallas in 1983 and anchored for several St. Louis stations before joining CBS News in 1992.
Mitchell co-anchored CBS News Saturday Morning beginning in 1997 and also served as one of the primary anchors of CBS Evening News Saturday Edition. In 2011, Mitchell moved to Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC citing a desire to get back to local television.

Mitchell was honored by the Mizzou Alumni Association with a Faculty Alumni Award in 2008 and was the Homecoming Grand Marshal in 2010.

Award-winning journalist Lisa Myers was born in Joplin, Mo. and graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism in 1973. While at Mizzou, she was a member of the Mortar Board, the Student Foundation, and the Savitar yearbook staff.
Myers currently serves as the senior investigative correspondent for NBC Nightly News and as a senior member of NBC's award-winning political team. Before joining NBC in 1981, Myers was White House correspondent for The Washington Star. While there, she covered the Senate and the 1980 campaigns of Reagan and Carter. Between 1977 and 1979, she was a Washington correspondent for the Chicago Sun-Times. Myers currently resides in Washington.

Media entrepreneur Donald Worthington Reynolds was born in 1906 in Oklahoma City. He began his long and outstanding media career selling copies of the Oklahoma News at the railroad depot.  When he set his sights on the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri, he began working at a meat packing plant to pay tuition.

After graduating in 1927, he worked for a photo engraving company. He used profits from this business venture to buy his first newspapers. The extra income also allowed him to launch of Donrey Media Group, which would later expand into more than 100 enterprises in the newspaper, radio, television and advertising industries.

Reynolds’ media career was interrupted by his service in World War II, where he was officer in charge of editions of the soldier newspaper Yank and earned several decorations including a Purple Heart. When he returned to civilian life in 1945, he continued to expand his business empire, building one of the nation’s largest privately held media companies.

Since his death in 1993, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation has awarded several generous gifts to his alma mater to construct the Reynolds Alumni Center and the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. The foundation continues his legacy of charitable giving in the areas of journalism, aging and quality of life, cardiovascular research and other general nonprofit programs.

Reynolds also returned to Mizzou in 1988 to serve as Homecoming Grand Marshal.

Chuck Roberts was born on Oct. 25, 1947 in Santa Fe, N.M. In 1971, he graduated from Mizzou with a degree in journalism. During his senior year, Roberts anchored morning newscasts at KOMU.
Roberts was the longest-serving anchor among CNN networks and anchored weekday CNN Headline News broadcasts from the network's debut on New Year's Day, 1982 until his retirement in 2010. While at Headline News, he led CNN's coverage for each national election.
In 2004, Roberts returned to Mizzou as Homecoming Grand Marshal.

Debbye Turner was born in Honolulu on Sept. 19, 1965 and is a veterinarian, talk show host and former beauty queen. She received her doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Missouri in 1991. 
In the summer of 1989, Turner won the Miss Missouri title and went on to be crowned Miss America in 1990. Since then, she has addressed more than 500,000 students at 500 schools, youth organizations and college campuses as a motivational speaker on topics such as self-esteem, perseverance and the importance of education.
Turner currently works as a contributor to The Early Show on CBS and previously served as co-host of KSDK’s Show Me St. Louis and host of a PBS series about pets and veterinary medicine called The Gentle Doctor.

In 1989, Turner served as Homecoming Grand Marshal. She currently resides in St. Louis.

Elizabeth Vargas was born on Sept. 6, 1962 in New Jersey. She earned a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in 1984, where she made her broadcast debut as a reporter and anchor for KOMU.
Vargas spent three years as a correspondent and anchor at NBC, mostly for Dateline NBC and Today. Prior to joining NBC News, Vargas spent four years as a reporter and anchor for WBBM-TV, the CBS affiliate in Chicago. From 1986 to 1989, she was the lead reporter for KTVK-TV, the ABC affiliate in Phoenix. Earlier, she worked as a reporter-anchor for KTVN-TV, the CBS affiliate in Reno, Nev.

Today, Vargas anchors ABC's television newsmagazine 20/20 and various ABC News specials. She was also previously the anchor for ABC's World News Tonight.

In 2002, Vargas married singer-songwriter Marc Cohn; they have two children.

Those well-versed in women’s rights know that the suffrage movement owes thanks to Emily Newell Blair. This writer, suffragist and feminist worked with Ida Tarbell and Anna Howard Shaw and was the first woman to gain a prominent position in Democratic party politics when she served as National Vice Chairman of the Democratic Party from 1922 to 1928. Interestingly enough, she was also a Mizzou alum.

Born in Joplin, Mo., Blair attended MU in the late 19th century but was unable to graduate for economic reasons. In 1914, she became publicity chair for the Missouri Equal Suffrage Association and the first editor of Missouri Woman: its monthly magazine. Her main interests as a suffragist were encouraging women to exercise their voting rights and getting women elected into political office.

Throughout her life, Blair organized several women’s rights committees including more than 2,000 Democratic Women’s Clubs and the League of Women Voters—the highlight of her career. Likewise, this remarkable woman worked on the Missouri Woman’s Committee of the Council of Defense after WWI and was a key player in FDR’s 1932 campaign. 

She died August 3, 1951 at the age of 74.

Many students come to Mizzou in hopes of one day making a difference in the world, but MU alum Robert K. Dixon has made this ideal a reality. In fact, Dixon’s contributions to environmental policy are so significant that in 2007, he and the other members of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.

Dixon attended Mizzou not only for his B.S. (’77) but also for an M.S. (’79) and a Ph.D. (’82). He spent time in a variety of political roles including a White House scientist and Environment and Energy Policy Advisor under Reagan and both Bushes. These titles earned him a Senior Executive Service Gold Award for service to the nation in 2004.

But Dixon’s work wasn’t limited to the United States; the accomplished scientist also advised world leaders on energy and environment policies as head of the Energy Technology Policy Division for the International Energy Agency in Paris.

Along with being a prolific writer, he makes his alma mater proud as the author of several patents and frequent lecturer at universities and think-tanks worldwide. Dixon has lived and worked in 13 foreign countries during his career but his heart remains close to home; he acts as an international advocate for the University of Missouri.

Additionally, Dixon participated in the University of Missouri Executive in Residence Program and is a recipient of a Faculty Alumni Award. He currently leads an investment banking team at the Global Environment Facility, The World Bank Group, Washington.

Carrie Francke wasn’t just an ambitious Mizzou alum, she was a role model for young women in her community.

In her short 34 years, Francke served as Press Secretary to Senator John Danforth and acted as Assistant Attorney General for the state of Missouri from 1982 to 1985.

Although she was originally from Albuquerque, N.M., she owed her political savvy, in part, to her political science degree from MU, which she earned in three years. Francke also received degrees in law and journalism and was a member of Alpha Phi while at MU. Likewise, she had the unique honor of being the first woman elected President of the MU-Columbia student body.

After realizing these accomplishments, Francke went on to serve on the University of Missouri Board of Curators. In 1984 and 1986, she ran unsuccessfully for the 9th district congressional seat.

On May 22, 1989, Francke died in a fatal car wreck. There is now a street named after her in Columbia and a Women’s Network academic scholarship for bright, female college students named in her honor.

It’s no secret that a degree from Mizzou can take a graduate far, but junior U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich’s degree took him not only into politics but also to a different part of the U.S.

 Heinrich was born on October 17, 1971 in Fallon, Nev.  After graduating from MU with a bachelor’s of mechanical engineering in 1995, he took additional graduate classes at the University of New Mexico. His education set him up to serve as Executive Director of the Cottonwood Gulch Foundation, a non-profit focused on expanding environmental education in New Mexico, for five years. Heinrich also founded his own consulting firm around the same time.

The democratic senator was an Albuquerque City Council member from 2003 to 2007 and was even City Council President in 2006. That same year, Heinrich was appointed the state’s Natural Resources Trustee.

He went on to become a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in early 2009; he was the first democrat to ever represent his district in this capacity and did so for two terms. He was elected to his current junior senatorial office in January of 2013. Among his many accomplishments, Heinrich co-sponsored the Stop the Congressional Pay Raise Act, received an NRA endorsement in his second campaign and was voted most attractive person on Capitol Hill by the Hill newspaper in July 2009.

Timothy Kaine grew up in the Kansas City, Mo. area and attended Rockhurst High School. After graduating from MU in 1979 with a degree in economics, he moved to Virginia and attended Harvard Law School.

Kaine practiced law in Richmond for 17 years and received national recognition for his advocacy of fair housing. He began his political career in Richmond when he was elected to city council and served two terms as mayor. Later, he was sworn in as Lieutenant Governor, then Governor of Virginia in 2006.

During his gubernatorial term, Kaine was considered as a potential running mate for Barack Obama in 2008. He did not win but took the position of Democratic Party Chairman at the request of President Obama the following year.  Kaine won the 2012 U.S. Senate Race and became one of three MU graduates to begin their 6-year Senate terms in 2013 the most of any state-supported school.

Kaine is a longtime advocate of his alma mater and was recognized with a Mizzou Alumni Association Faculty-Alumni Award in 2004.

Senator Claire McCaskill was born in Rolla, Mo. and spent her childhood in Houston, Mo., Lebanon, Mo., and Columbia, where she attended Hickman High School. She received her B.A. in political science in 1975 and eared her J.D. from the Missouri School of Law in 1978. While at Mizzou, McCaskill was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority.
McCaskill assumed office in 2007 and is currently the senior United States Senator from Missouri. She is the first woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate from Missouri in her own right. Before her election to the U.S. Senate, McCaskill was State Auditor of Missouri from 1999 to 2007, Jackson County Prosecutor from 1993 to 1998 and a member of the Missouri House of Representatives from 1983 to 1989.

In the Senate, McCaskill serves as a member of the Committee on Armed Services, Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Special Committee on Aging. She is also Chairperson of the Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight.

Governor Jeremiah "Jay" Nixon is a lifelong resident of De Soto, Mo., where he was born. He graduated from the College of Arts & Science at the University of Missouri in 1978 and earned his J.D. from the Missouri School of Law in 1981.
Nixon became the 55th Governor of Missouri on January 12, 2009 after serving as Missouri's Attorney General since 1993. From 1987 to 1993, Nixon represented a Jefferson County district in the Missouri Senate.

Governor Nixon currently resides in Jefferson City with his wife, Georganne, and two sons, Jeremiah and Will.

Cleo A. Noel Jr. proves that Mizzou alums aren’t just actors, business leaders, scientists and athletes—some of them are heroes.
Noel Jr. is remembered as the first U.S. Ambassador to the middle east to be killed in the line of duty, but before he served his country, he spent his formative years in central Missouri. The ambassador was born in Oklahoma City in 1918. He attended Moberly Junior College and then went on to become a Missouri Tiger. He graduated with a B.A. in history in 1939 and then an M.A. in history a year later.

In 1941, Noel Jr. joined the U.S. Navy and served as a gunnery officer on merchant vessels throughout World War II. By the time he was discharged in 1945, he had obtained the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

After the war, Noel Jr. studied for his Ph.D. in history at Harvard; in the process, he became a foreign service worker for the Department of State. He spent the next two decades aiding the U.S. consulates in places like Italy, France and Sudan. The middle east, however, was of particular interest to him.

Thus because of it’s proximity to the middle east, Noel Jr. gladly accepted  the position of U.S. Ambassador to Sudan In 1972. The following year, the ambassador was at the Saudi embassy in Khartoum when militants from the Black September faction of PLO stormed the building; he and nine other diplomats were taken hostage. The following day, March 2, 1973, Noel was shot and killed by his captors.

Noel Jr. was buried with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery along with fellow diplomat Curtis Moore.

Before he was a Missouri state senator or U.S Representative, Ike Skelton was “Isaac Newton Skelton IV,” born in Lexington, Mo., December 20, 1931.

Skelton earned an Associate of Arts degree from Wentworth Military Academy and College in 1951, and then received his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degrees from Ol’ Mizzou in 1953 and 1956 respectively. He was even a brother of Sigma Chi and Alpha Phi Omega during his time as a Tiger.

Along with serving as a democratic member of the Missouri Senate between 1971 and ’77 and a U.S. Representative for Missouri’s 4th congressional district from 1977 to 2011, Skelton was also Chair of the House Armed Services Committee.

He was recognized as an Honorary Marine, Distinguished Eagle Scout and received Distinguished Service Medals from both the U.S Army and Navy.

Fulton, Mo. native William Frazier Baker earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Mizzou in 1975. Among his many achievements since, he is credited with the development of the buttressed core system for the tallest man-made structure in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Baker also spearheaded the structural design for other famous skyscrapers, including the AT&T Corporate Center and the Trump International Tower and Hotel in Chicago.

Baker has earned several awards for his work, including the University of Missouri Engineering Alumni Organization’s 2010 Citation of Merit award for outstanding achievement in engineering. He currently serves as the structural and civil engineering partner for Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill LLP, and he continues to speak on a variety of engineering topics in the U.S. and abroad.

James Fergason was born Jan. 12, 1934 in Wakenda, Mo. and graduated from the University of Missouri in 1956.

After graduating, he formed and led the first industrial research group in liquid crystal research while at Westinghouse Research Laboratories in Pennsylvania. There he invented the first practical uses of liquid crystals.

He joined the Liquid Crystal Institute at Kent State University in Ohio in the 1960s. While Associate Director, Fergason discovered the twisted nematic field effect of liquid crystals which forms the scientific basis of modern LCDs. Fergason, who holds over 100 U.S. patents, currently works as an independent inventor.

Linda Godwin was born on July 2, 1952 in Cape Girardeau, Mo. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Southeast Missouri State University in 1974, and earned a master’s and a doctorate degree from the University of Missouri in 1976 and 1980, respectively. 
Godwin joined NASA in 1980 in the Payload Operations Division and was selected as an astronaut candidate in 1985. She is a veteran of four space flights and is a recipient of the NASA Outstanding Performance Rating, Sustained Superior Performance Award, and Outstanding Leadership Award.

Today, Godwin teaches in the MU Department of Physics and Astronomy and is married to Steven Nagel, another former astronaut who currently teaches aerospace propulsion to MU engineering students.
Born Nov. 2, 1885 on a farm in Nashville, Mo., Harlow Shapley became one of the most influential astronomers of his time.

Though he dropped out of school with only the equivalent of a fifth-grade education, Shapley returned to school after covering crime stories for a local newspaper and graduated as valedictorian from a six-year high school program in only two years. He then went to the University of Missouri in 1907 intending to study journalism but was informed that the opening of the School of Journalism had been postponed for a year. Instead of returning home, Shapley decided to study the first subject he could say in the course directory, Astronomy.

Post-graduation, Shapley received a fellowship to Princeton and began his career. He quickly made a name for himself as the first to realize that the Milky Way Galaxy was much larger than previously believed and that the Sun's place in the galaxy was in a nondescript location. This discovery became a key part of the Copernican principle, which says that the Earth is not the center of our solar system, galaxy or universe.

Shapley went on to make many more significant contributions to the astronomy field and earned many awards including the Henry Draper Medal (1926), Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1934), Rittenhouse Medal (1935) and Bruce Medal (1939). He passed away in Boulder, Colo. on Oct. 20, 1972 at age 86.

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