Famous Alumni: Your House's Claim to Fame


Welcome to your House! Now that your homes have been determined, you have to set about the task of convincing others (and possibly yourself) that your House is in fact the best. What better way to persuade someone of your House's superiority then to spew a list of famous alumni molded by your House? Here are some of the coolest alumni that we could find from each house. Let the historic notables duke it out for you.

Adams House alumni include political figures such as President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Class of 1904, Senator Charles E. Schumer '68, and former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger '50. Other famous alumni include Andy Borowitz '80, author William S. Burroughs '36, and architect Buckminster Fuller '17.

Cabot House alumni have made a name for themselves in entertainment. Alumni include country singer Bonnie L. Raitt '72, Weezer lead singer and guitarist Rivers Cuomo '06, and CNN anchor Soledad T. O'Brien '88.

Currier House could potentially take credit for Microsoft—Harvard's favorite drop-out-turned-company-founder Bill H. Gates (formerly '77) and CEO Steven A. Ballmer '77 lived down the hall from each other as sophomores in this Quad House. Additionally, everyone's favorite world-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma '76 also once called Currier House home. Other notable alumni include former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff '75 and Caroline B. Kennedy '80.

Dunster House alumni have also made their way into politics. Alumni include former Vice President Al Gore '69, Senator Al Franken '73, and Massachusetts Governor Deval S. Patrick '78. Other famous alumni include actor Tommy Lee Jones '69, Gore's roommate, and author Norman K. Mailer '43.

Eliot House alumni include conductor Leonard Bernstein '39 and former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto '73 (who was originally a resident of Cabot). Eliot was also home to one of Harvard's more infamous alumni: Theodore J. Kaczynski '62, widely known as the Unabomber, called this River House home during his undergraduate years.

Fun fact: Eliot House masters haven't been shy when asked about famous residents. In 1951, Eliot House Master John Finley reportedly bragged to the New York Times, “where else would you find, in one room, the grandson of Matisse, the grandson of Joyce, and the great-great-great-great-grandson of God?”  Finley's chutzpah wasn't unfounded; he was, after all, referring to Eliot A-12 roomates Paul Matisse '54, grandson of Henri Matisse; Stephen Joyce '54, the grandson of James Joyce; and Sadruddin Aga Khan '54, a descendant of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

Kirkland House alumni include Facebook co-founder Mark E. Zuckerberg (formerly '06) and actor/screenwriter Wallace M. Shawn '65 (you probably know him from "The Princess Bride" and "Gossip Girl"). We're impressed—keep up the good work, Kirkland House alumni!

Lowell House alumni include novelists John H. Updike '54 and Michael Crichton '64. Lowell House can also count several famous actors as alumni—Natalie Portman '03 and Matt P. Damon (formerly '92) both resided in Lowell House as undergraduates. Several Lowell alumni—such as Nicholas D. Kristof '81 and Chris Wallace '69—have pursued careers in journalism. Other famous names include former Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter '61 and Japanese Crown Princess Masako '85.

Leverett House alumni include legal heavyweights Chief Justice John G. Roberts '76 and University Professor Laurence H. Tribe '76. Other famous alumni include Princeton Professor (and former Harvard Professor) Cornel R. West '74.

Mather House alumni include comedian Conan C. O'Brien '85—enough said.

Pforzheimer House alumni include former New York Times journalist Jennifer 8. Lee and VH1 commentator Mo A. Rocca '91.

Quincy House alumni include former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom J. Ridge '67. Other famous names include former CNN anchor Lou C. Dobbs '67 and the host of NPR's Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! Peter D. Sagal '87.

Winthrop House alumni seem to have found their way into politics. Alumni include President John F. Kennedy '40, Senator Edward M. Kennedy '54, and U.S. Representative Barney Frank '61. Winthrop House has also produced two high-profile economists—both Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke '75 and former Secretary of the Treasury Robert E. Rubin '60 lived in Winthrop as upperclassmen.

Editor's Note: Mar. 13, 2010

An earlier version of this post stated that former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto was a resident of Cabot House, not Eliot House. In fact, Bhutto lived in Cabot House first, then later moved to Eliot House.

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