University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee alumni have helped shaped governments, businesses, education, the arts and entertainment industry, and sports.

Of the over 178,000 living UWM alumni, nearly three-quarters live in Wisconsin. Outside Wisconsin, the top five states that are home to UWM alumni are Illinois, California, Minnesota, Florida and Texas. Globally, alumni live in 106 different countries. Below are just a few of alumni whose names are recognized nationally and internationally.

  • Satya Nadella (’90 MS Computer Science) – CEO of Microsoft

 

Political Leaders
  • Golda Meir (’17 Education) – the late founder and fourth prime minister of Israel.
  • Luis Arreaga (’75 BBA Marketing, ’76 MS Management, ’81 PhD Economics) – deputy assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, and former U.S. ambassador to Iceland.
Corporate Executives
  • Satya Nadella (’90 MS Computer Science) – CEO of Microsoft.
  • James Ziemer (’75 BBA Accounting, ’86 Executive MBA, ’08 Hon PhD) – retired president and CEO of Harley-Davidson, Inc.
  • Keith Nosbusch (’78 MBA Management) – chairman and CEO of Rockwell Automation.
  • Gale Klappa (’72 BA Mass Communications) – chairman, president and CEO of Wisconsin Energy Corporation and We Energies.
  • Branko D. Terzic (’72 BS Engineering) – internationally recognized regulator, consultant and expert witness in fields of energy, public utilities and infrastructure. Now president of Branko Terzic & associates, he was the executive director of Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions from 2012 to 2014.
Educators
  • Larry Vanderhoef (’64 BS Biology and Chemistry Education, ’65 MS Plant Physiology) – former chancellor of the University of California, Davis.
  • John W. Schaum (BS ’29 Music Education) – pianist, composer and educator.
Artists and Entertainers
  • Michelle Grabner (’87 MA Art History, ’84 BFA Painting and Drawing) – conceptual artist who was one of three hand-selected curators of the prestigious 2014 Whitney Biennial and whose work is featured in exhibitions and permanent collections internationally.
  • Jim Rygiel (’77 BFA Painting & Drawing) – visual effects supervisor and three-time Academy Award winner for Lord of the Rings films.
  • Hanna Jubran (’80 BFA Sculpture and Ceramics, ’83 MFA Sculpture) – internationally recognized sculptor.
  • Naima Adedapo (’07, BFA, dance) – top 10 finisher on “American Idol” in 2011.
  • Melissa Ebbe (’05 MA Art, ’07 MFA Art & Design) – contestant on Face Off, a reality show on the Syfy channel.
  • Frank Caliendo (’96 BA Mass Communication and Broadcast Journalism) – comedian featured on MADtv and FOX NFL Sunday.
  • Sarah Price (’98 MFA Film) – A producer and director, Price co-produced “American Movie,” which won the 1999 Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at Sundance Film Festival.
  • Chris Smith (’99 MFA Film) – director of documentary and feature films, including “American Movie,” a documentary that was partially filmed on location at UWM.
Writers
  • Raquel Rutledge (’90 BA Mass Communication and Journalism) – Pulitzer Prize winner and reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  • Milton Coleman (’68 BFA Music) – retired senior editor of The Washington Post and ombudsman for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
  • Derrick Harriell (’12 PhD English, ’03 BA English) – A professor at the University of Mississippi, Harriell won the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters 2014 Poetry Award for his second poetry collection, “Ropes.”
  • Derrick Z. Jackson (’76, BA, journalism) –  award-winning columnist at The Boston Globe.
World Changers
  • Robert Curry (’74 BA Economics) – founder of Dryhootch, a nonprofit organization that helps veterans; honored by the White House Office of Public of Engagement as a Champion of Change.
  • Scott Yanoff (’93, BS computer science) – developer of one of the world’s first search engines, called the “Yanoff List.”
  • Paul Schmitz (’94 BA Political Science) – former White House advisor, author, scholar and now senior advisor to the Collective Impact Forum and social entrepreneur in residence at Georgetown University.
  • Kimberley Motley (BS Criminal Justice `99, MS Criminal Justice `03) – an International Attorney known for being the first non-Afghan to litigate in Afghanistan. She is licensed and has permission to practice in Wisconsin, U.S. Supreme Court, Dubai International Financial Courts, and the International Criminal Courts. She is considered one of the most effective defense attorneys operating in Afghanistan.