15 Famous Alumni From Penn State University

Penn State has a pretty great alumni association, but have you ever stopped to think about who is actually a part of the over 700,000 living alumni? Keep reading to learn about 15 famous alumni from Penn State!

1. Ty Burrell

The Modern Family star earned his MFA in Theater at Penn State. While going to school here he lived in his van for a while…


2. Guion Blurford

He graduated in 1964 with a degree in aerospace engineering. He was the first African American man to travel to space on board the Challenger in 1983.

3. Ali Krieger

Krieger played for the Nittany Lions Women’s Soccer team from 2003-2006 and studied Advertising and Public Relations. She went on to play for the United States Women’s National Team and became a World Cup champion in 2015.


4. John Cappelletti

This famous Nittany Lion running back went on to play in the big leagues for the Los Angeles Rams and the San Diego Chargers. While he was in State College he won the Heisman Trophy in 1973. Joe Paterno once said that Cappelletti was “the best football player [he] ever coached.”


5. Herman Fisher

The co-founder to the Fisher Price Toy Company graduated from Penn State with a degree in Commerce and Finance in 1921. The company went on to become one of the world’s largest toy manufacturers.

6. John Aniston

Father of Friends star Jennifer Aniston, John graduated from Penn State with a degree in Theater Arts. John has stared in a few soap opera’s of his own, but is most acclaimed for his role in Days of Our Lives.


7.  Steve McCurry

McCurry is a critically acclaimed photographer for National Geographic. He graduated from Penn State with a degree in Theater Arts, but chose to pursue photography.  He still has some pieces on display in the art museum on campus.


8. Bruce Banner (a.k.a. The Hulk)

Okay so this one may fall under the category of Fiction, but it’s still pretty cool to note that The Hulk studied at our university.

9. Lara Spencer

Spencer graduated from Penn State degree from the College of Communications in Broadcast Journalism. While at school she was on the swimming/diving teams. Today, she co-hosts on Good Morning America.


10. Cael Sanderson

Sanderson was an Olympic Gold Medalist in Freestyle Wrestling in 2004. He is currently the head wrestling coach here in Happy Valley and has brought our boys home with 5 national titles.

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11. Jonathan Frakes

Frakes is an alumnus from Penn State with a degree in Theater Arts. He was very involved with the theater club, No Refund Theater when he was on campus. Since his time in Happy Valley he acted in Star Trek: The Next Generation, has narrated for specials on the History Channel and was even a voice actor for Disney shows.


12. Michael Murphy

This alumnus graduated from Penn State with a degree in Political Science and Psychology. In 2007, Lieutenant Michael Murphy was the first member of the US Navy to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam war.

13. Franco Harris

Another Nittany Lion football player, Harris led the team in scoring in 1970. After his career in Happy Valley, he went on to play in the NFL for the Pittsburg Steelers and Seattle Seahawks. He was a 4 time Super Bowl champion. Today, he is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


14. Adam McKay

McKay attended Penn State for only a few years, but we still consider him a part of the Penn State Community. He is most famous for directing Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004), Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006), and Step Brothers (2008).

15. Keegan Michael Kay

Key earned his Masters Degree in Fine Arts here at Penn State University. He is most famous for his comedy show with Jordan Peele, Key & Peele, but has appeared in many other TV shows and movies like Parks and Recreation and Pitch Perfect 2.


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