Notable Alumni Criteria

University of Michigan alumni who are included on our Notable Alumni list must meet the following criteria. Other names may be added at the discretion of the Alumni Association.

This list is not a ranking, but rather a confirmation that U-M’s schools and colleges have produced the Leaders and Best that are representative of our diverse alumni base. 

General Standards

  • Significant accomplishment/contribution locally, nationally, or globally in the field of community service, social justice, advocacy, and/or civil/human rights
  • National recognition and/or global recognition
  • Long and distinguished career
  • May include active, former, and retired roles

Public Service, Community Service, Social Justice, Advocacy, and Civil Rights

  • Must have attained specified high rank in Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines (Coast Guard, National Guard, Reserves)
  • Army/Air Force: Brigadier General, Major General, Lieutenant General, General
  • Navy/Marines: Rear Admiral, Lower Half Rear Admiral, Vice Admiral, Admiral
  • President or Executive Director of a nationally recognized nonprofit organization
  • Member of U.S. Congress
  • Ranking Member of Cabinet, U.S. Presidential Staff, or other key Presidential Appointment
  • State or Federal Supreme Court Judge
  • Mayor of a large city (500,000 or higher population)
  • Elected state official, such as governor

Business & Technology

  • President/Chairperson/CEO of a nationally recognized company
  • Top-ranking corporate officer of a Fortune 500, NYSE, or Nasdaq company

Education, Research, Science, and Medicine

  • College/University President
  • Dean or higher level position at an accredited, nationally recognized 4-year college/university
  • Writer with a large following outside of academia
  • Nationally prominent and recognized expert in an academic field who is covered in the mainstream media
  • Leading role at a nationally known company or institution
  • Contributed to a major discovery or advancement

Actors, Arts, Entertainment, Media, and Design

  • Producer/Director of a nationally recognized film or TV show
  • Lead actor/actress on a nationally broadcast show or Broadway production
  • Radio or television personality in a major media market
  • Editor-in-Chief or publisher of a national publication
  • National Award Winner (Pulitzer, Academy, Grammy, Emmy, Tony, etc.)
  • Architects who designed buildings or structures of major significance to the world or the U-M community


  • Prominent player on a professional top-level sports team, Olympic team, World Cup team, or other national/international team
  • Individual sport athlete who has competed at the professional and/or Olympic level
  • Manager, head coach, or higher administration of a professional sports team
  • Head coach of a nationally recognized college sports program
  • Nationally recognized agent or nationally recognized official/higher level administrator in a professional sports league/federation/association
  • Former professional athletes remain on the list if they had an especially long and distinguished career
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