Prominent Alumni

From our first graduating class of four women in 1867 — Luthera H. Adams, Harriet H. Brown, Susan A.W. Salisbury and Mary F. Spencer — to today, Ripon alumni have achieved greatness in a variety of fields and industries, and have left an indelible mark on society. It would be impossible to list the many varied accomplishments of all of our 10,000-plus living alumni, so we’ll just list a few.

For more information on Ripon alumni, search “Ripon College” on LinkedIn or request to join our Professional Network.

  • Frank LaFayette Anders ’06, who received the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1906 for heroic actions on May 13, 1899, during the Philippine Insurrection
  • Elda Emma Anderson ’22, helped develop atomic bomb at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in New Mexico; led development of the field of health physics
  • Bruno Jacob ’22, founder of National Forensic League
  • Spencer Tracy ’24, legendary stage and film actor, winner of two Academy Awards
  • Ann Ewing ’41, science writer who coined the term “black hole” in space terminology
  • James Megellas ’42, war hero at Battle of the Bulge in World War II
  • Roderick Esquivel ’49, doctor, professor, politician, former Vice President of the Republic of Panama
  • Oliver E. Williamson ’54 who received a 2009 Nobel Prize in economic science
  • Robert McPherson ’57, opera singer
  • Richard Bartel ’58, economist, Federal Reserve and Bank for International Settlements in Basil, Switzerland
  • Jon Wilcox ’58, lawyer, Wisconsin Supreme Court justice 1992-2007
  • Richard Threlkeld ’59, award-winning international news correspondent, reporter, anchor and bureau chief with tenures at both CBS and ABC News.
  • Peter Bock ’62, expert on artificial intelligence; NASA scientist; engineering and computer science educator at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
  • Al Jarreau ’62, seven-time Grammy Award-winning jazz musician
  • Major General Rudolph Ostovich, III ’63, MG, US Army (Retired)
  • Cheryl Rofer ’63, Los Alamos national laboratory for 35 years; expert on nuclear topics; CEO of
  • Harrison Ford ’64, leading movie actor
  • Dick Bennett ’65, star-athlete turned star-coach at Eau Claire Memorial High School, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and the University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Frances Lee McCain ’66, movie actress
  • Tom Bellfort ’67, sound editor who has worked on more than 80 films, won an Academy Award and an Emmy Award
  • James Reed ’67, historian, consultant, educator, widely published authority on America’s role in world affairs, active in U.S. State Department’s Fulbright Program
  • Rick Kammen ’68, national criminal defense lawyer
  • Merline Thoma Lovelace ’68, colonel in the Air Force; author of more than 96 novels, with 12 million copies in print in 30 different countries
  • Thomas Reinecke ’68, Rhodes Scholar, nano scientist at Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.
  • William Chester Jordan ’69, professor of history at Princeton University
  • Charles E. “Rick” Estberg ’75, Department of Defense senior intelligence officer, senior intelligence adviser, NATO, headquartered in Brussels
  • Gail Dobish ’76, opera singer
  • Howard Draft ’77, founder and CEO of Chicago-based Draftfcb marketing firm, leading marketing expert
  • Mark Porubcansky ’77, foreign correspondent; foreign editor of Los Angeles Times newspaper
  • José Miguel Alemán ’78, lawyer, director of Multibank Inc. and politician in Panama, national undersecretary of government and justice (1991); secretary of state (1999 to 2003)
  • Susan Hedman ’78, Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 administrator
  • Dr. Jonathan Muraskas ’78, leading expert on premature neonatalogy
  • Justin Niebank ’78, winner of Grammy Awards and Country Music Awards as producer, engineer and mixer of music albums
  • Jeffrey W. Bantle ’80, NASA chief flight engineer
  • Al Klapmeier ’80, aircraft developer; former CEO of Cirrus Design; CEO and president of Kestrel Aircraft Co.
  • Susan Bundock ’82, executive director for American History TV at C-SPAN
  • Pamela Roe Durham ’82, director of the Office of Missile, Biological and Chemical Nonproliferation Bureau of International Security & Nonproliferation, U.S. Department of State
  • Kevin Sheridan ’82, entrepreneur; founder of three companies, including HR Solutions International; keynote speaker; New York Times best-selling author; workplace expert on employee engagement and virtual management
  • Thomas J. Horvath ’84, aerospace engineer at NASA Langley Research Center
  • Darell Hammond ’96, founder and CEO of KaBOOM!
  • Gail Gitcho ’01, communications director for political candidates; national press secretary for Republican National Committee; co-founder of McKay-Gitcho Strategies, a political consulting firm
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