Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

    Top Ten: People you might not know are Alabama graduates


    From athletes to authors to directors, The University of Alabama has a long list of people that have walked through the quad on their pathway to becoming famous. Many of those students went on to claim fame in ways many people may not know them for.

    10. Gay Talese

    Gay Talese was a journalism major and member of Phi Sigma Kappa here in Tuscaloosa. As a junior he became sports editor for The Crimson White and started a column titled, “Sports Gay-zing.” He went on to work for the New York Times and Esquire magazine in a career that included articles on Joe DiMaggio and Frank Sinatra.

    9. Millard Fuller

    Millard Fuller came to UA after spending time at Auburn. Here he met his future wife and set off to become a self-made millionaire by age 29. Millard founded Habitat for Humanity to help provide housing for those in need and would go on to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    8. Kirani James

    UA has many students from all around the world and a few happen to be athletes. Grenada’s Kirani James came to campus and didn’t waste any time making a name for himself. In his first meet he ran the 400 meters in 45.79 seconds, breaking Cori Loving’s record of 46.46 that stood for 10 years. After multiple podium finishes and becoming the third fastest man to run the 400 meters indoor. At the 2012 Olympic Games, James won Grenada their first Olympic medal.

    7. Tom Cherones

    Cherones was a hometown kid. Not only did he attend the university, but taught film production for over ten years. He later won an Emmy and Golden Globe for directing “Seinfeld,” before being inducted in the Alabama Stage and Screen Hall of Fame.

    6. Madeline Mitchell Gwin

    After suffering a car accident where she was injured extensively and falling into a 12-day coma, Madeline Gwin bounced back, going from almost losing her life to winning beauty pageants. In her off time from studying elementary education, Gwin won Miss Alabama. She was named Mrs. America in 2015.

    5. Jon Olsen

    After leaving Tuscaloosa, Jon Olsen went on to have a successful career as competitive swimmer. During his Olympic run he was a part of two gold medal winning 4×100-meter freestyle relays. He would end with 27 international medals, 20 of those being gold.

    4. Winston Groom

    Graduating from the University as a member of Delta Tau Delta and Army ROTC, Groom went on to serve out country in the Vietnam War. Once he returned to the United States, he got work on a novel called “Forrest Gump.” Although the book didn’t do big numbers until Tom Hanks presented it on the big screen, without Groom we wouldn’t have all those memorable quotes.

    3. Michael Emerson

    Michael Emerson came to the University of Alabama seeking a Master of Fine Arts. Emerson would go on to be involved in film, television, theatre and a video game. He has been involved in successful TV shows, and currently works on “Person of Interest.”

    2. Robert Horry

    Sometimes the most important players on a team aren’t those in the spotlight. Robert Horry played college basketball for the University of Alabama, and would go on to become a seven-time NBA champion with three different organizations. Horry was never the superstar, but when needed he came through, earning him the nickname of “Big Shot Bob.” Many future hall of famers have championship rings due to late game shots by Horry.

    1. Jimmy Wales

    As a co-founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales is responsible for many of the assignments done by college students. Wells earned a master’s in finance from the University of Alabama before launching Wikipedia in 2001.

    Editor’s Note: The opening to the original version of this article stated that many UA alumni had gone on to be “government officials,” though none were listed. This was changed and replaced with professions mentioned in the body of the article.

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