With a simple Google search, a list of the University’s Notable Alumni fills the page, revealing a panoply of famous and influential graduates. Some may be fairly familiar; others may spark further research and a deep dive into their life paths. Perhaps we aspire to such notability in our own future careers, aiming someday to land on this page among this select group. However, we may realize that the list is not as exhaustive or representative as it appears. In fact, a vast majority of University graduates have met with great success across multiple career sectors.
Ken Langone ’57 is likely one of the more well-known alumni – the cofounder of the Home Depot and namesake of the ELC (Elaine Langone Center) as well as the KLARC (Kenneth Langone Athletics and Recreation Center), along with a $30 million endowment donated by the Langone family to the University. In addition, he received an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business. According to Forbes, Langone’s net worth is estimated at $6.3 billion as of 2022.
Edward Hermann ’65 is an actor known for playing insurance consultant Richard Gilmore in Gilmore Girls and nicknamed the “History Channel Guy” for his narration work. He laid claim to an extensive acting career in theater, television, and film dating back to the 1970s, where he received a Tony and an Emmy for his work. His interest in theater grew while pursuing an English degree at the University. Hermann’s daughter and niece also happen to be University alums, continuing in his legacy. Before his unexpected death in 2014, Hermann visited campus and was interviewed about his time at the University. “Choose what draws you,” Hermann said during the 2010 interview, noting that his time as a University undergraduate “helped me realize what I love to do.”
“It’s important that you define your own journey,” he added, because “[n]o one else can.”
Nadia Sasso ’11 has recently gained interest in the public eye, describing herself in a 2019 interview with VoyageLA as a “creative producer, unconventional scholar, and optimistic human that believes everyone should tell and own their story.” Sasso received a dual B.A. in English and Sociology as a Posse Scholar; from there she continued her studies with an M.A. in Documentary Film from Lehigh and an M.A. in Africana Studies from Cornell. Sasso eventually earned a Ph.D. in Africana Studies with a minor in Film. Her experience in media production, marketing and advocacy has allowed her to forge her path establishing Nadia Marie & Co. In 2015, she produced and directed a documentary, “Am I Too African to be American? Too American to be African?” which enters into the complexities of being bicultural – specifically African American – with this identity based on women’s perspectives, including actress Issa Rae.
Christian Hubicki ’07/’11 is a robotics research scientist and Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Florida State University. He received a B.A. in Physics and Music and an M.A. in Mechanical Engineering from Bucknell. But more will recognize Hubicki as one of the most brilliant Survivor contestants from the David vs. Goliath season. Christian was well-liked by fans and fellow contestants with witty remarks, thought-provoking metaphors and a humble wholesome demeanor.
Manya Saaraswat ’19 won the 2019 Miss New Jersey pageant and second runner-up for the 2020 Miss World America. She received a B.A. in Biology, conducting her research as a Presidential Fellow. Manya received an M.S. at Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Science and now attends the University of Miami Medical School.
Gbenga Akinnagbe ’00 is an actor known in HBO’s The Wire as Chris Partlow. He earned a dual degree in Political Science and English.
Mike Muscala ’13 is a professional NBA player for Oklahoma City Thunder. He had a very decorated college career in the Patriot League, earning Player of the Year twice, First-Team three times, and Tournament MVP twice. In addition, the Bison men’s basketball team retired No. 31 in honor of being the school’s all-time leading scorer.
Bill Westenhofer ’90 is an Academy Award Winner for Best Visual Effects for his work in “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”, “The Golden Compass” and “Life of Pi”. In addition, he has been a part of numerous productions as the visual effects supervisor from Wonder Woman to Elf. Westenhofer earned a B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University.
Jessica Jackley ’00 is an entrepreneur best known as the co-founder of the microfinance organization Kiva. She has been involved in multiple entrepreneurial ventures, such as serving as Walt Disney “Imagineering’s” first Entrepreneur in Residence, co-founding ProFounder to later merge with GOOD Inc., and teaching Social Entrepreneurship at the Marshall School of Business at USC. Her book “Clay Water Brick: Finding Inspiration from Entrepreneurs Who Do the Most with the Least” elaborates Jackley’s learned wisdom from years of successful entrepreneurship. Jessica earned a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science, followed by an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and honorary Ph.D.’s from Centenary College and Quinnipiac University.
The list goes on, continuing to grow every passing year. Each of the above alumni mentions how their experience at the University helped shape them into the ambitious, creative and trailblazing individuals they became. In some way, they have exemplified how “Bucknell educates students for a lifetime of critical thinking and strong leadership characterized by continued intellectual exploration, creativity and imagination.”
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