In our first installment in a series that will feature notable attendees of the major universities in Utah, we look at Brigham Young University.
We have categorized these individuals into nine fields. Some of these names will be familiar, and some may be surprising. They are listed within their fields in no particular order.
This list is not all-inclusive. Additional lists featuring other BYU attendees will be added to this series.
Harvey Fletcher is a noted scientist best known for his pioneering work on the hearing aid. Ever heard of him? Fletcher, who graduated from Brigham Young University in 1907, eventually became the founding dean of the College of Physical and Engineering Sciences, according to byu.edu.
If you don't know Philo Farnsworth by name, you’ve certainly been affected by his most popular invention: the television. Farnsworth enrolled at Brigham Young University in 1923 and was eventually honored with the “Distinguished Alumnus Award for his contributions to the reputation and prestige of the university and as an inspiration to the students,” according to BYU Broadcasting.
Kim B. Clark
Stephen R. Covey
Kim B. Clark is the 15th president of Brigham Young University-Idaho and former dean of the Harvard Business School. After serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Germany, Clark attended BYU for one year, according to byu.edu. He then transferred to Harvard University, where he finished his bachelor’s degree and subsequently earned his master's and Ph.D., all in economics.
Sheri Dew is the president and CEO of Deseret Book Company. Dew is the author of several books, including "If Life Were Easy, It Wouldn’t be Hard," "God Wants a Powerful People" and biographies of LDS Church Presidents Gordon B. Hinckley and Ezra Taft Benson. This BYU alumna graduated in 1977, according to the BYU Alumni website.
Stephen Covey earned his B.S. from the University of Utah and his MBA from Harvard, but he received his doctorate from BYU, according to byu.edu. Covey is well-known for his international best-selling book, "7 Habits of Highly Effective People."
The former Dell Inc. executive is true blue through and through. Rollins earned his bachelor’s degree in the humanities, a master's degree in business administration and a master's degree in civil engineering from BYU, according to the Associated Press.
Jon Heder, better known as Napoleon Dynamite, earned a degree in computer animation from the Y in 2002, according to byutv.org. The Colorado-born and Oregon-raised actor has appeared in other films such as "The Benchwarmers" and "Blades of Glory."
Aaron Eckhart is well-known for his 2008 role as Harvey Dent/Two-Face in Christopher Nolan’s "The Dark Knight." Eckhart graduated from BYU with a bachelor's degree in film in 1994, according to byutv.org.
Larry Echo Hawk
Alexander George Sutherland
Rex E. Lee
Mitt Romney is a household name thanks to his political career — most notably his 2008 and 2012 presidential bids. Romney graduated from BYU in 1971, according to byu.edu. He went on to earn an MBA from Harvard Business School and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Reed Smoot graduated from Brigham Young Academy in 1879, according to congress.gov. Smoot was the first LDS apostle to become a U.S. senator.
Larry Echo Hawk graduated from BYU in 1970 with a bachelor of science degree, according to doi.gov. He then attended law school at the University of Utah. Echo Hawk went on to serve as the attorney general of Idaho and focused much of his professional career on serving the Native American community, according to his government profile. Prior to being called into the LDS Church’s First Quorum of the Seventy in 2012, Echo Hawk served as the assistant secretary for Indian Affairs, according to lds.org.
Sen. Orrin Hatch was elected to the United States Senate in 1976 and is the most senior Republican in the Senate, according to hatch.senate.gov. Hatch graduated with a degree in history from BYU in 1959.
Alexander George Sutherland “came to the United States as an infant when his parents immigrated to live with the Mormon community,” according to pbs.org. Sutherland was educated at the Brigham Young Academy from 1878-1881 and subsequently earned his law degree from the University of Michigan. He served as an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Mike Crapo serves as a United States senator from Idaho. He graduated from BYU in 1973 with a degree in political science and earned his juris doctorate from Harvard Law School in 1977, according to crapo.senate.gov. Crapo has been a senator since 1999.
In addition to being a BYU alumnus, Rex E. Lee served as the founding dean of the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU and as the 10th university president, according to The New York Times. Lee graduated from BYU in 1960 and then graduated from the University of Chicago Law School. He was a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White and served as the solicitor general under Ronald Reagan, according to The New York Times.
Ty Detmer is arguably one of the best quarterbacks to play for BYU. This Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback boasts a whopping 15,031 career passing yards, which, at the time, was the NCAA record. Detmer graduated with a bachelor's degree in recreation administration.
Jimmermania took over ESPN and the nation during the 2010-2011 NCAA basketball season. Jimmer and his 3-point shots took the Cougars all the way to the Sweet Sixteen, according to ESPN. The New York native earned his degree in American studies and was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks but immediately traded to the Sacramento Kings, according to the NBA. Jimmer currently suits up for the New Orleans Pelicans.
Many know that Steve Young led the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl title in 1994 while earning MVP honors in the same game. Young graduated with a degree in international relations in 1984, and he received a law degree in 1994, according to byucougars.com. Young is an analyst for ESPN, according to ESPN.
The Canadian-born professional golfer attended BYU, graduating with a degree in recreation management in 1993, according to the PGA tour’s website. This Cougar made his alma mater proud in 2003, winning golf’s most prestigious tournament, the Masters.
This former Davey O’Brien Trophy winner ended his football career with BYU as he was drafted No. 5 overall by the Chicago Bears. McMahon didn’t leave BYU with a degree, initially. He returned 37 years later, meeting his graduation requirements in 2014, and was subsequently inducted into the BYU Athletic Hall of Fame on Oct. 3, 2014, according to the Daily Herald.
This two-sport athlete excelled at both basketball and baseball. He was initially drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays and “played four seasons with (them) while playing basketball at BYU,” according to BYUCougar.com. Ainge is the executive director of basketball operations for the Boston Celtics, the same team he won two NBA titles with as a player.
Brett Keisel was drafted by the Steelers in 2002 after a standout career at BYU. He is known for his impressive facial hair, which he recently shaved to raise money for Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, according to espn.com.
The Utes head coach played linebacker for BYU, graduating in 1984 and subsequently earning his master’s in 1987, according to the University of Utah.
Often remembered for putting together one of golf’s most impressive rounds when he shot a remarkable 63 at the fiercely unforgiving Oakmont Country Club to win the U.S. Open in 1973, Johnny Miller played his college golf at BYU before turning pro, according to about.com.
This Farmington, Utah, native has been a professional golfer since 2007, according to his PGA tour profile. Summerhays graduated from BYU in 2008 with a degree in business finance and started his career on the golf course.
Currently the head coach for the Kansas City Chiefs, this BYU alumnus has been involved with football, either as a coach or player, since 1979, according to the Kansas City Chiefs website. Reid graduated from BYU in 1981.
Michael K. Young
Harvard Business professor and best-selling author Clayton M. Christensen got his start at BYU, graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in economics, according to his website. Christensen went on to earn an M. Phil from Oxford University in England as a Rhodes scholar. He also earned a master's of business administration degree at Harvard and was awarded his DBA from the Harvard School Business School in 1992. He holds five honorary doctorate degrees.
Recently named the president of Texas A&M University, Young has been in academic administration for the majority of his career. After graduating from BYU with degrees in political science and Japanese, he attended Harvard Law School, according to byhigh.org. Following a Supreme Court clerkship, he went on to lead universities and law schools across the county, including Columbia University Law School, University of Utah, University of Washington and now in his current position at Texas A&M, according to the University of Washington.
Orson Scott Card
This returned missionary and YouTube sensation earned her degree in recreational therapy from BYU, according to her Mormon.org profile. Stirling is known for her dubstep violin performances. She has racked up over 675 million views on YouTube and sold out tours worldwide, according to her website.
This 2005 music grad was launched into stardom when he was selected to “write lyrics and add additional musical passages to several Yanni compositions,” according to Billboard. “Pacheco released his debut album, the self-titled Nathan Pacheco, in fall of 2012,” according to his biography.
Dan Truman is a former Young Ambassador and graduate of music composition and studio production, according to his website. Truman’s music has been featured on a number of television programs, including "Duck Dynasty," Oprah Winfrey’s “The Gift” and Animal Planet programs.
In addition to his personal accomplishments, Truman was the founding member of the Grammy Award-winning country music group, Diamond Rio, which, in 1998, was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. Diamond Rio sold over eight million albums and amassed 19 "Top-10" hits over their career. He also founded the LDS group The Nashville Tribute Band.
This rocker and returned LDS missionary drives the beat for the chart-topping band The Neon Trees. Bradley received a bachelor of science degree in public health from BYU, according to an interview with The Mormon Women Project blog. Bradley and her husband have one son and reside in Utah when she’s not on tour, according to Mormon.org.
The author who gave us the team Edward and team Jacob debate is a BYU alumna. Love or hate the "Twilight" series, it became a phenomenon and developed into a blockbuster film adaptation. Meyer and her husband have three sons, and they reside in Arizona, according to her website.
Orson Scott Card is known for his best-selling novel "Ender’s Game." Card earned an undergraduate degree in theater and cinematic arts in 1975, according to byu.edu.
Brandon Mull is known for his young adult fantasy series "Fablehaven." Mull graduated from BYU in 2000, according to his website.
The front man for the popular rock and roll band Imagine Dragons is also a BYU Cougar. The band originated in Provo, where Reynolds was attending BYU, according to ksl.com. The band's success has continued to grow as it has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Grammy for “Best Rock Performance.”
Michael McLean has been producing music since 1983, according to his website. According to a 2003 Deseret News article, Mclean studied at both BYU and the University of Utah before leaving school to provide for his wife, who was in an automobile accident. He is most commonly associated with his Christmas program, "The Forgotten Carols."
Jane Clayson Johnson
Terrible circumstances made Elizabeth Smart a household name in 2002 when she was abducted from her Utah home. Following her return, Smart went on to graduate from BYU, according to CNN.com. Smart married Scotsman Matthew Gilmour in 2012.
The successful game show trivia contestant gained his knowledge studying under the Y in Provo. Jennings racked up 74 consecutive wins and $2.52 million in prize money on "Jeopardy!" in 2004. Jennings, according to his website, received degrees in both English and computer science from BYU.
Jane Clayson Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from BYU. Following her time at BYU, she worked for KSL in Salt Lake City, according to byu.edu. Over the course of her career, Johnson has won an Emmy, co-hosted CBS’ "The Early Show" and covered many high-profile assignments.
President Boyd K. Packer
Elder Dallin H. Oaks
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Elder David A. Bednar
Elder D. Todd Christofferson
Elder Neil L. Andersen
President Boyd K. Packer was born and raised in Brigham City, Utah, and received a doctorate from BYU, according to lds.org. President Packer also studied at Weber College and received bachelor's and master's degrees from Utah State University. He made his career in education serving as the supervisor of seminaries and institutes of religion and as a member of the administrative council of BYU. He is the president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Before receiving his degree from the University of Chicago law school, Elder Dallin H. Oaks earned his bachelor’s degree from BYU, according to lds.org. Elder Oaks practiced and taught law in Chicago. He served as a member of the Utah Supreme Court until he was called to serve in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1984.
Before earning a master’s and Ph. D. from Yale University, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from BYU, according to lds.org. Elder Holland served as the ninth president of BYU and Church commissioner of education. Elder Holland was called to serve in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1994.
In addition to earning his bachelor’s degree from the Y, Elder David A. Bednar earned his master’s as well, according to lds.org. Elder Bednar was a professor at Texas Tech University and the University of Arkansas. He served as the president of Brigham Young University-Idaho from 1997-2004.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson spent his time at BYU as an Edwin S. Hinckley Scholar while earning his bachelor’s degree. Elder Christofferson would continue his educational pursuits at Duke Law School in Durham, North Carolina, according to lds.org. Prior to being called as a general authority, Elder Christofferson “was associate general counsel of NationsBank (now Bank of America)," according to lds.org.
Before earning his MBA from Harvard Business School, Elder Neil L. Andersen earned his bachelor’s degree from BYU, according to LDS.org. Elder Andersen worked professionally in advertising, real estate development and health care. He was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in April 2009.