Skip to main content

Department of Sociology Anthropology University of Illinois Springfield

What You Can Do With This Degree: Famous Sociology & Anthropology Majors

The list of influential individuals who began their educations with a foundation in Sociology and/or Anthropology is a long one. Here are some of the more recognizable names:

Sociology Majors

  • Rev. Martin Luther King
  • Roy Wilkins, former head of NAACP
  • Rev. Jesse Jackson
  • Rev. Ralph Abernathy
  • Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, U.S. Senator of NY
  • Shirley Chisholm, former Congresswoman from NY
  • Maxine Waters, Congresswoman from Los Angeles
  • Barbara Mikulski, US Senator from Maryland
  • Tim Holden, Congressman from Pennsylvania
  • Cardinal Theordore McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, DC
  • Saul Alinsky, father of community organizing
  • Saul Bellow, novelist
  • President Ronald Reagan
  • Emily Balch, 1946 Nobel Peace Prize winner (a social worker and social reformer)
  • Francis Perkins, social reformer and former Secretary of Labor
  • Richard Barajas, Chief Justice, Texas Supreme Court
  • Michelle Obama
  • Dan Aykroyd, actor/Blues Brother
  • Paul Shaffer, bandleader on David Letterman Show (and before that, Saturday Night Live)
  • James Blunt, singer
  • Kalpen Suresh Modi, White House Liaison for Arts and Humanites (also known as actor Kal Penn from the television show “House” and the “Harold and Kumar” movies)
  • Alonzo Mourning, former center of the Miami Heat
  • Ahmad Rashad, sportscaster
  • E.J.Dionne (Social science BA and PhD in Sociology) columnist and author
  • Guy Carawan (MA in Sociology) ¬†folk musician and musicologist
  • Bong Joon-ho, Korean director

Anthropology Majors

  • Rick Bayless, celebrity chef
  • Giada deLaurentis, celebrity chef
  • Michael Crichton, author
  • Tracy Chapman, singer
  • Glenn Close, actress
  • Zora Neale Hurston, author and anthropologist
  • Kurt Vonnegut, author
  • Prince Charles of England
  • Stephen Riggio, CEO of Barnes & Noble
  • Dr. Kathy Reichs, professor of forensic anthropology and author of the novels inspiring the “Bones” tv series
  • Dr. Ann Durham, mother of President Barack Obama (she originally majored in Math, but returned to the University of Hawaii school to earn a PhD in Anthropology)

Back to What You Can Do With This Degree