Notable Alums of Illinois Public Universities

Illinois’ public universities are known for providing a quality, affordable education for students and inspiring the next generation of leaders in business, science and technology, medicine, broadcasting, civic affairs,  education and much more.

Here’s a snapshot of some of the most notable alums of Illinois’ public universities.

Illinois State University – Normal, IL
  • Jim Durkin, Illinois House Republican Leader
  • Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times columnist/film critic and WLS-AM 890 radio personality
  • Dan Roan, WGN-TV sports anchor
  • John Malkovich, Actor, producer, director and fashion designer

  • J. Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the U.S. House of  Representatives 1999-2007 
  • Ned Colletti, General Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers 2005-present
  • Terry Boers, Chicago sports radio icon and co-host of Boers and Bernstein on WSCR 670AM The Score
Eastern Illinois University – Charleston, IL
  • Jim Edgar, Former Illinois Governor
  • Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys quarterback
  • Capt. Charles Hall, pilot, Tuskegee Airmen
  • Burl Ives, Actor and folk singer
  • Jerry Van Dyke, Actor 
  • Al Bowman, President of Illinois State University
  • Jimmy Liautaud, Founder of Jimmy John's restaurants
  • Thomas C. Carper, current Chairman of the Board for Amtrak
  • C.T. Vivian, prominent civil rights leader and aide to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Lee Calhoun, U.S. Olympic Gold Medal Winner in 110m hurdles (Melbourne 1956, Rome 1960)
  • Bill Wheelhouse, General Manager at WUIS-WIPA Public Radio, Springfield, IL
Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, IL
  • Curt Jones, Founder of Dippin’ Dots
  • Jim Belushi, Actor and Comedian
  • Roland Burris, First African-American elected to statewide office in Illinois; State Comptroller 1979-1991, Illinois Attorney General 1991-1995, U.S. Senator from Illinois 2008-2010
  • Fernando Aguirre, Former Chiquita CEO, America’s leading producer/distributor of bananas
  • Robert Seguso and Ken Flach, U.S. Olympic gold medalists in tennis, men’s doubles (Seoul 1988)
  • William Enyart (IL-12) and John Shimkus (IL-19), Current U.S. Congressmen
Governors State University – University Park, IL
  • Carl Hoecker, Inspector General of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Jerry “Iceman” Butler, American soul singer/songwriter, 1991 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee; current Cook County Commissioner, 3rd District
  • Debbie Halvorson, first female Majority Leader in Illinois Senate and former U.S. Congresswoman
Chicago State University – Chicago, IL
  • Dennis DeYoung, John Panozzo, Chuck Panozzo and John Curulewski, founding members of the rock band Styx.
  • Bob Janecyk, former NHL goalie for the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings
  • Zelda Martin Whittler, first African-American female Undersheriff of Cook County
  • Robert Jordan, journalist and WGN-TV news anchor
  • Luis V. Gutierrez, first Latino elected to Congress from the Midwest
  • Candy Dawson Boyd, writer, educator, and civil rights activist
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Lynn Morley Martin, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and U.S. Congresswoman
  • Lou Boudreau, Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and longtime Chicago Cubs radio broadcaster
  • Irna Phillips, creator of the soap opera
  • Sam Skinner, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and White House Chief of Staff

  • Dana Perino, White House Press Secretary under President George W. Bush
  • Cheri Bustos, U.S. Congresswoman (IL-17); former Quad Cities journalist
  • James R. Thompson, longest-serving Governor in Illinois history (1977-1991)
  • Carol Moseley-Braun, first African-American female elected to the U.S. Senate; former U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand
  • Curtis Granderson, 3-time MLB All-Star, outfielder for the New York Yankees