Cornell University is one of the most highly desired institutions of higher education in America. Some of the most notable CEOs and company founders have graduated from this distinguished ivy league college. It’s not easy to get accepted at Cornell with just fifteen percent of applicants accepted for enrollment. With such high competition, the graduation rate is 93 percent because only the most serious students get in . We’ve compiled a list of the top 20 most notable alumni of Cornell, who took their educations seriously and went out into the business world to make a difference.
1. Dennis Woodside
Dennis Woodside graduated from Cornell with his bachelor’s degree in 1991. He went on to become the president of Google America as well as the CEO of Motorola Mobility. In addition to this, he served as the COO for Dropbox. While he was with Google, he led the international investment division throughout the middle East, Africa and Europe. After receiving is degree in industrial relations from Cornell, he continued on with his education, receiving a JD from the Stanford Law School.
2. Richard F. Tucker
Richard F. Tucker studied chemical engineering at Cornell and he earned his bachelor’s of science degree in 1950. He’s a notable alumni who went on to become the president and CEO of the Mobil Oil Corporation, as well as the vice chairman. He was also a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He spent a total of 41 years of his life in a very successful career in the oil industry, and was known for his honest and straight forward approach in all of his dealings. He served in directorships for multiple large companies and organizations, offering advisement in business matters.
3. Dan Hesse
Dan Hesse earned his Masters of Business Administration from Cornell in 1977. He went on to serve as the president and Chief Executive Officer of the Sprint Corporation from 2007 through 2014. . Prior to that he held top executive positions as the CEO adn president of Terabeam Corporation and served in the same capacity for Embarq Corporations. Prior to that he was a general manager who became president adn CEO at AT&T, as well as at the Spring Corp. PCS Group, along with serving on multiple boards and providing business advice.
4. Kenneth T. Derr
Kenneth T. Derr graduated from Cornell with his bachelor’s of science degree in mechanical engineering, then with his MBA in 1960. He earned two degrees from Cornell and then went out in the business world to become the CEO of Chevron. Mr. Derr also became a member of the boards or the potlatch Corp, Halliburton, Citigroup, Chevron as the chair, Calpine as the chair, and AT&T. He is also the chairman of the American petroleum Institute and director of the American Productivity and Quality Center.
5. Mark Bertolini
Mark Bertolini earned his MBA from Cornell in 1984. He went on to become the CEO and Chairman of Aetna, one of the largest health insurance companies in the world. Prior to that he was a paramedic and he also served in an executive leadership position at Cigna. He achieved a high level of success and he was named on a richest person in American list with a net worth of $180 million.
6. Robert D. Kennedy
Robert D. Kennedy graduated with his bachelor’s of science degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University. He went on to become the CEO, president and chairman of Union Carbide from 1986 through 1995. Mr. Kennedy went on to have a very successful career in business serving as a member of multiple advisory boards for large companies including RFE Investment Partners, The Blackstone Group, and others. He was a Director for Chase Industries, LLC, Blount International Inc. Hercules Incorporated and multiple other presidencies and board appointments.
7. Oscar G. Mayer, Jr.
Oscar G Mayer, Jr. was a member of the graduating class of 1934 at Cornell University. He is the founder of the Oscar Mayer company, which processes meat products. Mr. Mayer maintained a low profile who preferred to remain anonymous in as much as was possible, but he’s the man responsible for the multi million dollar business that is still going strong even after his death.
8. Alonzo G. Decker, Jr.
Mr. Decker is the son of the man who founded the Black & Decker Corporation. He was a notable alumni of Cornell University who earned his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in 1929. He went on to become the CEO, president and chairman of the board for Black & Decker. He was a well known engineer and power tool developer who was also a philanthropist. He retired in 2000. Mr. Decker is remembered for his honesty and high sense of morals which dictated the manner in which he led the company forward.
9. Byron Grote
Mr. Grote received his PhD degree in quantitative analysis from Cornell University in 1981. He is the Chief Financial Officer for BP. He is also a member of the board of Standard Chartered PLc, Anglo American Plc, Azko Novel NV and Tesco Plc. He’s had a successful career, working for some of the largest companies in the world in high ranking positions. He was Kennecott Copper Corporation’s planning Director, a Governor at johnson Graduate School of Management, the Vice President of Retail Marketing at Standard Oil among other posts.
10. Raj Gupta
Raj Gupta studied in the operations research program at Cornell University and graduated with his master’s of science degree in 1960. He became an executive in the automotive industry. He became the chairman of Delphi Automotive in 2015, and Rohm and Haas. He also served as the Vice president and regional director for the Electronic materials company’s Asia Pacific Region in the 1990s making him another of Cornell’s most distinguished and notable alumni.
11. Robert F. Gilkeson
Mr. Gilkeson studied at Cornell University in the electrical engineering program. He graduated with his bachelor’s of science degree in 1939. He went on to become a notable member of the National Academic of Engineering in 1978. He became the president of PECO Energy Company in 1965. In 1970, he was named the CEO and he also served as the chairman of the company from 1971 through 1982.
12. Steve Conine
Steve Conine graduated from Cornell University with his bachelor’s of science degree in 1005. After graduation, he went on to become an innovative developer in the technology industry. He so-founded an IT services firm called Spinners Incorporated, selling their services to multiple large companies including JP Morgan Chase, The New York Times, AOL Time Warner and others. He also founded Simplify Mobile software company and was the CTO as well as board member. Afterwards, Mr. Conine went on to co-found the Wayfair company with his partner Niraj Shah, which was his partner in most of the enterprises he started. Steve Conine went on from Cornell to become a billionaire and is one of the most successful businessmen in their list of alumni.
13. Timothy Mayopoulos
Timothy Mayopoulos graduated with his bachelor’s of arts degree from Cornell university in 1980. He continued with his education, earning a degree from the New York University School of Law. Mr. Mayopoulos has enjoyed a successful career in the finance industry and currently serves on the Board of Directors of LendingClub. He represented the Bank of America as their General Counsel an is the founder of the Blend company which is a company that lends to Silicon Valley tech start ups. He has also served as the CEO and president of Fannie Mae since 2012.
14. Jeff Jacobson
Jeff Jacobson attended Cornell University where he earned his master’s in Industrial Relations. He went on to receive a JD from Pace University School of Law. He became the CEO of the Xerox company in 2017 after joining them in 2012 as president. He stepped down from his post in may of 2018 after a civil lawsuit was filed in a failed venture with Fujifilm.
15. Lowell McAdam
Lowell McAdam earned his ME degree from Cornell University in 1976. He went on to become one of the people responsible for the building of wireless systems throughout the earth. He spent years in the industry, on the ground floor and providing technical advisement in creating and maintaining wireless systems. he went on to become the CEO of Verizon Wireless and also served as the chairman for a period of time. He stepped down from the position of CEO in August of 2018, but continues to serve as a chairman of the board, although officially retired.
16. Kenneth Iverson
Kenneth Iverson studied at Cornell University’s aeronautical engineering program and earned his bachelor’s of science degree in the discipline in 1946. He went on to earn a master’s from Purdue and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Purdue and Nebraska University. He was a research physicist Who first worked for the International Harvester company as a research physicist. He became the vice president of marketing for Indiana Steel Products company and also worked for Nucor Corporation, becoming president, and for the Cannon Muskegon Corporation. Mr. Iverson was inducted into the American Metal Market Steel Hall as well as the American National Business Hall of Fame.
17. Walter J. McCarthy, Jr.
Walter McCarthy, Jr. studied at Cornell University in the mechanical and engineering program of study, graduating in 1949 with his bachelor’s degree. He went on to become the CEO of Detroit Edison, leading the company involved in the development of nuclear energy. Mr. McCarthy was not only a brilliant leader in business, he was also an avid philanthropist. He was a highly respected CEO in the nuclear power industry.
18. Lewis Platt
Lewis platt received his bachelor’s of science degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University in 1964. He went on to become the CEO of the Hewlett-Packard company. He was also a chairman of the Boeing company from 2003 through 2005.
19. Jon R. Moeller
Jon R. Moeller attended Cornell University and earned is bachelor’s of science in 1986 before continuing on at Cornell for his MBA which was bestowed upon him in 1988. Mr. Moeller became the Chief Financial Officer for the Procter & Gamble corporation. He owns millions of dollars worth of stock in the company.
20. Irene Rosenfeld
Irene Rosenfeld earned a total of three degrees from Cornell University. She received her bachelor’s of science in 1975, he master’s in 1977 and a PhD in 1980. Ms. Rosenfeld in the CEO and chairwoman of Kraft Foods. She began her professional career in 1981 with the General Foods Corporation in their marketing department She spent fifteen years at the company until it was bought out by Philip Morris, then again by Kraft Foods. Kraft put her in charge of their Canadian division in 1996. She served on their committee for preparing their initial public stock offering, which was good experience for her. She left Kraft for a position at Frito Lay in 2004, where she became the chairwoman and CEO of the company, but it was just 2 years before Kraft brought her back as their CEO. During her tenure as the leader of Kraft, she split the company into a North American division and an international part. The company went through a period of big time growth and expansion and Rosenfeld became the CEO of Mondelez until 2017 when she retired. She is a notable alum of Cornell University who took the education that she had invested in and used the knowledge that she gained to build a brilliant career in the packaged food industry, first starting out in marketing and advancing into executive leadership.