Notable Alumni


Jack Welch

Jack Welch is an American retired business executive, author, and chemical engineer. He was chairman and CEO of General Electric between 1981 and 2001. During his tenure at GE, the company's value rose 4,000%. Under Welch's leadership, GE increased market value from $12 billion in 1981 to $280 billion, making 600 acquisitions while shifting into emerging markets. Welch pioneered a policy of informality at the work place, allowing all employees to have a small business experience at a large corporation. When he retired from GE he received a severance payment of $417 million, the largest such payment in history. He served as Chairman of The Business Council in 1991 and 1992.

Welch graduated in 1957 from UMASS AMHERST with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering.

Russell Alan Hulse

An American physicist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, shared with his thesis advisor Joseph Hooton Taylor Jr., "for the discovery of a new type of pulsar, a discovery that has opened up new possibilities for the study of gravitation". He was a specialist in the pulsar studies and gravitational waves.
Hulse was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2003, and is cited in the American Men and Women of Science. In 2004, Hulse joined University of Texas at Dallas and became the Founding Director of UT Dallas Science and Engineering Education Center (SEEC). In July 2007 Hulse joined the Aurora Imaging Technology advisory board.

Russell graduated in 1975 from UMASS AMHERST with a PhD in Physics.

Zhou Qifeng

Zhou Qifeng is a Chinese chemist and academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He succeeded Xu Zhihong to the office of the President of Peking University on November 14, 2008.
Zhou Qifeng was an undergraduate student in Peking University from 1965 to 1970, and became a faculty member immediately after his graduation in 1970. He was studying in University of Massachusetts Amherst from 1980 to 1983 and returned to Peking University after receiving his PhD degree. He was selected to be an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1999.

Zhou graduated in 1983 from UMASS AMHERST with a PhD in Polymer Science and Engineering.

Paul Harding

Paul Harding (born 1967) is an American musician and author, best known for his debut novel Tinkers (2009), which won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction[1] and the 2010 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize among other honors. He has taught writing at Harvard University and the University of Iowa.
Harding was the drummer in the band Cold Water Flat throughout its existence from 1990 to 1996.

Harding graduated in 1990 from UMASS AMHERST with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.

Hau Lung-pin

Chinese politician. Elected to the Legislative Yuan in 1995, he resigned his seat to lead the Environmental Protection Administration in 2001. Hau stepped down in 2003 and served as Mayor of Taipei from 2006 to 2014. He is a member of the Kuomintang (KMT) and has served as vice chairman of the party in 2014 and since 2016.

Hau graduated in 1983 from UMASS AMHERST with a PhD in Food Science and Technology.

Catherine Coleman

Catherine Coleman is an American chemist, a former United States Air Force officer, and a former NASA astronaut. She is a veteran of two Space Shuttle missions, and departed the International Space Station on May 23, 2011, as a crew member of Expedition 27 after logging 159 days in space.
During her work she participated as a surface analysis consultant on the NASA Long Duration Exposure Facility experiment. In completing her first space flight, Coleman orbited the Earth 256 times, traveled over 6 million miles, and logged a total of 15 days, 21 hours, 52 minutes and 21 seconds in space.

Coleman graduated in 1991 from UMASS AMHERST with a PhD in Polymer Science and Engineering.

Du Zhanyuan

China’s deputy minister of education, the director of China’s State Language Work Committee.

Du graduated in 1993 from UMASS AMHERST with a PhD in Plant Biology.

Kyung-wha Kang

Kang Kyung-wha (born 7 April 1955) is the Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Korea, the first woman appointed to the position. Prior to her current appointment, Kang was Director-General of International Organization at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of South Korea.
She was appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator in the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in March 2013. Previous to this position, she served as the United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, appointed by Kofi Annan in September 2006.

Kang graduated from UMASS AMHERST in 1981 with a Master of Arts degree in Communications and then in 1984 with a PhD in International/Intercultural Communication.

Thomas Menino

Thomas Michael Menino (December 27, 1942 – October 30, 2014) was an American politician who served as the 53rd Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts from 1993 to 2014. He was the city's longest-serving mayor. Before becoming mayor, the Boston native was a member and President of Boston City Council.
Menino was President of the United States Conference of Mayors (2002–2003) and co-chair and co-founder with Michael Bloomberg of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. In January 2014, he was appointed Professor of the Practice of Political Science at Boston University. He also served as Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Initiative on Cities, an urban leadership research center based at Boston University. Menino died of cancer on October 30, 2014, at the age of 71.

Menino graduated in 1988 from UMASS AMHERST with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Community Planning.

Julius Erving

Julius Erving, commonly known by the nickname Dr. J, is an American retired basketball player who helped popularize a modern style of play that emphasizes leaping and playing above the rim. Erving helped legitimize the American Basketball Association (ABA) and was the best-known player in that league when it merged with the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Erving won three championships, four Most Valuable Player Awards. He is the sixth-highest scorer in ABA/NBA history and was the only player voted Most Valuable Player in both the ABA and the NBA.
In 1994, Erving was named by Sports Illustrated as one of the 40 most important athletes of all time. In 2004, he was inducted into the Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame. Many consider him one of the most talented players in the history of the NBA; he is widely acknowledged as one of the game's best dunkers.

Menino graduated in 1988 from UMASS AMHERST with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Community Planning.