Every once in a while you come across lists like this one, dubbed as a “did you know?” For my list, I compiled a group of famous people that have engineering degrees. I know there are many others, but these people either surprised me or are people that I feel somewhat of a kinship toward. Read the descriptions and you’ll see why. And feel free to add to the list. I didn’t feel comfortable prioritizing the list, so I simply placed them in alphabetical order.
1. Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos is the founder and CEO of Amazon.com. There’s no particular reason that I’m surprised he’s an engineer, but mostly because I associated people who end up at the top of the business world being “business people,” whatever that means. Bezos received two Bachelor of Science degrees from Princeton University, one in Electrical Engineering and one in Computer Science, graduating summa cum laude. He also worked on Wall Street for a time, which is not surprising.
2. Mike Bloomberg
Mike Bloomberg is former Mayor of New York City, and founder and CEO of Bloomberg L.P., a well-known global financial data and media company. Bloomberg holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering form Johns Hopkins University. Without getting too political, Bloomberg followed one of the most respected Mayors of my time, Rudy Giuliani, and was able to maintain a similar course for the city.
3. Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States, graduated in 1947 from the Naval Academy with a general Bachelor’s of Science degree. Such a degree was customary at the time for Naval Academy graduates. Carter is currently – and unfortunately – in the news, as he recently revealed he is suffering from cancer.
4. Joe Girardi
Joe Girardi is a personal favorite of mine, even though I root for the team on the other side of New York City. Girardi, currently the manager of the most famous team in sports, the New York Yankees, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University.
5. Tom Landry
Tom Landry coached the team that I rooted against harder than any other (and still do). That comes with the territory when you’re a fan of the New York Giants. But I respect him and what he was able to achieve nonetheless. Landry received his Bachelors degree in industrial engineering from the University of Texas (where he also played football) and then earned a Masters degree in industrial engineering from the University of Houston. Note that he served in the military in between.
6. Dolph Lundgren
Dolph Lundgren received a degree in Chemistry from Washington State University, then had to serve his mandatory one year in the Swedish Marine Corps at the Amphibious Ranger School. Later, he enrolled at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and graduated with a degree in chemical engineering. As a sucker for (just about) all of the Rocky movies, I’ve clearly seen the Ivan Drago character more times than I will admit.
7. Marissa Mayer
Marissa Mayer, the current president and CEO of Yahoo, is on the list for the same reason as Jeff Bezos. I assumed she was a business person, and not a technology person. She’s held that CEO position since July 2012. Mayer graduated with honors from Stanford with a Bachelor and Masters of Science degrees in computer science. For both degrees, her specialization was in artificial intelligence. She also was pretty active in the arts while in college.
8. A.C. Nielsen
A.C. Nielsen is most known for the Nielson ratings system, which is the common way to gauge the popularity of television programs. On the education front, Nielson attended the University of Wisconsin, graduating as the valedictorian and earning a degree in electrical engineering.
9. Tom Scholz
Tom Scholz is a personal favorite due to the music he produces. He’s the leader of the band Boston, who I recently saw in concert. Prior to his musical career, Scholz received both Bachelors and Masters degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also worked for Polaroid Corp. as a senior product design engineer.
10. Donald Sutherland
Donald Sutherland also seems to play the characters that you’re not supposed to like. But he’s an engineer – in fact he doubled majored. At Victoria College, University of Toronto, Sutherland graduated with degrees in both engineering and drama.
11. Anyone else?
Did I miss your favorite surprise engineer? Let us know in the comments.