Notable Alumni

A growing number of UCI’s alumni have distinguished themselves as award-winning literary authors, gold medal Olympians, performing artists, and prominent members of the community in business, government, politics, education and many other fields. The distinction of UCI’s MFA program in Writing has been especially noteworthy, with three graduates having won Pulitzer Prizes. A sampling:


  • David Benioff '99 (MFA), co-creator and showrunner of television show Game of Thrones
  • Allison Liddi-Brown '96 (MFA), television producer whose work includes episodes of CSI, Friday Night Lights, and Grey's Anatomy 
  • Tammy Rae Carland '94 (MFA), photographer and musician active in the underground feminist movement
  • Jon Lovitz '79 (BA), actor and comedian on television show Saturday Night Live
  • Joseph McGinty Nichol '90 (BA), "McG," film and video director whose work includes directing the film Charlie's Angels (2000) and producing the television show The O.C.
  • Michael Ramirez '84 (BA), 1994 Pulitzer Prize winner for Editorial Cartooning


  • Aimee Bender (MFA), author of short story collections The Girl in the Flammable Skirt and An Invisible Sign of My Own
  • Michael Chabon '87 (MFA), 2001 Pulitzer Prize winner for Literature for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay
  • Richard Ford '70 (MFA), 1996 Pulitzer Prize winner for Fiction for the novel Independence Day
  • Yusef Komunyakaa '80, (MFA), 1993 Pulitzer Prize winner for Poetry for Neon Vernacular
  • Whitney Otto (BA), author of How to Make an American Quilt
  • T. Jefferson Parker '76 (MFA), author of numerous mystery novels set in Orange County, including Laguna Heat and Little Saigon
  • Alice Sebold '98 (MFA), author of The Lovely Bones
  • Héctor Tobar '95 (MFA), author of Deep Down Dark

Public Sector

  • Joe Adams (MBA) '02, CEO of Discovery Science Foundation
  • Ami Bera (MD) '91, U.S. Representative for California's 7th Congressional District
  • Ferial Govashiri '07 (BA), Personal Secretary to President Barack Obama
  • Janet Nguyen '00 (BA), California State Senator
  • Geoffrey Pyatt '85 (BA), U.S. Ambassador to Greece


  • Brady Anderson (BA), major league baseball player for the Baltimore Orioles
  • Scott Brooks '87 (BA), NBA basketball player and member of 1994 World Champion Houston Rockets; 2010 NBA Coach of the Year
  • Jennifer Chandler (BA), Olympic gold medal diver
  • Darren Fells '08 (BA), NFL player for the Detroit Lions
  • Greg Louganis '83 (BA), four-time Olympic gold medal diver


  • Roy Fielding '00 (Ph.D), founder of Apache HTTP Server Project; architect of the “HTTP/1.1” Internet Protocol used worldwide for internet access
  • Patrick Hanratty '77 (Ph.D), inventor of CAD/CAM
  • Paul Mockapetris '82 (Ph.D), Internet pioneer and inventor of DNS (Domain Name System)