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The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

Top 8: Who Attended Drake

Swain is a junior marketing and writing double major and can be contacted at

Homecoming is a tradition of welcoming alumni and supporters of Drake back to campus to celebrate the university.  Though many may not know it, Drake is the home to many famous alumni.  Take a look at eight of Drake’s most notable alum.


Zach Johnson. Johnson is a golfer who turned pro in 1

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998, the same year he graduated from Drake. While he states that he was not the best on the team at Drake, he continually got better after graduation. He won the 2007 Masters tournament, one of the best achievements in golf.

2.  John August. He attended Drake for an undergraduate journalism degree, where he worked in the admissions office and gave tours around campus. He is now a well-known screenwriter with credits in “Charlie’s Angels,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Tarzan” and “Corpse Bride.”

3. Billy Cundiff. A football player and 2001 graduate from Drake, Cundiff is known for breaking five Pioneer Football League records along with being an All-American his senior year at Drake. He currently plays kicker for the Baltimore Ravens, where he tied a record for the most touchbacks in a season. He made the NFL Pro Bowl in 2011.

4.  Dr. Harley Wilhelm. He attended Drake on an athletic scholarship and took courses in math, physics and chemistry. He later had a fellowship at Drake after his 1923 graduation. He invented the process of large-scale production of uranium and thorium while at Ames Laboratory at Iowa State University. He did this for the well-known Manhattan Project.

5.  Michael Emerson. Emerson graduated from Drake in 1976, where he studied theatre and art. He is best known for playing the character Ben Linus on the TV show “Lost.”

6.  George Cohon. He graduated from Drake with a bachelor’s degree of science. Cohon founded McDonald’s in both Canada and Russia. Supposedly, having his business card will give you unlimited free entrees in any McDonald’s in Canada or Russia.

7.  Emma Verona Johnston. She was the oldest living person in America from May 2004 until she died at age 114 in Aug. 2004. She graduated from Drake in 1912, one of the few women who attended college in her time.

8.  Charles “Chet” Culver. Chet is the former governor of Iowa who served from 2007-2011.  He received his masters of teaching at Drake in 1994.  His first job outside of Drake was teaching government and history here in DSM.  It was after a few years in the school system that he began to run for offices around Iowa.

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    Shelley BainSep 29, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    I would also include Roxanne Conlin.

    Conlin entered Drake University in 1961, when she was only 16, and graduated from law school with honors five years later at the age of 21.

    Jimmy Carter appointed Conlin as United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa in 1977, making her one of the first women ever appointed as a U.S. Attorney.

    Conlin has served as the first female president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA). She also founded and was the first chair of the Iowa Women’s Political Caucus and served as president of NOW’s Legal Defense and Education Fund.

    All that and she fosters homeless cats and kittens.