With celebrities like the Rock flashing the U on orientation videos, it’s not hard to imagine all the talent that has come from the University of Miami. The list of accomplished alumni has stretched far and wide since the school’s beginning. But just how many of UM’s famous alumni do you know? The Miami Hurricane has compiled a list of some notable UM students, a few of whom may surprise you.
Donald Justice, Pulitzer Prize winner
Many UM grads enjoy the spotlight, dominating the screen, the stadium or the stage, but Donald Justice is notable for a different kind of glory. Described by the Poetry Foundation’s website as “one of the twentieth century’s most quietly influential poets,” this UM alumnus is known for his vast body of literary masterpieces in both poetry and prose. The Miami-born writer began at UM, studying music under Professor Carl Ruggles before switching his sights and earning a degree in English literature. Justice spent his career teaching at various universities and writing many critically acclaimed works, including his poetry collection, “Selected Poems,” for which he was awarded the 1980 Pulitzer Prize.
Bob Clark, “A Christmas Story” director
You know the holiday season’s beginning when TBS starts playing “A Christmas Story” on a loop and everyone walks around yelling “I can’t put my arms down!” What you may not have realized is that the iconic movie was directed and co-written by a Cane. Bob Clark, who began studying at Hillsdalle College in Michigan, eventually came to UM to study theater. After college, Clark worked mainly on low-budget horror flicks before moving to comedies, including the “Porky’s” and “A Christmas Story,” released in 1982 and 1983, respectively.
Patti Stanger, The Millionare Matchmaker
The Millionaire Matchmaker herself also started off as a Cane. Stanger told The Miami Hurricane in an interview that she matched her best friend with her husband while studying here. After graduating from UM with a bachelor of fine arts in film, she spent some time working in marketing and fashion before taking on the role as head of marketing at the dating service Great Expectations. In January 2000, she started up The Millionaire’s Club, which eventually led to her hit Bravo show “The Millionaire Matchmaker.”
Enrique Iglesias, singer
Though most of us know him for his infectious music and wild dance moves, Iglesias actually spent a year at UM. The singer, whose father did not approve of his musical career, studied business between 1993 and 1994 before the release of his first album, “Enrique Iglesias,” in 1995. Though little is known about his short stint at the school, it has been stated that living in Miami influenced the famous crooner’s music.
Jason Kennedy, E! News reporter
You’ve probably seen him interview starlets and chat up rappers, but this E! News reporter was once a UM kid, attending class, eating at the Rat, and even working for UMTV on the show “StormFront.” Kennedy, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native, began his career at a young age, appearing on-air by the time he was just 15. While at UM, Kennedy studied both theater and broadcast journalism. Professor Paul Driscoll, from the school of communications, described the TV personality as being “smart, personable, engaging and with a great attitude.” While at UM, Kennedy also received the Associated Press Award for Best News Feature in Florida. Kennedy graduated in 2004 and began working for E! a year later.