This list was compiled by the Tuskegee University Office of Marketing and Communications and is by no means complete. Please e-mail or send suggestions, changes, biographies, photos and quotes from these and other distinguished Tuskegee University alumni to the Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing, 221 Kresge Center, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL 36088 or e-mail us at


Amelia Platts Boynton Robinson

Amelia Platts Boynton Robinson (born August 18, 1911) was a leader of the American Civil Rights Movement in Selma, Alabama and a key figure in the 1965 march that became known as “Bloody Sunday. “ Robinson helped organize a march to Montgomery which took place on March 7, 1965. The event became known as “Bloody Sunday” when local and state police stopped the march and beat demonstrators as they were crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Robinson was beaten unconscious and a picture of her lying on Edmund Pettus Bridge went around the world.

Robinson was awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Medal in 1990. The Schiller Institute published Robinson's autobiography, Bridge Across the Jordan, in 1991. Bridge Across Jordan includes tributes from friends and colleagues, including Coretta Scott King and Andrew Young

Thomas Monroe Campbell 

Campbell is synonymous with Cooperative Extension as he was the first Cooperative Extension Agent in the United States and headed the first Cooperative Extension Program in the nation.

Ralph Ellison

Ralph Ellison was an African-American scholar and writer who is considered to be one of the most important writers in twentieth century African-American literature. Ellison is best known for Invisible Man, his monumental novel on the state of race relations in America, which won the National Book Award in 1953.

Ellison entered Tuskegee Institute in 1933 on a music scholarship in Tuskegee's music department which was headed by renowned conductor William L. Dawson.


Alice Coachman                                    

Alice Marie Coachman was the first African American woman to win an Olympic gold medal. Born in Albany, Georgia, Coachman competed in the high jump finals of the 1948 Summer Olympics. She set a record in the high jump with a mark of 5 feet, 6 1/8 inches, making her the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal.

In 1939, Tuskegee Institute’s athletic department offered the 16-year-old Coachman a scholarship. As a track and field athlete at Tuskegee, she competed in and won her first Amateur Athletic Union Championship in the high jump.


Dr. Vera King Farris

Farris is the first African-American president of a New Jersey public college--Richard Stockton College. She is also the first African American named to the Board of Directors of Flagstar Corporation, the parent company of Denny's Corporation.

Dr. Mary Starke Harper

Her professional contributions and achievements have won her listing in 10 Who's Who (s). Harper is a registered nurse, sociologist, clinical psychologist, secondary school educator, and program administrator.

Dr. Marvalene Hughes

Dr. Marvalene Hughes served as President of Dillard University from 2005 to 2011.  From 1994 to 2005, she was President of California State University.  She has also served as vice president/vice provost and professor at the University of Minnesota--Twin Cities campus, as well as system wide vice president for all University of Minnesota campuses.

Gen. Daniel "Chappie" James

Daniel "Chappie" James came to Tuskegee University from Pensacola, FL, to study physical education. He went on to become the nation's first black-four star general.

Lonnie Johnson

Founder and owner of Johnson Research and Development in Smyrna, Ga. Lonnie Johnson has been inventing thermodynamics systems for NASA and other organizations and has 12 U.S. Patents to his credit, but he has won his greatest fame for inventing the "SuperSoaker 200" water gun.

Tom Joyner

Today, the Tuskegee, AL, native can be heard nationwide on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, believed to be the nation's first nationally syndicated radio urban morning program. Joyner's show provides listeners with celebrity interviews, talk, comedy, sports, information, and music--live and recorded.

Dr. & Mrs. Marcus and Cynithia Landry

Married before 8 million people on NBC’s Today Show, Cynithia is a 1999 education graduate and Marcus is a 2001 graduate of Tuskegee's School of Veterinary Medicine.

Vanessa Roberts Parham

Parham is author of The African-American Child's Heritage Cookbook which is written expressly for children age five and above and their adult helpers.

Lionel Richie

Many times Grammy Award winner, songwriter, entertainer, choreographer Lionel Richie, ('74) launched his rise to stardom in his hometown Tuskegee, AL, and at his alma mater, Tuskegee University as a member of the "Commodores" and then "Lionel Richie."

Herman J. Russell

His achievement and humanitarian awards are numerous and include the Tuskegee University Alumni Merit Award, the Jewish National Fund "Tree of Life" Award, the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change Salute to Greatness Award, and the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Award.

Dr. Theodore "Ted" Cohn

Dr. Theodore (Ted) Cohn was named 2013-2014 president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)  at the association's annual convention celebrating it's 150 anniversary. Dr. Cohn has devoted more than thirty-five years of service to the people and animals of Colorado and the veterinary medical profession. Since graduating from Tuskegee University in 1975 with his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, Ted has distinguished himself as a veterinarian in Colorado and a leader, both locally and nationally.

Dr. Cohn was named Western Region Practitioner of the Year in 1997 by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), an organization with which he has been active for over thirty-five years. He served on the AAHA leadership council from 1996 to 2008 and as an AAHA media spokesperson.

Col. William R. Saunders

As the IG of WR-ALC, Col. Saunders is responsible for overseeing and providing responsive, independent assessments of wartime readiness, critical compliance areas, complaints and inquiries, and fraud, waste, and abuse programs.

Dr. Roscoe M. Moore

Moore's rank as Rear Admiral makes him the highest ranking veterinarian in all of the Uniformed Services, including the military service.

John H. Yancy

A native of Opelika, AL, Yancy was the first African American District Ranger in the southeastern United States, the first African American Forest Supervisor in Alabama, and the third African American Forest Supervisor in the United States.

Justice Robert Benham

An African-American pioneer, 1967 Tuskegee University political science graduate Robert Benham has accomplished many firsts. Most notably, he is the first African American to serve on the state's highest court.

Randolph Baxter

Baxter has been a U. S. Bankruptcy Court judge for the Northern District of Ohio for 10 years. His numerous awards and citations include the Governor's (Ohio) Judicial Leadership Citation and the Special Achievement Award, U. S. Department of Justice.