Notable Alumni and Visitors

Booker T. Washington
Booker T. Washington

“If the people who gave the money to provide that building could appreciate the influence the sight of it had upon me, as well as upon thousands of other youths, they would feel all the more encouraged to make such gifts. It seemed to me to be the largest and most beautiful building I had ever seen. The sight of it seemed to give me new life. I felt that a new kind of existence had now begun — that life would now have a new meaning. I felt that I had reached the promised land, and I resolved to let no obstacle prevent me from putting forth the highest effort to fit myself to accomplish the most good in the world.”
-Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery

Hampton University’s most notable alumni is Booker T. Washington. After walking 500 miles to Hampton from Malden, WV at age 16, he graduated with the Class of 1875. Upon appointment by Samuel Chapman Armstrong, Washington became the first leader of Tuskegee University in the year 1881.

Other Notable Alumni:

  • Lawyer and Publisher – Robert Abbott
  • Actor – Benjamin Brown
  • Deputy Editor at Glamour Magazine – Angela Burt-Murray
  • Radio Celebrity – Spencer Christian
  • Educator and Civil Rights Leader – Septima Poinsette Clark
  • NBA Basketball Player – Jazwyn Cowan
  • Renowned Sociologist – St. Clair Drake
  • Politician – Al Eisenberg
  • Judge – Vanessa Gilmore (youngest appointed federal court judge)
  • NBA Basketball Player – Devin Green
  • Politician – Algie Thomas Howell Jr.
  • President and Founder of the Gloucester Institute and current member of the NASA Advisory Council – Kay Coles James
  • Mother of Martin Luther King Jr. – Alberta Williams King
  • Artist, Educator and founder of the International Review of African American Art – Samella Sanders Lewis
  • Author, Poet and Playwright – M. Carl Holman
  • NBA Basketball Player and Coach – Rick Mahorn
  • Lawyer, Professor and current Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy in the U.S. Department of Justice – Spencer Overton
  • First African American Mayor of Trenton, NJ – Douglas Palmer
  • President of Oracle Corp. – Charles E. Phillips
  • U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria – Robin R. Sanders
  • Newspaper Publisher – John H. Sengstacke
  • Emmy Award Winning Comedian – Wanda Sykes
  • NFL Football Player Cordell – Jerome Taylor
  • Bishop Ted Thomas, Sr.
  • 26th Governor of the Virgin Islands-  Charles Turnbull
  • Former member of the Illinois House of representatives – Wyvetter H. Younge

Prominent Visitors:

  • President Barack Obama
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Former President George H. Bush
  • Virginia Governor Tim Kaine
  • U.S. Senator Mark Warner
  • Former Virginia Governor and former U.S. Senator George Allen
  • Former NAACP President Kweise Mfume
  • U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore
  • Rev. Jesse Jackson
  • Authors Ernest Gaines, Toni Morrison, Bebe Moore Campbell and Alice Walker
  • Journalist and former Essence magazine editor Susan Taylor
  • Poet Maya Angelou
  • Actors Lou Gossett Jr., Danny Glover and actor/comedian Sinbad
  • Miss America Debbye Turner
  • Scholar Lani Guinier
  • Former Secretary of Energy Hazel O’Leary
  • Radio celebrity Spencer Christian
  • Vice President Kamala Harris