The first public university, first internet radio broadcast (thanks, WXYC), and the first to popularize the four corners offense. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is one of the top universities in the nation and a hub for bright, innovative students. Here are 10 UNC Alumni that have reached “celeb status”:
10. Mia Hamm
The UNC women’s soccer team is considered to have the greatest college sports dynasty in history with 22 national championships. Hamm is a retired professional soccer player, two-time gold medal Olympian, and Tar Heel. She held the world record for goals scored until 2013 and was the 2001, 2002 FIFA World Player of the Year. She’s been considered the “most important athlete of the last 15 years” by ESPN journalist Michael Wilbon.
9. Thomas Wolfe
North Carolina’s most famous writer was also a Tar Heel. He is recognized as one of the first writers of autobiographical fiction and a major influence to other greats like Jack Kerouac and Ray Bradbury.
8. Jason Kilar
Thank you Mr. Kilar for Hulu. He was the 2015 commencement speaker; as Tar Heels we all aspire to be as successful (and rich) as him one day. His sage advice: “Pursue your own path”
7. Andy Griffith
A classic American sitcom star, Tar Heel, and Tony Award nominee. It’s likely the Andy Griffith show’s iconic tune has been stuck in your head before, if not it will be soon.
6. Lewis Black
Most of us are familiar with this angry-faced comedian. It comes as no surprise that he voices Anger in the new animated hit Inside Out. He’s a celebrity Tar Heel that still has a residency in Chapel Hill and some lucky students catch him roaming around town.
5. James K. Polk
He was the eleventh president of the USA known for the Mexican-American War, Smithsonian, and only running for one term. Shoutout to Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide for bringing this underappreciated president some recognition by naming their fictional high school after him.
4. Kevin Jeong
Yes, Mr. Chow was once crazy and hungover in Chapel Hill.
3. Stuart Scott
Stuart Scott is truly an inspiration to us all. Sports journalist, family man, and game changer. We’re so proud to call Scott a Tar Heel. Booyah!
2. Roy Williams
The man, the Carolina legend. Non-Tar Heels respect him, but Tar Heels worship the everliving ground Roy walks on. Maybe he’s not a Hollywood A-list celebrity, but he is a campus celebrity and with that title comes a passionate fan base.
1. Michael Jordan
This list can’t end with anyone but MJ himself. He is the iconic UNC basketball player that every young player dreams of becoming. He spent three seasons playing for the Carolina Tar Heels and was part of the legendary ’82 team (winning Dean Smith’s first National Championship). However, he’s truly on this list because of his 1996 movie masterpiece — Space Jam. Forget that he was a 14 time NBA All-star or his billion dollar shoe brand, we’re ready for Space Jam 2 (with Jordan).
*Cue the iconic Space Jam song*