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Distinguished Dropouts

An unwritten understanding makes an alumnus or alumna of any student who has spent at least a semester at Yale. Below, some of those who went on to distinction, but without the benefit of a Yale degree.

name degree year field trade
Louis Auchincloss undergrad 1939 arts author
Judah Benjamin undergrad 1828 government senator, Confederate cabinet officer
Melvin Bourne drama 1948 entertainment film director
Richard Cheney undergrad 1963 government vice president
J. Fenimore Cooper undergrad 1805 letters author
Ron Darling undergrad 1982 athletics baseball player
Bruce Davidson art 1957 arts photographer
David Duchovny graduate school 1987 entertainment actor
Henry Ford II undergrad 1941 business executive
Frank D. Gilroy drama 1953 letters playwright, film writer
Julie Harris drama 1947 entertainment actor
David Henry Hwang drama 1983 letters playwright
Elia Kazan drama 1933 entertainment film director
Stacy Keach drama 1966 entertainment actor
Robert Klein drama 1965 entertainment comedian, actor, writer
Paul Newman drama 1954 entertainment actor, director
Aldo Parisot music 1948 arts cellist, teacher
Winthrop Rockefeller undergrad 1935 government governor, Arkansas
Mark Rothko undergrad 1925 arts painter
Talia Shire drama 1969 arts actor
Oliver Stone undergrad 1968 entertainment film director
Samuel J. Tilden undergrad 1831 government presidential candidate, NY governor
Joan Van Ark drama 1964 entertainment actor

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