“The best way to predict your future is to create it.” 

-Abraham Lincoln 

To be studying in an American university, especially an Ivy League school is an amazing opportunity for many. It is indeed a heart-warming feeling to have the chance to walk the halls of our ancestors. To stand where they stand, to feel what they felt; if you listen closely, you may just as well be on the path they were – making history. Listen to them and you will feel yourself getting inspired. So, let’s look at some of the most prolific alumni who studied at American universities.

1. James Earl Jones 

University of Michigan 

Described as “one of America’s most distinguished and versatile” actors for his performances in film, theatre, and television, James Earl Jones has a career that spans over seven decades. Most famous for his role as Darth Vader in the original Star Wars film trilogy, James has accumulated many awards and accolades during his career. He was also inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1985. He was initially a pre-med major in the University of Michigan but later focused on the drama at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance. 

2. George R. R. Martin 

Northwestern University 

If you are not aware of Game of Thrones, you might as well be living under a rock! None other than the author of the epic fantasy novel, A song of Ice and fire which was later adapted into the Emmy award-winning HBO series- Game of Thrones, George Martin remains one of the most prolific fantasy writers of the 21st century. Famously called the “American Tolkien”, he is an inspiration to many upcoming writers. He earned his journalism degree from Northwestern University in 1970.

3. Yo-Yo Ma 

Julliard University 

He was awarded The Glenn Gould Prize in 1999, the National Medal of Arts in 2001, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, and the Polar Music Prize in 2012. He graduated from Julliard School and Harvard university and has performed as a soloist with orchestras all around the world. Yo-yo ma is an inspiration to music lovers all around the world. His ingenuity and expressiveness are beautiful in every sense. His awards and accolades which includes 18 Grammy awards stay witness to that. 

4. Neil Armstrong 

University of Southern California 

“That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind” 

Known as the first human being to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong remains an inspiration and a legend to people all over the world. In 1970, he completed his Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Southern California (USC) and proceeded to receive numerous honorary doctorates from several universities. Apart from his infamous achievements, he was also a naval aviator, test pilot and university professor. 

5. Michelle Obama 

Princeton University 

A role model for women all around the world, a feminist icon, an advocate for poverty awareness, education, nutrition, physical activity, and healthy eating and also a fashion icon, Michelle Obama is none other than an enigma of the 21st century. She majored in sociology and completed a 99-page senior thesis titled “Princeton Educated Blacks and the Black Community”. 

“If my future were determined just by my performance on a standardized test, I wouldn’t be here. I guarantee you that.” 

6. Barack Obama 

Columbia University 

You don’t need an introduction for this man. He is an icon in every sense. He is an American politician, lawyer and author who served as the 44th president of the United States of America. He was also the first African American president of the country. He graduated from Columbia University in 1983 and enrolled in Harvard law school. After graduating from law school, he became a civil rights attorney and an academic at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004.  

“We can’t expect to solve our problems if all we do is tear each other down. You can disagree with a certain policy without demonizing the person who espouses it. You can question somebody’s views and their judgment without questioning their motives or their patriotism.” 

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