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Top 15 Famous Alumni from Temple University

Top 15 Famous Alumni from Temple University

Oct 12, 2023

Table of contents

  • Television & film
  • Music and other media
  • Politics
  • Notable firsts
  • Who will you meet at Temple?

When you’re thinking of what university to attend, it’s always useful to look at a couple of aspects. Two important factors to remember if you’re considering Temple University are the price of houses for rent in Temple, PA, as well as the past students who have paved the way. 

Temple University, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has been the alma mater of many successful individuals across various industries. From politics to entertainment, Temple University has produced several notable alumni, as well as some notable names who attended but did not finish their studies at Temple but have made a significant impact on the world. 

These former students have gone on to achieve great things in their respective fields, and their accomplishments serve as a testament to the quality of education and resources provided by Temple University.

When Russell Conwell was asked to tutor a young man in 1884, he couldn't have known how much his teaching would impact the world. Temple University has grown from that single student into a renowned university that educates about 37,000 students each year!

The University is known for its broad range of degrees and programs. It has a selective acceptance rate that requires students to have higher grade point averages and scores on standardized testing. Temple is also known for its research activity as well as the over 150+ undergraduate majors.

Plenty of famous people have called Temple home during their college years. While they all vary in their professions, these famous alumni are proud to call themselves Temple Owls. Learn more about these 14 famous Temple University alumni.

Television & film

Plenty of fellow Temple University owls have enjoyed a long career in the world of television and film, either behind or in front of the camera.

Adam McKay

A notable alumnus in the arts sector is Adam McKay, a screenwriter, director, actor, and comedian. McKay is one half of the dynamic duo that includes Will Ferrell as co-writers of the films Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers, and The Other Guys. McKay was born in 1968 in Philadelphia and attended Temple and studied English.

McKay was a writer on Saturday Night Live and worked as the head writer until 2001. He has directed, produced, and written screenplays for many famous shows and movies. Although McKay didn’t finish his undergraduate degree, he is still regarded as one of the most successful people to have attended Temple University.

Irvin Kershner

Irvin Kershner directed many films over the years, but the biggest and the one that he is most famous for is undoubtedly “The Empire Strikes Back.” Kershner was a surprise choice from producer George Lucas, who he knew from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Kershner asked Lucas, “Of all the younger guys around, all the hot-shots, why me?" Lucas replied: "Well, because you know everything a Hollywood director is supposed to know, but you're not Hollywood." Of course, the Star Wars sequel went on to become a huge hit. 

Born in Philadelphia in 1952, Kershner focused on studying music in his early years, and he attended Temple University’s Tyler School of Fine Arts before teaching photography and studying cinema at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. Kershner passed away in his home in 2010 after battling lung cancer for three years.

Bob Saget

Known as the doting dad on the hit sitcom “Full House,” Bob Saget was also a stand-up comedian during his career. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1956 and attended the Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts at Temple University. Saget graduated in 1978 and became a huge part of the television industry. He hosted “America's Funniest Home Videos” for eight years as well.

Since then, Saget has worked on many other shows, including “How I Met Your Mother,” “Dirty Work,” “Raising Dad,” and “Fuller House.” Saget had started getting back into stand-up comedy when he died in 2022 after an unexpected fall.

Kevin Hart

Known as a comedian and actor, Kevin Hart was born in Philadelphia in 1979. He was a Temple owl, if only for a few years, before pursuing a career in show business. Hart starred in many films, including “Jumanji,” “Ride Along,” “The Secret Life of Pets,” “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie,” and “Hobbs & Shaw.” 

He recently created the Laugh Out Loud Network, which is a streaming comedy brand, along with Hartbeat Productions, launched in 2009. Hart also started a venture capital firm, Hartbeat Ventures, to invest in companies that may not have as much access to funds.

Kunal Nayyar

Often recognized as Raj in “The Big Bang Theory,” Kunal Nayyar is an Indian actor who was born in London in 1981. After receiving a bachelor's degree in business, he earned his master's degree in fine arts from Temple University in 2006. Just one year after graduating from Temple, Nayyar landed this breakthrough role in “The Big Bang Theory,” which ran from 2006 to 2019. He has also been part of movies as a voice actor in the animated movies “Ice Age: Continental Drift” and “Trolls.” Nayyar continues to pursue acting in both TV and films.

Samira Wiley

Known for her depiction of a fellow handmaid in “The Handmaid's Tale,” Samira Wiley enjoys a successful acting career. Born in 1987 in Washington D.C., Wiley attended Temple University for only a semester before transferring to Juilliard and graduating in 2010. Wiley then started her acting career and landed a spot on “Orange Is the New Black” and later received a nomination for her performance as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in the show “The Handmaid's Tale” in 2017.

Tom Sizemore

As a resident "tough guy" in most of the movies he has performed in, Tom Sizemore is best known for his depictions of characters in WWII films. Born in 1961 in Detroit, Michigan, Sizemore loved the heroic characters in movies growing up. He received his master's degree in theater from Temple University in 1986 and went on to play many roles during his career.

Sizemore's big break was in “Saving Private Ryan” in 1998, directed by Steven Spielberg. He also worked with famous director Martin Scorsese and played leading roles in films like “Pearl Harbor” and “Black Hawk Down.”

Music and other media

Many Temple alumni have shared their creativity and talent through the music or broadcast industries as well.

Daryl Hall

Born Daryl Hohl in 1946, he is known professionally as Daryl Hall and is the co-founder and lead vocalist of the music duo Hall & Oates. Hall started recording music in high school and went on to study music at Temple University in 1964.

He met John Oates in 1967 at Temple, although neither of them graduated there, and the two hit it off to become the best-selling duo of all time. Hall is part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and currently stars in “Live from Daryl's House,” featuring other musical artists.

John Oates

As the other half of the best-selling duo Hall & Oates, John Oates is a famous solo artist with plenty of accomplishments to his name. Oates was born in 1948 in New York City. He attended Temple in 1966 and was a wrestler his freshman year before giving up the sport. 

He met another student, Daryl Hall, and the two Temple University alumni were part of college bands and signed on with Atlantic Records in 1972.

Since then, the duo has recorded 21 albums and sold over 80 million units. Hall & Oates had ten #1 records and toured the world for many decades. Oates turned to a solo career in 1999 and has created seven solo albums. He continues to play music with Hall as well.


Originally known as Thomas Pentax, Diplo was born in 1978 in Mississippi. He is well-known as an American DJ, songwriter, and record producer. Diplo first gained a following as a DJ while attending Temple University and received a degree in film studies in 2003. He released his first mixtape, “Never Scared,” in 2003, and it quickly found its audience.

Diplo moved on to become a producer for big artists like Bruno Mars, Shakira, Snoop Dog, and No Doubt. He continues to produce music and is active in many famous music groups, including Major Lazer, Mad Decent, and Silk City.

Jill Scott

As a Philadelphia native, Jill Scott was born in 1972 and grew up in the city of Brotherly Love. Scott attended Temple University and majored in education. She became a Grammy Award-winning artist and is a singer, songwriter, poet, actress, and model. 

Scott has worked with countless big names in the entertainment industry and is known for her soprano voice with a touch of jazz, hip-hop, and spoken word.

She also established the Blues Babe Foundation in 2003, which helps young minorities pay for college. Scott accepted an honorary doctorate from Temple University in 2020.

Tamron Hall

Born in Texas in 1970, Tamron Hall attended Temple in 1988 to study broadcast media. Hall worked for news stations in Texas in the 90s and then moved to Chicago to anchor Fox Morning News from 1997 to 2007. She became the first black female co-anchor of the “Today Show” on NBC and received the Edward R. Murrow Award in 2015.

Hall was elected to the Temple University Board of Trustees in 2015 and still serves on the board today. The “Tamron Hall Show” debuted in 2019, where Hall focuses on creating a space for honest conversations about racial, educational, and socioeconomic issues.


Consider changing the world in government like these famous alumni at Temple University.

Hage Geingob

Born in Namibia in 1941, Hage Geingob left for Temple University in 1964 on a scholarship, where he studied undergraduate classes. Geingob attended other universities and started a career as a politician in 1972. He worked for the United Nations and returned to his home country in 1989.

Geingob became the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia in 1990 and served in that position for a total of 12 years. After some political shuffling, Geingob was elected as the third President of Namibia in 2014 and will hold the position until 2025.

Nikoloz Gilauri

Born in Tbilisi in the country of Georgia in 1975, Nikoloz Gilauri is another notable alumnus who chose to work in government. He earned a master's degree in international business management and moved on to work in the energy and telecommunications sector thereafter.

Gilauri joined the Georgian government in 2003 and helped the country receive better services during an energy crisis. After a political crisis in Georgia, Gilauri took office as the Prime Minister of Georgia in 2009 and remained in that position until 2012, when he retired from government service.

Notable firsts

While some people become famous due to their industry choice, others change the world with their tenacity and courage as a pioneer to accomplish something.

Frederick C. Branch

Born in North Carolina in 1922, Frederick C. Branch attended Temple when he received a draft notice from the Army in 1943. Branch was chosen to become a Marine in the newly integrated Marine Corps. He applied to Officer Candidate School but was denied due to his race. While serving as a Marine in the Pacific, Branch's commanding officers recommended him for Officer Candidate School.

He then went to Purdue University for officer's training in the Navy's V-12 program and was the only African-American candidate out of a class of 250. Branch made the dean's list and became the first African-American officer in the Marine Corps in 1945. 

After serving during the war, Branch returned to Temple University and received a bachelor's degree in physics in 1947. He taught science in a Philadelphia high school after retiring from the Marine Corps from 1955 to 1988. Branch died in 2005.

Who will you meet at Temple?

There are plenty of notable Temple University alumni and past students who have done great things! From actors to politicians to musicians and more, so many success stories stem from the campus of Temple University. 

While these famous temple university alumni are well known globally, hundreds of graduates take their degrees from Temple to go on to do amazing things. Who knows who could be living next to you in your Temple University off-campus housing – maybe they’ll be famous one day! Tripalink can help remove the hassle of finding homes for rent in Temple, PA. We have a wide selection of affordable Philadelphia apartments for rent that are perfect for students and young professionals.

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