Professor giving a lecture to students in old main
75 reasons you don't need an Ivy League degree

By Lynn O'Shaughnessy
CBS News MoneyWatch
Published July 31, 2012

With the latest college admission cycle set to begin, the usual angst about getting into Ivy League and other elite schools will soon be reaching fever pitch.

Too many parents believe that their children must attend a top university to succeed in life. This belief is a myth. Research suggests that smart, ambitious students enjoy the same earnings -- regardless of where they got their college diplomas -- as those who got their degrees at the most prestigious schools.

Not convinced? Here is a random selection of 75 notable alumni who attended colleges and universities that are not college-rankings giants.

Bob Dylan, singer, University of Minnesota
Karl Rove, political strategist, University of Utah (never graduated)
David Plouffe, President Barack Obama's senior advisor, University of Delaware
Brian Williams, broadcaster, Catholic University of America
Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor/politician, University of Wisconsin-Superior
Stephen Dubner, Freakonomics co-author, Appalachian State University
Nancy Grace, legal commentator, Mercer University
Michael Pollan, author, Bennington College
David Letterman, comedian, Ball State University
Calvin Klein, fashion designer, Fashion Institute of Technology
Phillip Anschutz, professional sports teams owner, University of Kansas
Harvey Weinstein, Miramax Films founder, University of Buffalo
Claire Watts, president of QVC, University of Cincinnati
Bette Midler, actress, University of Hawaii, (never graduated)
Millard S. Drexler, CEO of J. Crew, University of Buffalo
Milton Friedman, economist, Rutgers University
Savannah Guthrie, co-host on The Today Show, University of Arizona
Kate Spade, fashion designer, Arizona State University
General Richard Myers, former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Kansas State University
Jim Davis, cartoonist/creator of "Garfield," Ball State University
Harrison Ford, actor, Ripon College
Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. Secretary of State, University of Denver
Steve Capus, NBC news president, Temple University
Angela Ahrendts, CEO of Burberry, Ball State University
Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State, The City College of New York
Jerry Seinfeld, comedian, Queens College
Barbara Boxer, U.S. senator, Brooklyn College
Dan Rather, Sam Houston State Teachers College
Jeff Taylor, founder of, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Mary Higgins Clark, bestselling author, Fordham University
Shelia Blair, former chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, University of Kansas
Richard M. Daley, former mayor of Chicago, DePaul University
James Cameron, director, California State University-Fullerton
Dick Cheney, vice president, University of Wyoming
Tom Brokaw, broadcaster, University of South Dakota
John Malkovich, actor, Eastern Illinois University
Oprah Winfrey, television personality, Tennessee State University
Stephen Spielberg, California State University-Long Beach
Owen Wilson, actor, University of Texas
Jon Hamm, actor, University of Missouri
Tom Wolfe, author, Washington and Lee University
Richard Ben-Veniste, lead Watergate prosecutor, Muhlenberg College
Bob Herbert, former columnist, The New York Times, SUNY Empire State College
Vince Scully, sportscaster, Fordham University
Paul Lauterbur, scientist and Nobel Prize winner, Case Western Reserve
Liam McGee, chairman, CEO of The Hartford, University of San Diego
Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, University of Missouri
Susan Sarandon, actress, Catholic University of America
Shirley Tilghman, Princeton University president, Queen's University in Canada
Bill Cosby, comedian, Temple University
Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia, Reed College
Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize winner for literature, Howard University
Jame Albaugh, Former CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Willamette University
Ashley Judd, actress, University of Kentucky
Kenneth Langone, CEO of Home Depot, Bucknell University
Steven Carrell, actor, Denison University
Michell Eisner, former CEO of Disney, Denison University
Angie Hicks, CEO and founder of Angies List, DePauw University
Robert Noyce, co-founder of Intel, Grinnell College
Olaf Palme, prime minister of Sweden, Kenyon College
Johnny Carson, comedian, Millsaps College
Ralph Cordiner, Former CEO and chairman of General Electric, Whitman College
Marcia McNutt, director of the U.S. Geological Survey
John Glenn, astronaut, Muskingum University,
Jeff Grenfield, co-founder of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, Oberlin College
Jerry Richardson, owner of the Carolina Panthers, Wofford College
Stanley Kresge, founder of Kmart, Albion College
Joy Behar, comedian and co-host of "The View," Stony Brook University
Sandra Bullock, actress, East Carolina University
Richard Gere, actor, University of Massachusetts
Tim Russert, journalist, Cleveland State University
Woody Allen, comedian/filmmaker, The City College of New York
Warren Staley, CEO of Cargill, Kansas State University
Stephen King, novelist, University of Maine
R. Glenn Hubbard, economist/dean of Columbia U.'s Graduate School of Business, University of Central Florida