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Famous Upward Bound Alumni

Hector Balderas

Hector Balderas is an attorney and politician (Democratic Party) who is the current Attorney General of New Mexico. He notably became the youngest Hispanic elected official in the nation after he became State Auditor at the age of thirty-three, and he has additionally served as a member of the New Mexico Legislature. His political work has focused on such issues as criminal justice reform , combatting crime, and improving public education. He holds a B.A. in Politic Science from New Mexico Highlands University and a JD from University of New Mexico Law School.

Angela Bassett

Angela Basset is an actress noted for her roles in biographical films. She has portrayed Tina Turner in the biopic What's Love Got to Do with It (1993), a performance for which she won a golden globe award, and she has also protrayed Betty Shabazz in both Malcolm X (1992) and Panther (1995), Katherine Jackson in The Jacksons: An American Dream (1992), Rosa Parks in The Rosa Parks Story (2002), Voletta Wallace in Notorious (2009), and Coretta Scott King in Betty and Coretta (2013). She holds a B.A. in African-American studies from Yale and an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.

Viola Davis

Viola Davis is an actress who is known for portraying lawyer Annalise Keating in How to Get Away with Murder, a role for which she became the first black woman of any nationality to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2015. She has played a variety of minor and supporting roles, including parts in Kate & Leopold (2001) and Far from Heaven (2002), and the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She holds a theater degree from Rhode Island College.

Patrick Ewing

Patrick Ewing is the present associate head coach of the Charlotte Hornets and a former NBA player. He spent most of his career with the New York Knicks as their starting center and also played with both the Seattle SuperSonics and Orlando Magic. He won Olympic gold medals as part of the American Olympic basketball team in both in 1984 and in 1992. He holds a B.A. in Fine Arts from Georgetown University.

José Moreno Hernández

José Moreno Hernández is a politician, engineer, and former NASA astronaut, who served as chief of the Materials and Processes branch of Johnson Space Center. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of the Pacific and an M.S. in Electrical and Computer engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Gail Winfrey is a media personality, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist, known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011. She has been ranked the most wealthy African-American, lauded as the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and is currently North America's first and only multi-billionaire black person. In 2013, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. She holds degrees in Speech Communications and Performing Arts from Tennessee State University.

Wil Haygood

John Quiñones is an ABC News correspondent, and currently the host of What Would You Do? He holds a Bachelors Degree in Speech Communication from St. Mary's University and an M.A. in Journalism from Columbia University's School of Journalism.

PH/STAFF  Washington Post Studio  DATE:  12/13/06  PHOTO:  Julia Ewan/TWP  CAPTION:   Wil Haygood, The Washington Post.

Wil Haygood is a journalist who authored the influential 2008 Washington Post article "A Butler Well Served By This Election." This piece concerned the story of Eugene Allen and later served as the basis for the 2013 movie The Butler. Haygood has since written a book about Allen entitled The Butler: A Witness to History. He holds a B.A. from Miami University.

Beatrice Berry

Beatrice Berry is a sociologist, author, lecturer, comedian, and educator. In addition to having her own talk show from 1993-1994, she has taught Sociology and Statistics at Kent State University, and penned numerous books such as I'm On My Way, But Your Foot Is On My Head and Redemption Song. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Jacksonville University and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Kent State University.

Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis

James Samuel "Jimmy Jam" Harris III (born June 6, 1959) and Terry Steven Lewis are a team of R&B musicians/songwriters/record producers who can boast of more Billboard number ones than any other songwriting/production team in history. The pair met in high school while attending an Upward Bound program on the University of Minnesota campus.

Other famous Upward Bound Alumni
Name Occupation Organization
Henry Bonilla
Former Congresssman
Talent Search
Franklin Chang-Diaz First Hispanic Astronaut Student Support Services
A.C. Green NBA Basketball Player Student Support Services
Barbara Harmon-Schamberger General Counsel and Deputy of Securities Upward Bound
Bernard Harris First African American Astronaut Ronald E. McNair Scholars
Gwendolynne Moore Wisconson State Senator Student Support Services
Kevin Shibilski Wisconsin State Senator Student Support Services