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Katie Couric, world-famous journalist

Graduation Class: 1979

Area of Study: American Studies (The College)

Key Accomplishments: Couric co-anchored NBC’s Today Show for 15 years. Later, at CBS, she became the first woman anchor of a nightly news broadcast. Couric is one of the founders of Stand Up to Cancer, an organization that has raised over $600 million dollars for research.

Valerie Ackerman, advancing Cavalier and national women’s sports

Graduation Class: 1981

Area of Study: Political & Social Thought (The College)

Key Accomplishments: Ackerman currently serves as commissioner of the Big East Conference. She was the first and founding president of the Women’s National Basketball Association. Ackerman also served as president of USA Basketball, overseeing both the men’s and women’s Olympic program. She was the first 1,000-point scorer in UVA women’s basketball history.

Janet Napolitano, serving the American public

Graduation Class: 1983

Area of Study: Law Degree (School of Law)

Key Accomplishments: Napolitano is the first woman president of the University of California. Before taking on this role, she served as a U.S. Attorney, the Governor of Arizona, and the head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Under Obama, Napolitano helped to pass DACA.

Sarah Drew, television’s favorite doctor

Graduation Class: 2002

Area of Study: Drama (The College)

Key Accomplishments: Drew played the character of Dr. April Kepner on the ABC drama “Grey’s Anatomy.” She starred in the series “Everwood” and the 2014 film “Mom’s Night Out.” Drew has acted on other popular shows, guest-starring on “Supernatural,” “Madmen” and more.

Kathryn Thornton, astronaut extraordinaire

Graduation Class: 1977 and 1979

Area of Study: Masters of Science and Doctorate in Physics

Key Accomplishments: As a NASA Astronaut, Thornton has logged nearly 1,000 hours in space. She is a veteran of four different flights, including the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1989. Thornton holds numerous awards, such as her induction into the Astronaut Hall of Fame. She is currently a Professor Emeritus in the E-School! 

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