Additional photos and more below.
Additional photos and more below.

Ten Most Famous UNC Alumni: No Porn Stars, But an American Hero

Porn stars played a prominent part in two Ranker lists about Colorado: the ten most famous people from Denver and the ten most famous attendees of Colorado State University.

Clearly, the University of Northern Colorado is slacking in this category.

Instead, the ten most famous UNC alums (and all of them appear to have graduated, unlike Ranker faves for CSU, CU Boulder and the University of Denver) represent a variety of fields: athletics first, with politics, music, journalism and historic novels also cited. And then there's number one — a man who most observers agree deserves to be called an American hero.

Check out the photo-illustrated roster below, featuring UNC-centric text and links from the individuals' Wikipedia pages.

Bill Frisell.
Bill Frisell.

Number 10: Bill Frisell

William Richard "Bill" Frisell (born March 18, 1951) is an American guitarist, composer and arranger.

One of the leading guitarists in jazz since the late 1980s, Frisell's eclectic music touches on progressive folk, classical music, country music, noise music and more. He is known for using an array of effects to create unique sounds from his instrument....

Frisell was born in Baltimore, Maryland, but spent most of his youth in the Denver, Colorado area. He studied clarinet with Richard Joiner of the Denver Symphony Orchestra as a youth, graduated from Denver East High School, and went to the University of Northern Colorado to study music.

His original guitar teacher in the Denver-Aurora metropolitan area was Dale Bruning, with whom Frisell released the 2000 duo album Reunion. After graduating from Northern Colorado, where he studied with Johnny Smith, Frisell went to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he studied with Jon Damian and Jim Hall.....

Ben Dreith.
Ben Dreith.

Number 9: Ben Dreith

Ben Dreith (born February 1, 1925) is a former American professional football on-field official who worked from 1960 to 1969 in the American Football League (AFL) and from 1970 to 1990 in the NFL. Prior to his teaching and officiating career, he was a three-sport athlete at the University of Northern Colorado.

Dreith developed a reputation of being a no-nonsense, tough-minded official on the field. His career is most notable for an unnecessary roughness announcement on his microphone during a 1986 NFL season game between the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets and a controversial call during a 1976 playoff game between the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders. During his thirty-year career, he officiated two Super Bowls, and received a playoff assignment for twenty-eight consecutive years.....

Henrietta H. Fore.
Henrietta H. Fore.

Number 8: Henrietta H. Fore

Henrietta Holsman Fore (born December 9, 1948 in Chicago, IL) was the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance. She was designated these positions by President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, respectively, on May 7, 2007. She was confirmed by the United States Senate on November 14, 2007. Ms. Fore is distinguished as the first woman to serve as Administrator of USAID. These positions were at the rank of Deputy Secretary of State. Ms. Fore left these offices upon the conclusion of the Administration of President George W. Bush on January 20, 2009. She is now the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Holsman International....

Fore has a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Wellesley College and a Master of Science degree in Public Administration from the University of Northern Colorado. She has also studied international politics at Oxford University and studied at Stanford University Graduate School of Business....

Ed Werder, right, with the Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman.
Ed Werder, right, with the Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman.

Number 7: Ed Werder

Ed Werder (born May 3, 1960 in Longmont, Colorado) is a Dallas-based bureau reporter for ESPN, primarily reporting on stories about the NFL. Since joining ESPN in 1998, Werder has become a staple in their NFL coverage, as he contributes to shows such as SportsCenter, NFL Live, Sunday NFL Countdown (from a game site) and Monday Night Countdown (from the Monday Night Football site). Werder primarily reports on NFL news concerning the Dallas Cowboys....

While at The Dallas Morning News, Werder won several awards for chronicling the demolished relationship between Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and the then head coach Jimmy Johnson. Werder is a 1982 journalism and communications graduate of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colorado. He is married with two children.

Vincent Jackson.
Vincent Jackson.

Number 6: Vincent Jackson

Vincent Jackson (born January 14, 1983), is an American football wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Northern Colorado, and was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft.

Jackson has been selected to the Pro Bowl three times and has exceeded 1,000 receiving yards during six seasons. He is also the founder of the Jackson in Action 83 Foundation, which fosters the relationship between deployed troops and their families back at home....

Jackson enrolled at the University of Northern Colorado and played for the Northern Colorado Bears football team. It was one of the few colleges that recruited Jackson out of high school. One of the few true freshman to ever play for Northern Colorado, Jackson earned All-American honors as a punt returner, scoring the first time he ever touched a ball on a punt return against Adams State College. He rewrote the record books on the way to becoming Northern Colorado's all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards (game & season), kick return yards, punt return yards, receiving touchdowns. His senior season was highlighted by a 13-catch, 249-yard, three-touchdown effort against Florida Atlantic. Jackson also started for Northern Colorado in basketball....

Number 5: Tom Tancredo

Thomas Gerard "Tom" Tancredo (born December 20, 1945) is an American politician from Colorado, who represented the state's sixth congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1999 to 2009, as a Republican. He ran for President of the United States during the 2008 election, and was the Constitution Party's unsuccessful nominee for Governor of Colorado in 2010.

Tancredo was born in Denver, Colorado, the son of Adeline (née Lombardi) and Gerald Tancredo. All four of his grandparents emigrated from Italy.[3] He grew up in the then-predominantly Italian neighborhood of north Denver, and attended St. Catherine's Elementary School and Holy Family High School.[4] He graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in political science. Tancredo was active with the College Republicans and a conservative organization, Young Americans for Freedom (YAF)....

James A. Michener.
James A. Michener.

Number 4: James A. Michener

James Albert Michener (February 3, 1907 – October 16, 1997) was an American author of more than 40 books, the majority of which were fictional, lengthy family sagas covering the lives of many generations in particular geographic locales and incorporating solid history. Michener was known for the popularity of his works; he had numerous bestsellers and works selected for Book of the Month Club. He was also known for his meticulous research behind the books.

Michener's novels include Tales of the South Pacific for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1948, Hawaii, The Drifters, Centennial, The Source, The Fires of Spring, Chesapeake, Caribbean, Caravans, Alaska, Texas and Poland. His non-fiction works include Iberia, about his travels in Spain and Portugal; his memoir titled The World Is My Home, and Sports in America. Return to Paradise combines fictional short stories with Michener's factual descriptions of the Pacific areas where they take place.

Michener took a job as a high school English teacher at The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. From 1933 to 1936, he taught English at George School in Newtown, Pennsylvania. He attended University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colorado, where he earned a Master of Arts degree in Education. After graduation, he taught at the university for several years; the library at the University of Northern Colorado was later named after him....

Reed Doughty.
Reed Doughty.

Number 3: Reed Doughty

Reed Doughty (born November 4, 1982) is an American football safety who is currently a free agent. He was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the sixth round, with the 173rd overall pick, of the 2006 NFL Draft. He played college football at the University of Northern Colorado.

Doughty is best known for taking over the starting job at free safety following the injury and subsequent death of Sean Taylor, as well as for his public work to support organ donation, particularly for Americans with kidney disease.,,,

In 2002, Reed married his girlfriend Katie. They met several years earlier at 3J's Christian Coffeehouse in Johnstown, Colorado, his hometown while they were both in high school. Their son Micah was born prematurely and suffered kidney failure as a baby. Micah received a successful kidney transplant and is now doing well. They recently had another son and are currently living in Northern Colorado....

Aaron Smith.
Aaron Smith.

Number 2: Aaron Smith

Aaron Douglas Smith (born April 19, 1976) is a former American football defensive end for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted in the fourth round of the 1999 NFL Draft by the Steelers and played for the team for thirteen seasons. He played college football for the University of Northern Colorado.

Smith was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 4th round, 109th pick overall, of the 1999 NFL draft. Smith played in every Steelers' game at left defensive end from 2000 through 2006.[2] Smith has been considered an ideal defensive end in Pittsburgh's 3-4 defense. Smith won a Super Bowl ring with the Steelers in Super Bowl XL, during the 2005 season. He recorded four tackles throughout the game. After the 2008 season, Smith won another ring with the Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII.

Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger.
Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger.

Number 1: Chesley Sullenberger

Chesley Burnett "Sully" Sullenberger, III (born January 23, 1951) is a retired airline captain, aviation safety expert and accident investigator, best-selling author, speaker and consultant. He was hailed as a national hero in the United States when he successfully executed an emergency water landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River off Manhattan, New York City, after the aircraft was disabled by striking a flock of Canada geese during its initial climb out of LaGuardia Airport on January 15, 2009. All of the 155 passengers and crew aboard the aircraft survived.

In addition to his Bachelor of Science from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Sullenberger also holds a Master's degree in Industrial Psychology from Purdue University and a master's degree in Public Administration from the University of Northern Colorado.


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