Notable Alumnae/i

Martina Arroyo HS '53, High School Distinguished Graduate 1968
Born and raised in Harlem, Martina Arroyo graced opera's finest halls giving extraordinary performances throughout the world: the Metropolitan Opera, the Vienna State Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, La Scala in Milan, Paris Opera, the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden as well as the great concert halls from Salzburg and Berlin and in her hometown of New York.  
Martina was appointed by President Gerald Ford in 1976 to the NEA's National Council on the Arts. She later also joined the boards of Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Opera Guild and the Collegiate Chorale. She is a trustee emerita of the Hunter College Foundation, her alma mater. She was inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002. In 2003, she established the Martina Arroyo Foundation in New York City, offering emerging young artists a running start with a structured curriculum, detailed musical and dramatic work on preparing a role and a chance to sing.  In December of 2013, Ms. Arroyo was awarded the nation's highest artistic award: The Kennedy Center Honor.

Ron H. Brown, ES '52
Ron H. Brown was the first African-American appointed to the Cabinet post of Secretary of Commerce in President Clinton’s administration.  In 1981 Mr. Brown joined Patton, Boggs & Blow, becoming the first African-American partner at this prestigious firm in the nation’s capital. A skillful negotiator, he was highly sought after as a lobbyist. He was active in politics for many years, serving as the Reverend Jesse Jackson’s Presidential convention manager and is well-remembered for his successful tenure as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1989 to 1992.  The Ron Brown Scholar Program was established in Brown's honor in 1996 to provide academic scholarships, service opportunities and leadership experiences for young African-Americans of outstanding promise.

Ruby Wallace Dee HS '39, High School Distinguished Graduate 1992
Ruby Ann Wallace Dee actor and writer appeared in more than 20 films including 1988's DO THE RIGHT THING and her notable stage appearances included roles in A Raisin in the Sun (later reprising the role in the 1961 film), Athol Fugard's Boesman and Lena, and Purlie Victorious. a southern comedy which Dee and her husband Ossie Davis wrote and co-starred in together, in which they reprised their roles for the 1963 film adaptation. As Kate in The Taming of the Shrew and Cordelia in King Lear, she became, in 1965, the first African American woman to play major parts in the American Shakespeare Festival.   Ms. Dee's theatrical contributions have been acknowledged through her  Drama Desk and Obie awards, and an Emmy Award nomination for her role in the 1979 miniseries Roots: The Next Generation.  In 2007's American Gangster, she played the mother of notorious crime figure Frank Lucas in the film for which she received an Academy Award nomination and won a Screen Actors Guild Award.  She and her husband were the nation's 2004 Kennedy Center Honorees.  Ruby Dee will be remembered for her activism in the Civil Rights Movement, her participation in marches and her powerful voice speaking for racial equality.

Mildred Spiewak Dresselhaus, HS Jan. '48, Hunter College, '51, High School Distinguished Graduate 2009, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, 2014
Dr. Dresselhaus is a Professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering at MIT where she was named an Institute Professor, MIT's highest faculty award.  Nicknamed, The Queen of Carbon, Dr. Dresselhaus, already a National Medal of Science recipient, recently won the 2012 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience.  She served as the first female officer in the National Academy of Science and has been awarded 28 honorary doctorates for her pioneering work in Physics and her advocacy of women in Science.  On November 24, 2014, President Obama presented Dr. Dresselhaus with the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

Roy M. Goodman, ES '41
Senator Roy M. Goodman graduated from Harvard College in 1951 and Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in 1953, before serving in the U.S. Navy as an officer.   After his military service, he worked as a member of NYC Mayor Lindsay’s Super Cabinet from 1966-68 before becoming a New York State Senator for the 26th District on Manhattan’s East Side for 33 years. Senator Roy M. Goodman has been widely quoted as saying, “Remember that happiness is a way of travel - not a destination.”

Elena Kagan, ES '72, HS '77, High School Distinguished Graduate 2003
Justice Kagan  is the fourth woman to sit on the US Supreme Court.  With degrees from Princeton, Oxford and Harvard Law School, she also clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the US Supreme Court during the 1987 term.  She served as the first woman dean of Harvard Law School from 2003-09 until accepting the nomination for Solicitor General of the United States.  President Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court in May of 2010; she took her seat on August 7, 2010

Evelyn Hausner Lauder HS '54, High School Distinguished Graduate 2010
Ms. Lauder was known as a businesswoman, philanthropist, and the creator of the Pink Ribbon campaign. She was the Senior Corporate Vice President of the Estée Lauder Companies and a member of the board of overseers at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In 1993 Ms. Lauder founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation which has raised more than $350 million dollars in support of this cause.

Robert Lopez, ES '87, HS '93, High School Distinguished Graduate 2005
Lyricist and composer Bobby Lopez co-created and co-wrote the smash-hit comic Broadway musicals The Book of Mormon and Avenue Q.  Both shows have won the coveted Tony Award “triple crown” of Best Musical, Best Original Score and Best Book of a Musical.  Bobby also shares two Emmy Awards for his music on Nickelodeon’s The Wonder Pets. With his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez, he co-wrote Finding Nemo: The Musical (playing at Walt Disney World since 2006).   He is the first male recipient of HCHS Distinguished Graduate award. Most recently, Bobby and Kristen won the 2014 Oscar for Best Music (Original Song) "Let It Go" from Disney's animated film, FROZEN, adding him to the very short list of artists known as EGOT winners: those who have been awarded an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, ES'92, HS'98, HCHS Distinguished Graduate 2008
Composer, lyricist and actor, Lin-Manuel Miranda is the creator and star of Broadway's Hamilton which started at NYC's The Public Theater and moved to Broadway in July 2015.  The Public Theater production received a record-breaking 10 Lortel Awards, 3 Outer Critic Circle Awards, 8 Drama Desk Awards, the 2015 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best New Musical, the 2015 OBIE Award for Best New American Play and the 2016 Pulitzer for Drama.   The soundtrack to the Broadway show  won the 2016 Grammy for the Best Musical Theater Album.  In addition, he is a Tony-award winner for his creation In The Heights, which received four 2008 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.  In the Heights won the 2009 Grammy Award for its Original Broadway Cast Album.   He is a recipient of the 2015 MacArthur "Genius" Award.

H. David Politzer, ES '60
Dr. Politzer won the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction, sharing the prize with David Gross and Frank Wilczek.  This discovery has been known for 31 years as asymptotic freedom, and it has been described by physics professors to their students with the analogy of a rubber band increasing in tightness as it is pulled apart. Asymptotic freedom established quantum chromodynamics (QCD) as the correct theory of the strong force, one of the four fundamental forces of nature.  He is a professor of theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology.

Jennifer Raab HS '73, High School Distinguished Graduate 2002
President Raab is the 13th President of Hunter College.  The former Commissioner of the NYC Landmarks Commission was an attorney prior to her public service.  Since 2001, President Raab has been responsible for raising more than $240 million in philanthropic support for Hunter College. Her major projects include the launching of an ambitious capital expansion plan, including the planned $600 million science and health facility on East 74th Street, the acquisition of a floor in the new Weil-Cornell research building, the construction of a $131 million new School of Social Work and Public Health in East Harlem, and the $20 million restoration of the 1908 Roosevelt House, which is now the Public Policy Institute at Hunter College.

Jonathan Tunick, ES '49
Jonathan Tunick is an American orchestrator, musical director, and composer, one of twelve people to have won all four major American show business awards: ( EGOT) the Tony Awards, Academy Awards, Emmy Awards and Grammy Awards. He is best known for his work with Stephen Sondheim, starting in 1970 with Company and continuing to the present day. Tunick's principal instrument is the clarinet. He has worked as an arranger and/or con­ductor on recordings with Judy Collins, Cleo Laine, Kiri Te Kanawa, Itzhak Perlman, Plácido Domingo, Johnny Mathis, Barbra Streisand, Paul McCartney and Bernadette Peters. Tunick won the Grammy Award as "Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)/Best Background Arrangement" for his work on the song "No One Is Alone" from the album Cleo Laine Sings Sondheim.
Tunick won the first Tony Award for Best Orchestrations that was awarded, in 1997, for Titanic. In addition to the other awards, he has won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Orchestrations three times and won a Drama Desk Special Award in 1982. Tunick was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in January 2009.
HCHS Distinguished Graduate Awards
The HCHS Faculty votes to confer the Distinguished Graduate Award each year to an alumni of the High School who has made a significant contribution to a particular field and who has received critical acclaim, demonstrated leadership, garnered national/international recognition and/or has been appointed or elected to a prestigious office in the span of at least the ten years since graduating from HCHS.