One could make the argument that Boston University is where it all truly started for a young, legend in the making named Howard Stern. Besides the years he spent watching his father, Ben Stern, work as an radio engineer, Howard's first true dip into the radio airwaves pool was as a volunteer on BU's college radio station, WTBU. This is where his show "The King Schmaltz Bagel Hour" was cancelled after only one airing due to segments like "Name That Sin" and "Make the Bishop Blush."
Despite his short-lived collegiate radio career, Howard graduated in 1976 with an impressive 3.8 GPA and a degree in communications. In spite of his first time (of many to come) being fired from a radio station, you'd be hard-pressed to think Harvard's third cousin, Boston University, didn't have some impact on the man we've grown up with over the past 30 years.
Truth is, Boston University has played an important role in spewing out a shockingly large selection of famous alumni. Howard tops the list of a pretty impressive rolodex of big name celebs, politicians and even one of the greatest Americans of the last hundred years.
It must be pointed out though, that through the past decades it's been a bit of a sensitive subject as to why BU doesn't officially recognize Howard as one of their most outstanding graduates. In fact, fellow alumni Jason Alexander was given an honorary doctorate degree from the university in April of 1998 – and he never even graduated! Jason, being a complete mensch, brought this rather absurd point up in his speech to the graduating class that year which you can hear below.
As proof of this colleges uncanny ability to have greatness pass through its doors, here are 11 former BU students that went on to do some pretty impressive things in their own rite. You might recognize a few of these names.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Graduated: 1955 with Ph.D
Studied: Systematic Theology
Even though this list is not a chronological power ranking, we'd be insane to not list this guy at the head of the class. A Nobel Peace Prize winner, a Baptist minister, a humanitarian and the most influential civil rights leader of any generation – MLK is by far the most globally recognized name in the BU alumni yearbook. Known as one of the greatest orators in American history, his "I Have a Dream " speech is almost as inspirational as the farewell to terrestrial radio speech Howard delivered before moving to satellite. Almost.
Graduated: 1977-1980, Drop Out
Studied: Acting, Classical
Well, this man hardly needs an introduction. Long time friend of the show, Jason is known for his iconic portrayal of the neurotic but lovable George Costanza character on arguably the most successful sitcom in TV history, "Seinfeld." After dropping out of BU early because he actually landed a paying acting gig in New York City, Jason forwent his lifelong dream to become a magician (true story) and instead went on to win a coveted Tony Award in 1989 for the musical "Jerome Robbins' Broadway," the same year "Seinfeld" premiered. Talk about a good year. These days you can catch him back on Broadway in Larry David's "Fish in the Dark," which we highly recommend - even though it's a play void of magic tricks.
Graduated: 1949, Honorary Ph.D of Humane Letters (1977)
Studied: School of Education
"Live Long and Prosper." Those immortal words kept Leonard Nimoy relevant for a staggering fifty years – long after the first episode of "Star Trek" originally aired in 1965. TV Guide named Spock one of the 50 greatest character's ever portrayed on television and BU can give themselves a light pat on the back for that one, as Mr. Nimoy got his acting chops in the college's drama classes before he dropped out after his freshman year. The school gave the Vulcan legend an honorary doctorate in 1977.
Graduated: Drop Out
We're seeing a trend here. If you want to be a famous actor, go to BU and then drop out. It worked for Jason Alexander, Leonard Nimoy and now Rosie. A great friend of the show these days, Rosie and Howard didn't always have a warm and fuzzy relationship but luckily all bad juju was squashed years ago after Howard extended the proverbial olive branch. Rosie rose through the ranks of Hollywood with her cutting standup that won her the top spot on the show "Star Search" (think "AGT" with Ed McMahon as Nick Cannon) five times before eventually ruling the TV airways with her Emmy award winning talk show, "The Rosie O'Donnell Show." Rosie's also met continued success in movies, books and countless charity work.
Graduated: 2010, Masters degree
Studied: Sport Psychology and Counseling
If you haven't heard of Jenna, then you're probably over 24. With over 15 million subscribers and 1.7 billion video views (yes, we said billion), Jenna lays claim to the 7th most subscribed channel on YouTube which is, by far, the most successful channel operated by a woman. Take that Oprah! Why do people like her? Well, she's sexy, smart, charming and god-damn hilarious. Her weekly videos are simple yet always funny like What Girls Do In The Car, which currently has over 34 million views. She also moonlights as host of a weekly pop countdown on SiriusXM Hits 1 and released a brand of dog toys called Kermie Worm & Mr. Marbles, named after her two dogs respectively.
Graduated: 1990, Bachelor of Arts
Studied: Broadcast Journalism
Andy Cohen is most notably known as the first openly gay host of any American late-night talk show. Due to Andy's on-air laissez-faire approach and endless parade of reality and celebrity superstars, "Watch What Happens Live," a show he developed and produces, is one of the most unlikely popular talk shows in a very crowded timeslot. Years after graduating, he produced a bevy of TV news giants like "48 Hours," "CBS This Morning" and "The Early Show," before becoming the Head of Development at Bravo for 10 years. He stepped down in 2013 to concentrate on his wildly successful guilty-pleasure franchise, Real Housewives of fill-in-the-blank, as the series Executive Producer.
Graduated: 1971, Drop Out
No matter what your stance is on public masturbation (not that you need to have an opinion on it), comedian Paul Reubens is an icon, pure and simple. There is no one more recognizable in the late 80s than Pee-wee Herman. Why? Because he's 'a loner Dotty, a rebel.' Reubens' unforgivingly flamboyant character, Pee-wee, which he created at the Groundlings in Los Angeles, was a staple in most households on Saturday mornings for half a decade thanks to his hit TV show "Pee-wee's Playhouse." Reubens first movie "Pee-wee's Big Adventure," which was directed by Tim Burton, was a box-office smash and for the past 25 years has taken on a life of its own as a treasured cult classic. If you're too young to remember the original movies or TV series, get your red-bow ties ready as a new Pee-wee flick is currently in the works with Judd Apatow producing. 'Paging, Mr. Herman.'
Graduated: 1975, Masters
Studied: Broadast Journalism
The politically opinionated and notoriously conservative FOX host actually went to school with Howard in the mid-70s. He even claims to remember the King Of All Media walking around campus because "he was the only guy in the school taller than me." Bill's found success in almost every corner of the news game as he's reported from the front lines on some of the biggest stories of the past half-century. Regardless of what you think of the guy's political views, his natural ferocity towards the heavy leaning left gave us the ultimate gift: "The Colbert Report." That's right. Stephen Colbert's pseudo-alter ego is based off of the republican mouthpiece, Mr. Bill O'Reilly. For that, we say thank you.
Graduated: 1996, Drop Out
Studied: Business Administration
Park Jae-sang, better known as PSY, skyrocketed to fame in 2012 after his YouTube video "Gangnam Style" made videos cool and expensive again. But before he was confusing American audiences with Korean Hip-Pop jams, he was a student at BU for a millisecond. Preparing to take over his father's tech business, he began attending Boston's University's business school but soon lost interest and spent his remaining tuition on musical instruments and colorful tuxedo's. Ok, we made the tuxedo part up but we're sure he thought about it.
Jeffrey Ross aka 'The Roastmaster General' is a personal favorite of Howard's. A friend of the show, Jeff's been on a bunch over the past decade and killed it on stage with the legend Joan Rivers at Howard's 60th Birthday Bash. But, whether Howard knows it or not, their relationship goes back even farther because when Jeff was attending Boston University he became the director of the same college radio station, WTBU, that Howard was fired from a decade earlier.
Graduated: 1983, BFA
Studied: Performing Arts
Rounding out this list is one of the most accomplished actresses of our generation, Julianne Moore. She's got an Oscar, two Golden Globes, a Daytime Emmy, a Primetime Emmy and a laundry list of great roles in movies like "Boogie Nights," "The Big Lebowski" and "Magnolia." What we love about her most – besides the fact that she's never one to shy away from a tasteful nude scene – is that she actually graduated. Phew…