Natalie Coughlin ’05

Guinness World Records-holder for the most Olympic medals among female swimmers, Coughlin left the 2004 and 2008 Olympics as the most decorated female athlete — earning a total of 11 medals. She won a bronze in the 400 free relay in London. In an ESPN ranking of the greatest U.S. Summer Olympians, Coughlin came in at No. 10, sharing the Top 10 with such heroes as Jesse Owens and Wilma Rudolph. Out of the pool, Coughlin keeps a large backyard garden and chickens and is a passionate cook. Follow her on Twitter @NatalieCoughlin.

Health, Olympics, Sports


Rube Goldberg (left, 1883–1970) was famous for illustrating preposterous machines that performed ridiculously simple tasks. Incorporating wheels, gears, pulleys, pails — even animals — Goldberg, who graduated in 1904, commented on both the onslaught of technology and people’s increasing dependence on it. While working in several “humiliating and low-paying jobs,” Scott Adams M.B.A. ’86 (right) created a comic strip during his off-hours starring Dilbert, a mash-up of his former coworkers. Dilbert became the satirical voice of white-collar America and is one of the most successful syndicated comic strips in history. See the daily Dilbert on Twitter @DailyDilbert.


Warren Hellman ’55

Co-founder of the private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, Hellman (1934–2011) built a fortune that he willingly poured into local causes, including education, athletics, politics, and the arts. A banjo player, he made his most visible impact on San Francisco with the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, an annual free event drawing some 750,000 people and headlining favorites such as Emmylou Harris and Jimmie Dale Gilmore.

Arts and Entertainment, Business and Economics, Innovators