9 Famous People Who Went to Arizona State University
Kevin Dooley / Creative Commons

9 Famous People Who Went to Arizona State University

This week, thousands of Arizona State University graduates will walk across the commencement stage and out into the unknown. Many will have set the foundation for their careers while in school, some even gaining notoriety in the process. With more than 80,000 students in enrolled overall, we're bound to have a few soon-to-be stars in our midst, even if they've only attended for a short time. As you can tell by the list below, the Class of 2016 has a lot to live up to. Here are a few famous (or infamous) folks you might not have known were once Sun Devils.

9 Famous People Who Went to Arizona State University
ABC

Jimmy Kimmel
Graduated: Dropped Out
Major: Undeclared

After spending a year at UNLV, Kimmel transferred to ASU. During that time, he was a regular caller to KZZP's morning show. Thanks in part to the station's affinity for him, as well as the pregnancy of then-girlfriend Gina Maddy, he decided to drop out and hedge his bets on a full-time radio career. This worked, for a while, until he was laid off from not only KZZP, but two more stations in the following years. However, he got back on his feet, eventually landing at KROQ in LA, starting the chain that eventually led him to his own late-night talk show. 

Kate Spade
Graduated:
1985
Major: Journalism

Formerly known as Kate Brosnahan, Spade made it to Arizona after transferring from University of Kansas to ASU. Her journalism degree landed her a gig at Mademoiselle magazine, where she was an accessories editor. It was there that she realized the handbag market needed some better options, so she decided to start creating her own. Within a few years of starting the Kate Spade handbags company, she opened an NYC storefront, and two decades later, the brand has expanded to other items like home decor and jewelry. Although she's spent most of her career in New York, we'd like to think that her signature bold and bright color designs have something to do with her time in the AZ heat. 

9 Famous People Who Went to Arizona State University
NBC News

David Spade
Graduated:
1986
Major: Business

Contrary to popular belief, Kate Spade and David Spade are not siblings, but in-laws, as she is married to his brother Andy. Both natives of Scottsdale, David graduated from Saguaro High School and studied at Scottsdale Community College before transferring to ASU. While in school, he cut his teeth in comedy as a member of the Farce Side Comedy Hour, a sketch group still running today. Just a few years after graduation, he achieved the improv dream, landing a spot on the cast of Saturday Night Live. Later, he would star in movies like Tommy Boy and Joe Dirt as well as TV shows like Just Shoot Me!

9 Famous People Who Went to Arizona State University
Warner Bros. Television

Lynda Carter
Graduated: Dropped Out
Major: Unknown

Another Phoenix native, Carter graduated from Arcadia High School and spent a brief time at ASU before dropping out to pursue music. Two years later, she was back in Arizona and representing the state at Miss World USA, where she took the crown in 1972. This kickstarted her back toward fame; she slogged through a few smaller roles before being cast as the lead in the TV adaptation of Wonder Woman. Her portrayal has made her an icon, as she continued with TV movies and even lending music to the video game Fallout 4. The Nerd Queen reigns!

Scott Peterson
Graduated:
Transferred to California Polytechnic State University
Major: Undeclared

Well, they can't all be good. San Diego native Peterson enrolled at ASU in 1990 with, of all things, a partial golf scholarship. He was up against some pretty serious competition, including future PGA winner and former high-school classmate Phil Mickelson. For unknown reasons (although allegedly thanks to some wild partying), he ended up back in California and at the university where he would meet his wife, Laci Rocha, marrying her in 1997. Five years later, she went missing while she was eight months pregnant, prompting a highly publicized search and later recovery of her body. As information about extramarital affairs came to light, one mistress came forward saying he had actually presented himself as a widower to her, two weeks before Laci went missing (yikes). He was later arrested, tried, and convicted in the murder of both his wife and son, and is currently on death row.  

9 Famous People Who Went to Arizona State University
Gage Skidmore

Doug Ducey
Graduated: 1986
Major: Finance

Okay, so it's not totally far-fetched that Arizona's 23rd governor would be a proud Sun Devil, but it was an important stop on his road from Toledo, Ohio, to ice cream businessman. While in school, he worked for the man at Hensley & Co. and shortly after graduation, was groomed by Procter & Gamble. He spent time at the helm as partner and CEO of Cold Stone Creamery, lodging him firmly in the history of Arizona business (for better or worse). After the company was sold, the "worse" part caught up with him, and he stepped down soon after. He spent the following years as chairman for iMemories, revving up to his eventual election as state treasurer in 2011 and mega-promotion to governor in 2015.

9 Famous People Who Went to Arizona State University
Tony Carrillo

Tony Carrillo
Graduated: 2004
Major: Art

Like David Spade, Carrillo carved his path by getting involved with campus activities at ASU. He began creating the F-Minus comic strip for The State Press when he was only a sophomore.  He won the mtvU Strips contest for best comic, landing him a development deal with United Media. Two years later, it began its global syndication, earning a Best Newspaper Panel nomination from the National Cartoonist Society in its first year.  On April 17, 2016, he celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the worldwide debut of F-Minus. His anniversary blog post detailed some fun facts about the strip, including just how much of it was set in Tempe, including scenes at Ted's Hot Dogs and Gold Bar Espresso. He explains, "A few years ago I moved to California, and while there are now more beach comics than before, in my mind, Arizona is still the center of the F-Minus universe."

9 Famous People Who Went to Arizona State University
ABC News

Mary Kay Letourneau
Graduated: Transferred to Seattle University
Major: Unknown

Letourneau became infamous when it came to light that she was having an affair with her then-12-year-old student, Vili Fualauu. She was outed by a relative of her husband, Steve Letourneau, whom she met while they were students at ASU. After they found out that she was pregnant, Steve and Mary Kay moved to Alaska, got married, and eventually landed in Seattle with three more children. It was there that she took a second-grade teaching role, where she first met Fualauu. When she transferred to sixth grade in 1996, he was in her class again, and the flirtations began. She was arrested in March 1997, and gave birth to their first child that May while still on trial. She was convicted of child rape and served time while agreeing to not have contact with her victim. Sure enough though, two weeks after her release, they were found having sex in her car and she was shipped off to jail for seven years, during which she had their second child. Uncomfortably enough, the two are now married, still together, and raising teenage daughters in Seattle. Bonus creepy: The couple used to co-host a DJ night called - wait for it - "Hot for Teacher." 

9 Famous People Who Went to Arizona State University
© Bettmann/CORBIS / Corbis Images

Steve Allen
Graduated: Dropped Out
Major: Unknown

Raised in Chicago, Allen came to Tempe to attend what was then called the Arizona State Teacher's College (it wasn't Arizona State University until 1958). He dropped out sophomore year to pursue a career in radio, working at KOY 1230 AM. That was interrupted by World War II, when Allen enlisted in the U.S. Army and served at Camp Roberts, California. When his duty ended, he spent some time in Phoenix and then moved back to California. He became a hit on KAFC in Los Angeles, then moved to CBS Radio's KNX. It was his late-night show there that inspired CBS Radio execs to push him toward television, shipping him to NYC and launching The Steve Allen Show in 1950. When that was canceled, he created another late-night talk show for NBC which would eventually be called The Tonight Show. Through that development, Allen is praised for shaping the TV talk show into what it is today. His career continued to include hosting variety shows and composing Grammy-winning music. He died in Los Angeles on October 30, 2000.

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