Distinguished Alumni

Asheville School is proud of its many illustrious alumni. Our more well-known graduates include George Milburn Studebaker Jr. (1906) of South Bend, Ind.; the Firestone boys of Akron, Ohio; the Kimberly brothers of the Wisconsin Kimberly-Clark family; J.C. Penney Jr. (1923) of Missouri; Edmund F. Ball (1923) of Ball Corp. of Muncie, Ind.; and Herbert Fisk Johnson (1918) and Samuel Curtis Johnson (1946) of the S.C. Johnson & Son Wax Inc. family.

  • Charles Ries, 1968

    Charles Ries 1968

    Charles Ries was the U.S. Ambassador to Greece from 2004-2007. He served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs from 2000-2004, overseeing U.S.-European Union economics, energy, and public diplomacy. He has also served as the United States Minister for Economic Affairs and Coordinator for Economic Transition in Iraq, serving at American Embassy Baghdad.

  • Roy Kim, 2012

    Roy Kim 2012

    Roy Kim won Korea’s hit TV show Superstar K4. The prize included $500,000, professional music production, a Nissan Cube, and the opportunity to perform at the Mnet Asian Music Awards. He received Mnet’s Booming Star and Hot Music Cover awards, and has been at the top of Korean pop music charts.

  • Jennifer Pharr-Davis, 2001

    Jennifer Pharr-Davis 2001

    Jennifer Pharr-Davis holds the record for the fastest thru hike of the Appalachian Trail with a time of 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes. She set the record on July 31, 2011. Prior to that record, she held the women’s record for the fastest thru hike. She has written two memoirs: Becoming Odyssa and Called Again.

  • Amy Bellamy Young, 1987

    Amy Bellamy Young 1987

    Amy Bellamy Young is an actress best known for her role as First Lady Mellie Grant on ABC’s political drama series Scandal. She can also be seen on CBS’ Criminal Minds and had previously appeared on shows such as Scrubs, CSI: Miami and Dirty Sexy Money.

  • James Hormel, 1950

    James Hormel 1950

    James Hormel was the first openly gay person to serve as a United States Ambassador. He was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1999 to be the Ambassador to Luxembourg. He is the grandson of George A. Hormel, founder of Hormel Foods.

  • Roberts S. Blossom, 1942

    Roberts S. Blossom

    Actor and poet. Career highlights from 50 years on stage and in movies include four Obie awards, roles in many movies including Slaughterhouse Five (1972), The Great Gatsby (1974), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Escape from Alcatraz (1979), The Quick and The Dead (1995) and Home Alone (1990). As a poet, has published six books. Brother, Douglas 1941, also attended Asheville School.

  • Leslie Ann Keller, 1977

    Leslie Ann Keller

    Artist and poet, Bright Clearing at Hemlock studio, Asheville. Recently Keller has completed a manuscript titled "The Art of Burgeoning: The Creativity Connection in Science, Art and Nature.” This manuscript is required reading for The Creativity Connection course she teaches through the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement on the campus of the University of North Carolina, Asheville. She has also authored Artisi e Arazzi del Novecento (Textile Artists of the Twentieth Century), published by Electa - Milan, Italy.

  • Pete Dye Jr., 1944

    Pete Dye Jr.

    World-renowned golf course designer, author of Bury Me in a Pot Bunker. Among the golf courses he has designed are Oak Tree in Oklahoma City, The Johns Island Club in Vero Beach, the Harbortown Golf Course in Hilton Head, The Saw Grass Course in Ponte Vedra and the Ocean Course in Kiawah.

  • Edward L. Gaylord, 1937


    Businessman, publisher, media mogul. Assumed leadership of Oklahoma Publishing after the death of his father in 1974, and expanded the business into a media empire which included The Daily Oklahoman newspaper, radio stations, Gaylord Hotels, the Nashville Network TV Channel (later renamed "SpikeTV" after it was sold), the Grand Ole Opry, and the Country Music Television Channel (CMT). Gaylord graduated from Stanford University with a degree in business and continued his studies at Harvard Business School before World War II interrupted his education. Ed passed away in 2003. Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, where the Oklahoma Sooners play, is named in honor of his family’s contributions to Oklahoma.

  • Edward B. Danson Ph.D., 1934

    Edward B. Danson Ph.D., 1934

    President of the Board of Trustees, former Director of the Museum of Northern Arizona. An anthropologist and archaeologist (and father of actor Ted Danson), he was also Secretary of the Interior's Advisory Board on National Parks from 1958-64, was given the Department of the Interior Conservation Award in 1986, and is remembered with the Edward B. Danson Distinguished Associate Award, given annually by the Southwest Parks and Monuments Association.

  • Marisha A. Pessl, 1995

    Marisha A. Pessl, 1995

    Published her first novel, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, an intellectual mystery set in a North Carolina private school in August 2006, which made the New York Times “Top 5 Best Books of 2006 – Fiction” list. Sister, Elke 1992, also attended Asheville School.

  • Dr. D. Ralph Millard, 1937

    Dr. D. Ralph Millard

    One of the 10 surgeons nominated “Plastic Surgeons of the Millennium” in 2000 by the American Society of Plastic Surgery. A pioneer in techniques of rhinoplasty and cleft palate surgery, “he has virtually established the modern American school of plastic surgery" (Wolfe, Plastic Surgery of the Facial Skeleton, 1989). Brother, Hamilton 1937, also attended Asheville School.

  • George M. Studebaker Jr., 1906

    George M. Studebaker Jr.

    Son of the founder of The Studebaker Corporation, maker of the Studebaker Electric Automobile (1902).

  • J. C. Penney Jr., 1923

    J. C. Penney Jr. 1923

    Son of the founder of JCPenney stores.

  • William E. Kimberly, 1951

    William E. Kimberly

    Great-grandson of one of the founders of Kimberly-Clark Corporation. Retired as Senior Vice President with profit responsibility for Eastern Hemisphere.

  • Richard H. Kimberly, 1954

    Richard H. Kimberly

    Great-grandson of one of the founders of Kimberly-Clark Corporation. Past Vice President; retired after 40 years. Presently serves as the principal of Kimberly Consulting in Washington, D.C., a government affairs, business consulting and lobbying firm representing Kimberly-Clark Corp. at the federal and international levels, as well as other business and charitable clients.

  • John R. Kimberly, 1948

    John R. Kimberly, 1948

    Great-grandson of one of the founders of Kimberly-Clark Corporation. Planner with Kimberly Mill in Neenah, Wis., Retired President of Resource Recovery Corp in Seattle, Wash., a hazardous waste collection and transportation firm.

  • James H. Kimberly, 1927

    James H. Kimberly

    Race car driver and a member of the Kimberly family of the Kimberly-Clark company (his grandfather was one of the founders). Retired from the family business in the mid 1960s. Brands include Kleenex, Scott, Huggies, Cottonelle and Depends. Nephews John R. Kimberly 1948, Richard H. Kimberly 1954 and William E. Kimberly 1951 also attended Asheville School.

  • Allen C. Mayer, 1940

    Allen C. Mayer

    Retired Vice President and Chairman of Oscar Mayer & Co.

  • Herbert F. Johnson Jr., 1918 and Samuel C. Johnson, 1946

    Herbert F. Johnson

    Third and fourth generation executives of S.C. Johnson & Son Inc., manufacturer of consumer, commercial and specialty chemicals and sanitation services. Commonly known as S.C. Johnson Wax. Brands include Future, Brite, Step Saver, Klear, Glo-Coat, Fine Wood, Pledge, Duster Plus, Klean 'n Shine, Jubilee, Glory, Shout, Glade, Aveeno, Raid, Off! and others.

  • Ralph E. Garner, 1970

    Ralph E. Garner

    President of T.W. Garner Food Company, primarily known for the hot sauce “Texas Pete” and Garners jams, jellies and preserves.