Are you thinking about applying to study at the University of Leeds and want to discover whose footsteps you may be following? Are you simply curious about the students who have been and gone and made success? There are lots of celebrities that went to Leeds University, so just know you’re in good hands. From athletes to critically acclaimed movie stars, this list of the top 10 notable alumni from the University of Leeds will inspire you to get those grades and make your own success.

1. Chris Pine

Chris Pine
Source: Wikimedia

Despite only studying at the University of Leeds for a year as an exchange student, Chris Pine has become a notable alumni around campus. He stars in hit blockbuster movies such as Wonder Woman and Star Trek and his fame attracts people to the university. An ex-Leeds student spotted flags bearing his face and red-carpet photos of him dotted around campus, and it comes as no surprise. Chris Pine is one of the most famous celebrities and alumni to have walked the halls of University of Leeds without a doubt!

2. Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee

Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee
Source: Wikimedia

The Brownlee brothers, both Triathlon World Champions, studied at the University of Leeds. Alistair dropped out of Cambridge, where he was studying Medicine to study Sports Science and Physiology at Leeds University, and Jonathan studied History. They have had extremely impressive careers and as famous alumni of Leeds University, they continue to inspire athletes who study there.

3. Jamie Laing

Jamie Laing
Source: Jamie Laing Instagram

Best known for his role in E4’s Made in Chelsea, Jamie Laing came to the University of Leeds because he’d ‘fallen in love with a girl and followed her there’, as he admits in an interview. Since graduating, he has been back for nights out and even made an appearance in Central Village.

4. Corinne Bailey-Rae

Corinne Bailey-Rae
Source: Wikipedia

This Grammy-nominated singer studied English Literature at the University of Leeds in 2000. She earned some extra cash working at LS6, then known as the Clock Café, before launching her solo music career. Some of her best-known songs include Like a Star and Put Your Records On. Who would have thought this famous, notable alumni known for her summery sounds found inspiration at university in the wet and rainy Leeds!

5. Dan Smith

Dan Smith
Source: B△STILLE Instagram

Smith is the lead singer, songwriter and founder of the British band Bastille. The band gained popularity after releasing their hit song Pompeii in 2013 and has since released two more albums. Before his musical days, Dan studied English Language and Literature at the University of Leeds alongside writing about music and film for the student newspaper. He’s another notable alumni from Leeds University who has found celebrity status.

6. Mark Knopfler

Mark Knopfler
Source: Wikipedia

After graduating with a degree in English at the University of Leeds, Mark went on to become the lead guitarist, singer and songwriter of Dire Straits. He left the band in 1987 and went on to pursue a solo music career, but the band’s legacy still lives on, with one of their famous songs, Sultans of Swing still resonating with music lovers today.

7. Emma Crosby

Emma Crosby
Source: Emma Crosby Twitter

The British television newsreader and broadcaster originally studied drama, theatre, film and television at the University of Leeds alongside an internship at ITN. Since university, Crosby has presented on Sunrise, GMTV and BBC News, making for a very impressive career.

8. Col Needham

Col Needham
Source: Wikipedia

You may not recognise the name, but Col Needham is the founder and CEO of IMDb: the online database that lists information about movies, TV and everything in between. Not surprisingly, Needham studied Computer Science at the University of Leeds in 1988 before starting up IMDb in 1990. He might not be one of the most famous celebrities from Leeds University, but he’s probably the richest!

9. Jacqui Oatley

Jacqui Oatley
Source: Jacqui Oatley Twitter

Best known for being the first female commentator on the flagship BBC One Match of the Day, Oatley’s career also includes hosting darts for ITV Sport. Despite studying German at the University of Leeds in 1996, Oatley quickly decided that this wasn’t the path for her and went on to study print journalism and radio production, accelerating her into broadcasting.

10. Robin Skelton

In his lifetime, Skelton was the author of more than 100 books. These included not just poetry but novels, short stories and scholarly works. Skelton obtained a first-class honours degree at Leeds University before emigrating to Canada, where he enjoyed the role of ‘unofficial poet laureate’.

So that’s our list of the most notable alumni from the University of Leeds, featuring a whole host of celebrities. If you’re wanting to compare against other unis, check out the notable alumni from MMU to find Oscar-winning stars! You can also see which are the most popular unis that the rich and famous went to.

Last Updated on June 26, 2024

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