Message to Alumni

We always hope to strengthen ties with our 2,000-member alumni community from 40 countries across the globe. We welcome your suggestions about what news, events and features you'd like to see.

-The Signet Society Alumni


Signet members can be Harvard undergraduates (elected in their Sophomore, Junior, or Senior year), graduates (alumni elected as undergrads), and associates (from the Harvard community of faculty, administrators, and grad students). Occasionally, the Capital A governing board elects honorary members who don't quite fit into other categories. 

Members are chosen with regard to their intellectual, literary and artistic ability and achievements, and with regard for the purposes for which the Society was founded. Any Signet member may nominate candidates for membership. Undergraduate and grad-student candidates are asked to supply a C.V. and samples of work.

All members are welcome at lunches, teas, the Annual Dinner, and other activities, both at the Signet House and worldwide.

Selected Alumni

The Signet has been nourished by great teachers, scholars, philosophers, and artists who have held a central place in American cultural life. Two have been presidents of the United States.

Notable members include:

Arts and letters:

James Agee, novelist, screenwriter, poet, author
Conrad Aiken, author
John Ashbery, poet, writer
John Berendt, writer
Andy Borowitz, writer, comedian, actor
Leonard Bernstein, composer and conductor
Earl Derr Biggers, novelist and playwright
T. S. Eliot, poet, author
Robert Frost, poet
Matt Haimovitz, cellist
Donald Hall, poet
Mason Hammond, Classics scholar
Abbott Lawrence Lowell, Harvard President, historian
Yo-Yo Ma, cellist
Norman Mailer, writer
Sarah Manguso, poet
Samuel Eliot Morison, author, educator, maritime historian, retired Rear Admiral
Charles Eliot Norton, scholar
George Plimpton, writer, journalist
George Santayana, philosopher, poet, novelist
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., historian
Wallace Stevens, poet
John Updike, writer
John Hall Wheelock, poet


Frank Rich, critic, writer
Walter Isaacson, writer, biographer 
Hendrik Hertzberg, senior editor, The New Yorker
Joseph Lelyveld, journalist, author
Reihan Salam, journalist
Alessandra Stanley, critic, writer
Richard Tofel, journalist, author

Media and entertainment:

Tommy Lee Jones, actor
Rashida Jones, actress
John Lithgow, actor
Donal Logue, actor
Conan O'Brien, comedian
Natalie Portman, actress
James "Toofer" Spurlock, fictional character on television show 30 Rock
Whit Stillman, writer-director
Tom Werner, producer, Red Sox co-owner
Alan "Scooter" Zackheim, reality show winner Beauty and the Geek


James B. Conant, scholar, chemist
Charles W. Eliot, Harvard President, chemist, mathematician
William James, psychologist and philosopher
Thomas Kuhn, philosopher
Andrew Weil, author, physician, established field of integrative medicine

Diplomacy, national security:

Charles Joseph Bonaparte, grandson of Jérôme Bonaparte (youngest brother of Emperor Napoleon I), United States Cabinet Member, and Signet Society's first president.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
President Theodore Roosevelt
Caspar Weinberger, former Secretary of Defense
Benazir Bhutto, late Prime Minister of Pakistan


Chuck Schumer, U.S. Senator from New York
Jay Rockefeller, U.S. Senator from West Virginia
William Weld, former Massachusetts Governor
Mark Penn, pollster, author