Great Neck Alumni
From the


Famous Great Neck Alumni Pages include those graduates who have achieved success and prominence in their chosen field of endeavor. They are role models to past, present and future students because of their intellect, talent, creativity, skill, diligence, and commitment to excellence. They exemplify the capacity in all of us to aspire to greatness, follow our dreams and make a contribution to society. Their distinguished careers and lives are both a source of community pride and an inspiration to our individual and collective potential.

Amy Bloom, Author
Class of 1974
Great Neck North High School

Mothers Who Write: Amy Bloom
New York State Writers Institute: Amy Bloom
Kenneth Cole, Designer
Class of 1972
Great Neck North High School

CNN: Kenneth Cole on right track
Kenneth Cole Online Store

Amy Bloom grew up in Baker Hill and Kings Point in Great Neck and was one of the editors of an underground newspaper called "The Rat" at North High School before graduating in 1974. After completing her studies at Wesleyan University, Amy went on to become a successful author and psychotherapist. Her publishing credits include "Come to Me," and a novel entitled "Love Invents Us," which is set in Great Neck. Her most recent collection, "A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You" was published to critical acclaim.

One decade after graduating from Great Neck North High School in 1972, Kenneth Cole founded his own fashion company, Kenneth Cole Productions, in 1982. Beginning with a ladies' footwear collection, the company now manufactures and distributed men's and women's footwear, accessories and clothing. In 1985,he was the first member of the fashion community to take a public stand in the fight against AIDS and his advertising campaigns garner worldwide attention for their humor and social consciousness.

Dr. Peter Diamandis, Spaceflight Pioneer
Class of 1979
Great Neck South High School

Dr. Peter Diamandis X Prize Foundation Biography
Interview on Space Colonization and Philanthropy
Dan Raviv, Reporter/Author
Class of 1972
Great Neck North High School

Dan Raviv Biography
Untangling a Web of Intrigue at a Comic Book Giant

Peter Diamandis daydreamed about space travel as his fifth grade teacher discussed the planets. He was inspired by the Apollo 11 moonwalk to build a four-stage rocket and try to launch it from Roosevelt Field. A graduate of Great Neck South High, Diamandis went on to study premed and earn a degree in aeronautics and astronautics from M.I.T., and then went on to Harvard Medical School. He co-founded the International Space University in Strasbourg, France in 1987, International Microspace in 1988, Zero Gravity in 1984, and the X Prize Foundation in 1996, which today holds competitions in education, global development, energy and the environment, life sciences, and space and undersea exploration. His larger goal of launching private space travel is becoming a reality.

Dan Raviv was locally focused as a Great Neck North High School student, but his reach expanded to an international audience as a reporter and author. Following his graduation from Harvard University in 1976, Dan began a career in broadcasting that would span over two decades in 35 countries as a foreign correspondent for CBS News. He is now a Washington-based National Correspondent on CBS Radio. He anchored much of the coverage of 9/11, and won a Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists for his coverage of the 2000 Bush-Gore election. His book, "Every Spy a Prince: The Complete History of Israel's Intelligence Community," was on the New York Times list for four months. His latest book, Comic Wars, is the story of the Marvel Comics bankruptcy.

Jimmy Roberts, Composer/Pianist
Class of 1970
Great Neck North High School

Seth Swirsky, Song Writer/Baseball Author/Filmmaker
Class of 1978
Great Neck South High School

Seth.com Biography
Great Neck Filmmaker Tells Festival Goers of Making Beatles Stories

Jimmy Roberts, Class of 1970, Great Neck North High School, started playing piano by ear around the age of 7. By 11, he was playing songs in restaurants and as a teenager, he was a member of a rock band. Jimmy graduated from the Manhattan School of Music in 1977, where he studied with the noted pianist, Constance Keene. Jimmy is an acclaimed composer and pianist, whose original score for the 1996 production, "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change," contributed to the artistic and box office success of this second longest running Off Broadway musical, which received both the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Musical. The production has been performed in 25 countries outside of the United States, as well as in all 50 states. His other musical scores include "The Thing About Men," a children's musical, "The Velveteen Rabbit," individual songs to two other Off Broadway revues, "My Name is Alice" and "Pets!," and the theme music for the weekly PBS TV show, "Theater Talk."

At the 2011 Gold Coast International Film Festival, Seth Swirsky thanked his Great Neck Public Schools fifth grade teacher, Marion Grief. The Great Neck native won a jingle contest for Thomas's English Muffin at the age of 20 while a student at Dartmouth University and went on to become a pop music songwriter for Chappell Music, best known for Taylor Dayne's Grammy-nominated hit "Tell It to My Heart" and "Prove Your Love," as well as Air Supply's "After All," Al Green's "Love is a Beautiful Thing," and Celine Dion's "You Give Enough Love." Seth is the author of three books, "Baseball Letters," "Every Pitcher Tells A Story," and "Something to Write Home About." In 2004, he released the album "Instant Pleasure" which won an L.A. Music award for Best Pop Album. In 2007, he released a second album "The Red Button" and later released "As Far as Yesterday Goes" and "Watercolor Day." In 2012, he became a filmmaker with the release of "Beatles Stories." Seth has three children and lives in Los Angeles.


Ned Witkin, Optometrist/Inventor
Class of 1974
Great Neck South High School

Emory Eye Center Faculty: In Memoriam
The Emory Wheel - Emory eye doctor joined 2 fields of study...


Dr. Ned Witkin had vision even as a senior at Great Neck South High School in 1974. It's not surprising, then, that he went on to become a world-renowned optometrist and inventor. He was, until his passing on January 29, 2004, Director of Optometric Services and Low Vision at Emory University's Eye Center, where he pioneered the joining of optometry with ophthalmology in Emory's medical school. He co-developed the Jordy, high-tech "eyeglasses" that improve vision for the legally blind, and reported its beneficial results on "Good Morning America." Patients from around the world consulted with him, including Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He developed vision screening programs at the neighborhood health clinics of Grady Memorial Hospital and created the vision plan for Emory employees. Before he died, he planned and designed the state-of-the-art new optometric and low vision clinic that is opening as part of Emory's Eye Center in 2004.