Janet Napolitano was named the 20th president of the University of California on July 18, 2013, and took office on Sept. 30, 2013. She leads a university system with 10 campuses, five medical centers, three affiliated national laboratories, and a statewide agriculture and natural resources program.
As UC president, she has launched initiatives to stabilize in-state tuition and achieve financial stability for the University; improve the community college transfer process; achieve carbon neutrality across the UC system by 2025; accelerate the translation of UC research into products and services; focus UC resources on local and global food issues; and strengthen the University’s engagement with its Mexican peer institutions of higher education. She has also implemented the Fair Wage/Fair Work plan, which established a $15 minimum wage at UC for employees and contract workers – the first for a public university – and implemented a series of reforms to ensure that all UC contractors are complying with wage and workplace condition laws and policies. In 2014, she was appointed a tenured faculty member of UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy.
Napolitano is a distinguished public servant with a record of leading large, complex organizations. She served as Secretary of Homeland Security from 2009-13, as Governor of Arizona from 2003-09, as Attorney General of Arizona from 1998-2003, and as U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona from 1993-97.
Napolitano earned a B.S. degree (summa cum laude in Political Science) in 1979 from Santa Clara University, where she was Phi Beta Kappa, a Truman Scholar, and the university’s first female valedictorian. She received her law degree in 1983 from the University of Virginia School of Law. In 2010, she was awarded the prestigious Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal (Law), the University of Virginia’s highest external honor. In 2015, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.