Janet Napoli­tano
Under­grad­uate com­mence­ment speaker
Hon­orary degree: Doctor of Public Service

Janet Napoli­tano is the 20th pres­i­dent of the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­fornia, having taken office in Sep­tember 2013. She leads a uni­ver­sity system with 10 cam­puses, five med­ical cen­ters, three affil­i­ated national lab­o­ra­to­ries, and a statewide agri­cul­ture and nat­ural resources pro­gram. The UC system has more than 234,000 stu­dents, about 208,000 fac­ulty and staff, more than 1.6 mil­lion living alumni and an annual oper­ating budget of more than $24 billion.

Napoli­tano is a dis­tin­guished public ser­vant with a record of leading large, com­plex orga­ni­za­tions at the fed­eral and state levels. 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. She began her career in 1983 as a clerk for Judge Mary M. Schroeder of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Cir­cuit and prac­ticed at the law firm of Lewis & Roca in Phoenix, where she became a partner in 1989.

As the nation’s third Sec­re­tary of Home­land Secu­rity, Napoli­tano headed a depart­ment com­prised of 22 agen­cies and direc­torates and whose mis­sions include coun­tert­er­rorism, border secu­rity, immi­gra­tion, cyber­se­cu­rity, and dis­aster response and recovery. The depart­ment sup­ports 12 Cen­ters of Excel­lence through a con­sor­tium of hun­dreds of uni­ver­si­ties gen­er­ating ideas for new secu­rity technologies.

As gov­ernor of Ari­zona, Napoli­tano focused on edu­ca­tion, from pre-​​kindergarten through public higher edu­ca­tion. She was the first woman to chair the National Gov­er­nors Asso­ci­a­tion and was named one of the nation’s top five gov­er­nors by Time mag­a­zine. Forbes mag­a­zine recently named her as one of the 10 most pow­erful women in the world.

The recip­ient of numerous awards and honors, Napoli­tano was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Ser­vice by the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars at the Smith­sonian Insti­tu­tion in 2006. In 2012, she received the Anti-​​Defamation League’s William and Naomi Gorowitz Insti­tute Ser­vice Award, which is given for out­standing achieve­ments in com­bating ter­rorism, extremism, and injustice.

A New York City native, Napoli­tano grew up in Pitts­burgh, Pa., and Albu­querque, N.M., where her father was dean of the Uni­ver­sity of New Mexico School of Med­i­cine. She earned a bach­elor of arts (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 juris doctor in 1983 from the Uni­ver­sity of Vir­ginia School of Law.