Janet Napolitano - MPSF Speaker Series
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  • Oakland Series 650.343.8001
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Ranked one of the world’s most powerful women, Napolitano has led large complex federal and state organizations, was Secretary of Homeland Security, Governor of Arizona, served as 20th President of the University of California. 

Mar. 28-31, 2022, 7:30PM PT

Janet Napolitano

Janet Napolitano

Janet Napolitano, Former US Homeland Security Secretary and Governor, 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 to 2013, Governor of Arizona from 2003 to 2009, Attorney General of Arizona from 1998 to 2003, and U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona from 1993 to 1997. 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. She served as the 20th president of the University of California. 

Ms. Napolitano was nominated to serve as the third Secretary of Homeland Security by President Barack Obama in 2009. In this role she led the nation’s efforts to prevent terrorist attacks, secure its borders, respond to natural disasters and build domestic resiliency. Under Ms. Napolitano’s leadership, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) transformed its security capabilities, becoming a more efficient, cohesive and effective organization. She oversaw critical enhancements to aviation security and significantly enhanced DHS’s readiness to meet and combat evolving cyber threats. Ms. Napolitano also created TSA Pre-Check and was the architect of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which provided hope and relief for thousands of undocumented young people across the nation. During her tenure, the Department shifted its approach to immigration enforcement, better ensuring public safety while simultaneously creating a more humane and rational enforcement system. Ms. Napolitano also oversaw historic enhancements to border security. She was the first woman to lead DHS and is to date its longest serving Secretary. 

From 2013 to 2020, Ms. Napolitano served as the 20th President of the University of California, a public research 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 285,000 students, 223,000 faculty and staff, an operating budget of $39.5 billion, and two million living alumni. In 2017, under Ms. Napolitano’s leadership, the University of California was the first university in the country to file a lawsuit to stop the federal government’s rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Injunctions granted in the case have allowed more than 117,000 DACA recipients— including members of the UC community—to renew their authorizations to live and work in the United States. 

In 2014, she was appointed a tenured faculty member of UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy. She serves on the Council of the American Law Institute and is a board member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In March of 2019, Napolitano published How Safe Are We: Homeland Security Since 9/11. 

Ms. 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.

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