After studying history at Berkeley, Stevens, like so many graduates, joined the Peace Corps and taught English in Morocco. This experience sparked an enduring affection for the Middle East that led to a long-term successful career in the foreign service with postings in several countries. As the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, he strongly supported the revolution to unseat Moammar Gaddafi and was a champion for the country’s emerging democracy. He was killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. In a tribute, President Obama said of Stevens, “He was a role model to all who worked with him and to the young diplomats who aspire to walk in his footsteps.”
When Waters opened the world-famous restaurant Chez Panisse in 1971, she never imagined that offering “real food” would help spark a revolution. More than anyone else, she is responsible for the movement to eat fresh foods that are grown locally and sustainably. Her latest focus, the Edible Schoolyard Project, aims to get children into the garden and kitchen to change the way we eat, one student at time. Follow her on Twitter @AliceWaters.
Governor Brown is both one of California’s youngest governors — having served two terms from 1975–83, during which time he focused on energy efficiency, crime fighting, environmental protection, and farmworkers’ rights — and its oldest. Since reclaiming the title in 2010, he has cut the state budget deficit and government inefficiencies, raised the clean energy goal to 33 percent, and is seeking new revenues to protect education and public safety. He also served as Oakland’s mayor from 1998–2006, revitalizing a downtown that had been dormant for decades. Find Governor Brown on Facebook and Twitter @JerryBrownGov.
The daughter of a former slave, Jackson (1902–1996) was one of only 17 African-American students at Berkeley when she started in 1920. During her freshman year, she and a few friends co-founded the Rho chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority to help make the campus more hospitable to young African-American women. Jackson went on to become the first African-American woman certified to teach in California and the first black teacher in the Oakland public schools.
While Goldman (1920–2010) made a living as an insurance broker, he made his name as a philanthropist. In addition to the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, which has dispensed more than $680 million locally and internationally since 1951, the Goldman Environmental Prize has honored more than 150 grassroots organizers for addressing some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. Often facing great personal risk, winners include those who have sought justice for victims of a deadly gas leak in Bhopal, India, led the fight for dolphin-safe tuna, halted deforestation in Brazil, and fought oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
From the classroom to the lab to the White House, Chu has addressed the enormity of climate change through the tireless pursuit of renewable and sustainable energy sources. Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for developing laser techniques to cool and trap atoms and molecules, Chu is now the U.S. secretary of energy. He is charged with implementing President Obama’s ambitious agenda to invest in clean energy, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and create new jobs. The Cal Alumni Association named Chu its 2011 Alumnus of the Year. Follow him on Facebook.