Renee Montagne ’73

Millions of Americans wake up to Montagne’s voice every morning as she teases out the day’s hard news, culture, and entertainment on NPR’s Morning Edition. A long-time voice on NPR, she has also hosted All Things Considered and worked for the science, national, and foreign desks, interviewing thousands of people from around the world and all walks of life. Since 9/11, Montagne has gone to Afghanistan six times, interviewing farmers and mullahs, women and poll workers, the president and an infamous warlord. Find Morning Edition on Facebook and Twitter @MorningEdition.

Arts and Entertainment

Warren Hellman ’55

Co-founder of the private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, Hellman (1934–2011) built a fortune that he willingly poured into local causes, including education, athletics, politics, and the arts. A banjo player, he made his most visible impact on San Francisco with the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, an annual free event drawing some 750,000 people and headlining favorites such as Emmylou Harris and Jimmie Dale Gilmore.

Arts and Entertainment, Business and Economics, Innovators

Joan Didion ’56

Joan–DidionOne of the nation’s most influential writers, Didion captures the mysteries of life and death in unflinching prose, reflecting on themes such as childhood, love, motherhood, aging, and grief. The Year of Magical Thinking, a response to the sudden death of her husband John Dunne, received the National Book Award in 2005 and has provided solace to readers as they prepare for the unavoidable losses we all endure. Her most recent book, Blue Nights, chronicles the death of her daughter, Quintana Roo, and her own struggles with whether she protected and loved Quintana as a mother should. In There Was Light, a book of essays by alumni, Didion wrote, “Without Berkeley, the world I know would have been narrowed, constricted, diminished: a more ordered and less risky world, but not the world I wanted — not free, not Berkeley, not me.”

Arts and Entertainment

Adam Duritz

Adam DuritzA soulful lyricist and singer, Duritz is the frontman for the Counting Crows, a hit band attracting fans of both classic and alternative rock. Their 1993 debut album, August and Everything After, enjoyed a 93-week chart run, and the song “Accidentally In Love,” featured in Shrek 2, was nominated for an Oscar, Golden Globe, and Grammy Award. When asked in a 2007 New York Times interview if he’d ever write a song about Cal, Duritz, a diehard Bears fan, said with a laugh, “I only write about things that make me miserable.” Follow Duritz on Twitter @countingcrows.

Arts and Entertainment

Jane McGonigal Ph.D. ’06

Jane_McGonigal3McGonigal has a vision that games will change the world. How? They take us on epic missions, present us with urgent challenges, and offer exhilarating rewards. A pioneer in alternate reality games that aim to improve real lives and solve problems such as poverty, hunger, and climate change, McGonigal includes EVOKE, Superstruct, and World Without Oil among her best-known projects. MIT Technology Review named her one of the top 35 innovators changing the world through technology. Follow McGonigal on Facebook or Twitter @avantgame.

Arts and Entertainment, Design, Innovators, Technology and Engineering

Kate ’01 and Laura ’01 Mulleavy

The Mulleavy sisters are the fashion design duo behind Rodarte, sold by more than 40 leading retailers worldwide. Melding elaborate details with imaginative shapes and textures, Rodarte’s masterful designs have caught the eye of international style icons, museums, even Hollywood — dancers donned their costumes in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan — and are reaping awards across the realms of fashion and art. Find Rodarte on Facebook or Twitter @officialrodarte.

Arts and Entertainment, Design, Innovators