NEWSFLASH: Janet Napolitano Nominated to Head University of California

She was governor of Arizona for six years, and since 2009 has been secretary of Homeland Security in President Obama’s cabinet: Now she’s been chosen to become the first woman president in the history of the University of California. Said Sherry Lansing, the UC regent who led the search committee to replace Mark G. Yudof, who resigned after five years, said that Napolitano:

was an effective advocate for public education [as governor] … Those who know her best say that a passion for education is in her DNA.

President Bill Clinton’s secretary of health and human services, Donna Shalala, also was named to head a university (University of Miami) after leaving the cabinet, but she had previously been president of Hunter College and chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Napolitano, 55, an attorney by training, doesn’t have a background in university leadership  (though her father Leonard was the longtime dean of the University of New Mexico School of Medicine), but according to the Los Angeles Times,

The UC regents appear to want a public figure who can attract more revenue while using her stature to bring more financial discipline to the system.

It only took the University of California 145 years to choose a women president. We think it’s about time.

Photo of Napolitano from Flickr user The National Guard under license from Creative Commons 2.0


The late Michele Kort—a dedicated feminist—was the senior editor of Ms. magazine for 13 years. She died June 26, 2015, after a long battle with ovarian cancer. She worked for decades in field of journalism, covering sports, music, culture, art and feminist issues for publications like LA Weekly, The Advocate, Shape, Redbook, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Songwriter, InStyle, Living Fit, Fit Pregnancy, Vegetarian Times, Fitness, UCLA Magazine, Women's Sports and Fitness and more. She is the author of four books, including a biography of singer/songwriter Laura Nyro, Soul Picnic: The Music and Passion of Laura Nyro. Rest in power, Michele.