President Obama and Berkeley seem to be having a love affair.

With the White House’s recent nomination of UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and its expected nomination of Janet Yellen, an economics professor emeritus, for the No. 2 spot at the Federal Reserve, there will be at least 11 people from Berkeley who have assisted the president.

Here is a run-down:

Steven Chu is the Secretary of Energy. Chu, a Nobel-Prize winner, is the former director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Christina Romer is chair of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors. She was a professor of economics at UC Berkeley.

Arun Majumdar is the director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy at the Department of Energy. He was the Associate Laboratory Director for Energy and Environment at Lawrence Berkeley Lab and a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering at UC Berkeley.

Thomas Kalil is the associate director for policy at the Office of Science and Technology. He ran the Big Ideas @ Berkeley program at UC Berkeley.

Cecilia Muñoz is the director for intergovernmental affairs at the White House staff.  She has a master’s degree in Latin American Studies from UC Berkeley,

Tim Skoczek is a press assistant in the White House Office of Media Affairs. He is a Berkeley native.

And in a less formal capacity:

Christopher Edley, Dean of the Berkeley School of Law. Edley was Obama’s professor at Harvard Law School and was an advisor during his presidential campaign.  Edley served on Obama’s transition team and is close friends with the president, although he has recently distanced himself by criticizing Obama’s performance and recent education initiative.

Laura Tyson a professor at Haas School of Business, and Robert Reich, a professor at Goldman School of Public Policy, both served on Obama’s 17-person transition team. Both served in the Clinton Administration, Tyson as his Chair of Economic Advisors and Reich as his Secretary of Labor.

Berkeley is present in other aspects of the White House, as well. The Obamas recently decided to display the picture “Berkeley 52” (shown left) by Richard Diebenkorn. The artist lived much of his life in Berkeley.

And an even more distant connection: On April 12, UC Berkeley extension will be hosting a panel that will assess the state of Obama’s presidency. It will feature Mark Z. Barabak of the Los Angeles Times, Mark Halperin, author of Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, Palin and McCain, and the Race of a Lifetime, Peter D. Hart, Chairman of Peter D. Hart Research Associates, and pollster for the Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll, and Stephen F. Hayward, F.K. Weyerhaeuser Fellow, American Enterprise Institute, and author of The Age of Reagan: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order and The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution.

Frances Dinkelspiel

Frances Dinkelspiel (co-founder) is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California,...

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3 Comments

  1. Tim Skoczek is a native of Berkley, a neighborhood in DETROIT where he attended University of Detroit Jesuit High School. 
    He is not from California. 
    Sloppy.

  2. Tim Skoczek is a native of Berkley, a neighborhood in DETROIT where he attended University of Detroit Jesuit High School. 
    He is not from California. 
    Sloppy.

  3. I find it odd that UC Berkeley has a panel on Obama’s presidency that seems to be dominated by Beltway conventional wisdom (Halperin) and near-to-neanderthal conservatism (AEI’s Hayward).

    Surely the university can do far better than that?