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slides: The Brown Alumni Who Run This Country

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


With four state Governors, two members of the U.S. House of Representatives, plus a handful of diplomats and advisors; graduates of Brown University are doing great things for this country. This is certainly no new trend, as Brown has a rich history of public leadership dating back to its first chancellor, Stephen Hopkins, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Throughout time, we have seen many leaders pass through the Van Wickle Gates on their way to some of the top positions in this Nation.

Current Vice Chair for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and Brown University graduate, Janet Yellen was recently nominated by Barack Obama to succeed Ben Bernanke as the Chair of the Federal Reserve. If confirmed, she will become the first woman in U.S. history to hold that title. While that is quite an accomplishment, she is certainly not the only Brunonian currently serving an integral role in our government.

How Else Are Brown Grads Shaping The World?

Not only have Brown alumni become great leaders, many have been trailblazers, distinctively carving their paths to America's highest offices. For instance, David Cicilline became the first openly gay mayor of a U.S. Capital when became Mayor of Providence in 2003. Or take, Jim Yong Kim, who is the current Head of the World Bank, and was previously President of Dartmouth College, the first Asian-American leader of an Ivy League institution.

Brown graduates' reign on the leadership of this country isn't exclusive to the public sector. Business leaders such as Bank of America's President and CEO, Brian Moynihan was captain of Brown's rugby team prior to his 1981 graduation. The Chief Financial Officer of Facebook, Inc., David Ebersman earned his degree in Economics from Brown in 1991.

Brown also produces some of the most prolific street-level activists in the world. A pair of 2002 graduates, Katherine Chon and Derek Ellerman co-founded the Polaris Project, a non-profit organization working to prevent human trafficking. While a 1987 graduate, John Bonifaz, went on to establish the non-partisan National Voting Rights Institute.

So while it may be a bit of an overstatement to claim that alumni from Brown are taking over the world, it is definitely fair to say they play a major role in running it.  


Related Slideshow: The Brown Alumni Who Run This Country

Let's take a look at the Brown University graduates who currently play vital roles in running this country:

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Jack A. Markell

Governor of Delaware (2009 - Current)

Class of 1982

After obtaining his undergraduate degree in economics and graduate studies from Brown in 1982, Governor Markell went on to earn his MBA at the University of Chicago.  He left the private sector in 1998 upon his election as State Treasurer of Delaware, a role which he served until becoming his home state's Governor in 2009.


Photo: SenRockefeller, Flickr

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Piyush "Bobby" Jindal

Governor of Louisiana (2008 - Current)

Chairman of the Republican Governors Association

Class of 1992

Governor Jindal is one of the more recognizable names to come out of Brown, largely due to his role in dealing with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill off of his state's coast in 2010. He earned degrees in biology and public policy from Brown in 1991, and has since held many public offices; including a term in Congress as the Representative of Louisiana's 1st District. 


Photo: Derek Bridges, Flickr

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Lincoln Chafee

Governor of Rhode Island (2011 - Current)

Class of 1975

Rhode Island born and bred, Governor Chafee has been in the public sector for most of his adult life. After serving as Mayor of Warwick, he followed in his father John Chafee's footsteps, becoming a U.S. Senator before becoming Rhode Island's 74th Governor.  He recently announced that he would not seek re-election in 2014.
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Maggie Hassan

Governor of New Hampshire (2013 - Current)

Class of 1980

After Graduating from Brown in 1980, Governor Hassan went on to the Northeastern University School of Law.  After working as an attorney for several years, Hassan went on to hold a seat in the New Hampshire State Senate for three terms before losing her seat in 2010.  She won last year's Gubernatorial election, carrying every county in New Hampshire.


Photo: Roger H. Goun, Wikimedia

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David Cicilline

U.S. Representative - Rhode Island - 1st District (2011 - Current)

Class of 1983

Along with John F. Kennedy Jr., Cicilline established Brown University's branch of the College Democrats of America.  He held several roles in Rhode Island politics, including Mayor of Providence from 2003 to 2011 before representing Rhode Island's 1st District in the U.S. House. 

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Dan Maffei

U.S. Representative - New York - 24th District (2013 - Current)

Formerly U.S. Representative - New York - 25th District (2009 - 2011)

Class of 1990

Representative Maffei received his degree from Brown in history before beginning a career in journalism.  He worked as a reporter and producer for ABC's Syracuse, NY affiliate for several years, then worked behind the scenes in politics until deciding to run for office himself. 

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John Hugh "Buddy" Dyer

Mayor of Orlando, FL (2003 - Current)

Class of 1980

Mayor Dyer received a law degree from the University of Florida after earning his Bachelor's Degree from Brown.  He went on to serve ten years in Florida's State Senate before becoming Orlando's 32nd Mayor.


Photo: Carol Cox, Flickr

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Janet Yellen

Federal Reserve Board of Governors: Vice Chair (2010 - Current)

Federal Reserve Board of Governors: Chair (Nominated)

Class of 1967

Yellen graduated summa cum laude from Brown University in 1967 with a degree in Economics. She went on to hold many prestigious titles in the field of economics, including serving as Chair of the Council of Economic advisers under President Bill Clinton.  She was recently nominated by Barrack Obama to become the Chair of the Federal Reserve, if confirmed, she will become the first woman in U.S. history to hold that title. 

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Richard G. Olson

U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan (2012 - Current)

Class of 1981

Ambassador Olson graduated with honors from Brown with 1991 with a degree in law and society.  Before being appointed to his current role, he also served as Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, U.S. Consul General in Dubai, and as Deputy Chief of Mission to the the U.S. Mission to NATO.

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Rosemary DiCarlo

U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations (2010 - Current)

Class of 1969 (M.A. 1971, Ph.D. 1979)


Ambassador Dicarlo has led a very distinguished career in diplomacy following her graduation from Brown University.  She has received multiple honors, including the Department of Sate's Sustained Superior Achievement Award.  She also served as acting U.S. Ambassador to the UN in July of 2013. 

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Thomas Perez

U.S. Secretary of Labor (2013 - Current)

Class of 1983

Following his 1983 graduation from Brown, Secretary Perez began a long and distinguished career in the public sector. Before the 2013 appointment to his current role, Perez worked for the Department of Justice as Assistant Attorney General in their Civil Rights Division.

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Jim Yong Kim

President of the World Bank Group (2012 - Current)

Class of 1982

Before being elected as the 12th President of the World Bank Group, Dr. Jim Yong Kim was a shining star at Brown.  He graduated magna cum laude in 1982, and went on to become a physician and anthropologist, serving as an adviser to the World Health Organization.  In 2009, he was named President of Dartmouth College, becoming the first Asian-American to head an Ivy League school.

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Norman L. Eisen

U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic (2011 - Current)

Class of 1985

After graduating with honors from Brown in 1985, Ambassador Eisen went on to study at Harvard Law and was classmates owith future President, Barack Obama.  In the private sector, Eisen made a name for himself, earning the distinction as one of Washington's top lawyers by Washingtonian Magazine. 

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Adam Namm

U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador (2012 - Current)

Class of 1985

Ambassador Namm graduated magna cum laude from Brown in 1985 with a degree in  International Relations.  He has spent his entire career in foreign service, and was the Acting Director of the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations before being appointed to his current post. 

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David Wade

Chief of Staff to Secretary of State John Kerry (2013 - Current)

Class of 1997

While at Brown, Mr. Wade was awarded the prestigious Harry S. Truman scholarship.  He went on to serve some of this Nation's top leaders, first acting as Joseph Biden's National Spokesman and Communications Advisor. He then became Senator John Kerry's Chief of Staff in 2008, transitioning with the same title in Kerry's new role as Secretary of State.


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Graduates of Brown University are doing TERRIBLE things TO this country.

Comment #1 by LENNY BRUCE on 2013 10 16

I despise the ad for DEEPWATER WIND on this page. They are the bad guys who want to sell electrical power that would raise cost to the ratepayers and at the same time compromise the aesthetic beautiful of Block Island and Narragansett.

Why are they advertising? Because they benefit whether this 38 Studios-like deal makes sense or not.

You'd be against Deepwater Wind if you love Block Island.

You'd be against Deepwater Wind if you love Narragansett.

You'd be against Deepwater Wind if you don't want to pay more for your electrical power.

You'd be against Deepwater Wind if you don't want your children to have to pay to get rid the eventually abandoned wind turbines or be forced to watch them rust.

You'd be against Deepwater Wind if you care about alternative energy and wind power in particular because this project is going to give the whole movement a bad name.

Comment #2 by James Berling on 2013 10 17

James Berling -

Agree. Completely. Thank you. The cost of and logistics involved in maintaining these contrivances, apart from all the other glaring pitfalls, should give people pause.

Or perhaps that's another built-in, twisted aspect: perpetual revenue from perpetual maintenance.

Windmills contribute little to the power grid, but they do a nice job of destabilizing it. What's to go wrong?

It's inconceivable after these things were exposed thirty years ago, that here we are, hearing all about them again. It's a nightmare that just doesn't end.

Comment #3 by paul zecchino on 2013 10 17

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