Edmund G. Brown Jr. was born in San Francisco on April 7, 1938. He graduated from St. Ignatius High School in 1955 and entered Sacred Heart Novitiate, a Jesuit seminary. He later attended the University of California, Berkeley, graduating in 1961 before earning a J.D. at Yale Law School in 1964.
Brown was elected Trustee for the Los Angeles Community College District in 1969, Secretary of State in 1970 and Governor in 1974 and 1978. As Governor, he helped create millions of jobs, strengthened environmental protections and promoted renewable energy. After his governorship, Brown lectured and traveled widely, practiced law, served as chairman of the state Democratic Party and ran for president.
In 1998, Brown was elected Mayor of Oakland and helped revitalize its downtown and reduce crime, while also founding two high-performing charter schools. Brown was elected California Attorney General in 2006 and helped protect working families and consumers, pursue mortgage fraud and real estate scams, champion workers’ rights and crack down on violent crime.
Brown was elected to a third gubernatorial term in 2010 and to an historic fourth term in 2014. In his return to the Governor’s Office, Brown helped turn a $27 billion budget deficit into a surplus, spearheading successful campaigns to provide billions in new funding for California’s schools and establish a robust Rainy Day Fund to prepare for the next economic downturn. Under Brown, California added nearly 3 million new jobs, while enacting sweeping public safety, immigration, workers’ compensation, health care, water, pension and economic development reforms. California also established nation-leading targets to protect the environment and fight climate change during Brown’s governorship.
Brown serves as chair of the California-China Climate Institute housed at UC Berkeley, executive chair of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and on the board of the Council on Criminal Justice.
In October 2018, Brown joined the nonprofit organization Bulletin of Atomic Scientists as executive chair working alongside the Bulletin’s three board chairs to further the organization’s mission of providing the information needed to reduce manmade existential threats such as nuclear war, climate change, and disruptive technologies.