Now in her fourth term as speaker, Pelosi made history in 2007 when she was the first woman elected to serve in that role. After serving as speaker for four years, she was House minority leader for eight years beginning in 2011. She returned to the position of speaker in 2019, when Democrats regained the House majority.
Pelosi spoke during the UCLA Luskin ceremony that started at 3 p.m. on June 10 on the patio outside of UCLA’s Kerckhoff Hall. A crowd of up to 1,000 graduating students, family members and other invited guests had been anticipated.
“Nancy Pelosi is a renowned leader who has skillfully guided California and the nation through some trials and tribulations — and many triumphs — during her long career as a public servant,” said Gary Segura, dean of the Luskin School. “She has also been a trailblazer in Congress and a role model for those who, like many of our students, may aspire to hold public office someday.
“I know she will inspire our graduates to continue their quest to make a meaningful difference in the world.”
As House speaker, Pelosi has championed legislation that has helped to lower health care costs, increase workers’ pay and promote the nation’s economic growth.
She has represented California’s 12th District in San Francisco as a member of Congress since 1987. She has led House Democrats for 19 years and previously served as House Democratic whip.
In 2013, Pelosi was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Seneca Falls, New York, the birthplace of the American women’s rights movement.
Working with then-President Barack Obama, who called Pelosi “an extraordinary leader for the American people,” she led the House’s passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in early 2009 to create and save millions of American jobs in the wake of a worldwide recession. Pelosi also led the passage through Congress of the landmark Affordable Care Act.
She has promoted legislation related to banking reform, consumer protection and funding for students. She has fought for women’s rights and sought to end pay discrimination. Pelosi’s many legislative accomplishments also include efforts to promote better nutrition for children and food safety.
Many of her efforts align with UCLA Luskin’s mission to promote social justice, including her efforts to repeal discriminatory policies such as the “don’t ask, don’t tell” prohibition against gay and lesbian people serving openly in the military.
The Luskin School is known for turning research into action, conducting academic studies that often lead to policy solutions. Many faculty, for example, are engaged in seeking ways to mitigate the growing effects of climate change. Pelosi has long been active in environmental causes, and she is known for 1989’s “Pelosi amendment,” which has become a tool to assess the potential environmental effects of development globally.
Pelosi graduated from Trinity College in Washington, D.C. She and her husband, Paul Pelosi, a native of San Francisco, have five children and nine grandchildren.
The Luskin School also hosted commencement for students earning graduate degrees at 9 a.m. on June 10. Actor, activist and UCLA alumnus George Takei was the keynote speaker.
Learn more about the 2022 Commencements at UCLA Luskin.