4 UC Berkeley professors, alumni likely to serve in Biden administration

Photo of Joe Biden's Nomination
Four members of the greater UC Berkeley community are likely to serve leadership positions within the incoming Biden Administration. Top, Left to Right: Alumni Adewale Adeyemo and Alejandro Mayorkas, Bottom, Left to Right: Goldman School of Public Policy faculty member Jennifer Granholm and Haas School of Business Professor Emeritus Janet Yellen

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Four members of the greater UC Berkeley community, including professors and alumni, are likely to serve leadership positions within the incoming Biden Administration, as of press time.

President-elect Joe Biden has chosen Haas School of Business Professor Emeritus Janet Yellen to serve as secretary of treasury. Goldman School of Public Policy faculty member and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm is expected to take on the role of secretary of energy.

Two campus alumni, Alejandro Mayorkas and Adewale Adeyemo, are also expected to serve within the administration. Mayorkas has been selected to lead the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, and Adeyemo is Biden’s pick for deputy treasury secretary.

If confirmed by the Senate, Yellen would become the first woman to serve as treasury secretary and would play a critical role in guiding Biden’s decisions concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, among other issues. Yellen was also the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve and served as a campus faculty member for 26 years, according to a Haas school press release.

“We are proud and excited to hear the news that she will be the new president’s top economic advisor at this very difficult time for the country,” said Haas Dean Ann Harrison in the press release. “She also carries on a proud tradition of Berkeley women in economic leadership roles.”

Adeyemo, who served as former President Barack Obama’s international economics advisor, would also break new ground by serving as the treasury’s first Black deputy. He previously told the New York Times that, through this role, he hopes to mitigate inequality, while also helping to bolster the middle class.

Having served as deputy secretary of the DHS under the Obama administration, Mayorkas would be the first Latino and immigrant to serve in this position.

“When I was very young, the United States provided my family and me a place of refuge,” Mayorkas said on Twitter. “Now, I have been nominated to be the DHS Secretary and oversee the protection of all Americans and those who flee persecution in search of a better life for themselves and their loved ones.”

Granholm, who specializes in clean energy policy, would also take on a significant role in the Biden administration, if confirmed, according to a campus press release.

More specifically, she would oversee 17 national laboratories, along with the National Nuclear Security Administration and other research initiatives, the press release read.

“The Department of Energy is going to be central to almost everything in the Biden-Harris plan, from energy transformation to re-entering the Paris Climate Accords,” said Goldman school professor Dan Kammen in the press release. “ I’m just so impressed that they made this choice. I think she’s ideal for the job.”

Contact Mallika Seshadri at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @SeshadriMallika.