Women’s Center to honor Arizona’s
trailblazing Gov. Janet Napolitano|
2004 Distinguished Alumna
|Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano visits
an Arizona elementary school’s all-day kindergarten
program March 24.
In 2003, Janet Napolitano, a 1983 U.Va. Law
became the 21st governor of Arizona and the first woman
to succeed another woman as any state’s
governor. In recognition of her accomplishments in law and public service, the
University of Virginia Women’s Center will honor Napolitano with its 2004
Distinguished Alumna Award on April 21.
After graduating from Santa Clara University, where she won
a prestigious Truman Scholarship, Napolitano attended
the U.Va. School of Law. During that time,
she held a Dillard Fellowship, a student-mentoring program that focuses on
research and writing, and was elected to the Raven Society, the University’s
honor society for academic achievement and service to U.Va.
Early in her legal career, she successfully argued before
the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that churches
should be protected from governmental searches,
in the now-famous sanctuary case. She also served on the team that represented
Anita Hill in the U.S. Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee
Napolitano became the U.S. attorney for the district of Arizona in
1993, and in 1998, was elected attorney general of the state. As
was a fierce protector of children and a tireless advocate for women, senior
citizens and the environment. She created the first Office for Women as
part of the attorney general’s office, making issues affecting women a top priority.
In 2002, Napolitano entered Arizona’s gubernatorial race, campaigning on
a plan to eliminate the state’s $1 billion budget deficit, stimulate the
economy and save Arizona’s deteriorating public schools. She won the election
with the support of a broad coalition of voters, building a bipartisan base as
a Democrat in a strong Republican state.
Napolitano’s public lecture on “Closing the Leadership Gap: The Necessity
for Women in Leadership Positions,” to be held April 21 at 4:15 p.m. in
the Law School’s Caplin Auditorium, is part of the Women’s Center
series on “Virginia 2020: Innovations in Public Service.” There
will be a reception following her talk.