Jean Quan is the first woman and the first Asian American to be elected Mayor of Oakland and the first Asian American woman mayor of a major US City. She was also the first Asian American woman elected to the Oakland School Board and to the Oakland City Council.
Since her start in Oakland politics in 1989— as a parent trying to save the schools’ music and arts programs—Jean Quan has strived to make public institutions work for people. She is the past chair of the Asian American Municipal Officials and currently, a member of the National League of Cities, Central City Caucus, Big 10 California Cities, Emerald Cities, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and chair of the International Affairs Committee of the US Conference of Mayors and Chair of the Local Government Commission focused on smart growth planning policy.
She is a longtime Oakland resident whose family roots go back over 100 years in Oakland. Her children graduated from Oakland Public Schools, and her husband is a prominent physician known for his work for seniors, health reform, and public hospitals.
As a student at UC Berkeley, she was part of the movement that fought for creating an ethnic studies program. She will describe in a first-hand account how the university's engagement with the diverse community in nearby Oakland led to concrete, meaningful partnerships between academia and the world around it, including landmark civil rights victories such as the lawsuits over Japanese-American internments during World War II.
The title of her speech was "Diversity and Academia: A Partnership for Real-World Results."