Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano prepares to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill April 23, 2013, in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano prepares to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill April 23, 2013, in Washington, DC.
CNN —  

Here’s a look at the life of the former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano.

Personal

Birth date: November 29, 1957

Birth place: New York, New York

Birth name: Janet Ann Napolitano

Father: Leonard Michael Napolitano, anatomy professor and Dean, University of New Mexico School of Medicine

Mother: Jane Marie (Winer) Napolitano

Education: Santa Clara University, B.S., 1979; University of Virginia, J.D., 1983

Other Facts

Grew up in Pennsylvania and New Mexico.

First female valedictorian at Santa Clara University in California.

Lifetime member of the Girl Scouts of America.

Enjoys hiking and tennis.

Is a big fan of Arizona professional basketball and baseball teams.

Timeline

1983-1984 - Law clerk for Judge Mary Schroeder of the US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

1984-1993 - Associate, and later partner at Lewis & Roca in Phoenix.

1991 - Member of the legal team representing Anita Hill during the sexual harassment investigation of US Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.

1993-1997 - US Attorney for the District of Arizona.

1999-2002 - Attorney General of Arizona. She is the first woman to hold this position.

July 25, 2000 - Undergoes a successful mastectomy on her right breast for cancer.

January 6, 2003-January 21, 2009 - The first Democrat in 12 years to be governor of Arizona.

August 7, 2006-July 23, 2007 - First female chair of the National Governors Association.

December 1, 2008 - President-elect Barack Obama nominates Napolitano to be the Secretary of Homeland Security.

January 15, 2009 - Napolitano’s confirmation hearing before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee begins.

January 21, 2009 - The third Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and the first woman to hold the position.

July 12, 2013 - Announces her resignation.

September 6, 2013 - Napolitano leaves the Department of Homeland Security.

September 30, 2013 - Becomes the 20th, and first female president of the University of California.

May 17, 2016 - The Department of Homeland Security hosts an official portrait unveiling ceremony honoring Napolitano. The portrait is displayed in the Department of Homeland Security Headquarters in Washington.

January 16, 2017 - Napolitano is hospitalized, suffering side effects from cancer treatment.

September 8, 2017 - The University of California sues the Donald Trump administration over its decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Napolitano helped establish DACA, which protected nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation and gave them the ability to work and study in the United States. In June 2020, the US Supreme Court blocks the Trump administration’s attempt to end DACA.

October 26, 2017 - Napolitano announces the National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement. The new endeavor hopes to facilitate a “concerted educational, research and advocacy effort that will center on the First Amendment’s critical importance to American democracy.” Napolitano will chair the center which will be housed at the University of California’s Washington, DC location.

March 26, 2019 - Napolitano’s book co-authored with Karen Breslau, “How Safe Are We?: Homeland Security Since 9/11,” is published.

September 18, 2019 - Announces that she will step down as president of the University of California in August 2020. After a sabbatical, she will continue in her position at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, where she is a tenured professor.