2014 Lifetime Achievement Award

Honorable Willie L. Brown, Jr.

Two-term Mayor of San Francisco, legendary Speaker of the California State Assembly, and widely regarded as the most influential African-American politician of the late twentieth century, Willie L. Brown, Jr., has been at the center of California politics, government, and civic life for an astonishing four decades. His career spans the American Presidency from Lyndon Johnson to George W. Bush, and he's worked with every California Governor from Pat Brown to Arnold Schwarzenegger. From civil rights to education reform, tax policy, economic development, health care, international trade, domestic partnerships, and affirmative action, he's left his imprimatur on every aspect of politics and public policy in the Golden State.

As Mayor of California's most cosmopolitan city, he refurbished and rebuilt the nation's busiest transit system, pioneered the use of bond measures to build affordable housing, created a model juvenile justice system, and paved the way for a second campus of the University of California, San Francisco, to serve as the anchor of a new development that will position the City as a center for the burgeoning field of biotechnology. Today, he heads the Willie L. Brown, Jr., Institute on Politics and Public Service, where this acknowledged master of the art of politics shares his knowledge and skills with a new generation of California leaders.


  • Served two terms as the 41st Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco January 8, 1996 to January 8, 2004
  • Speaker of the California State Assembly (longest-serving Speaker in California history 1980 - 1995) and one of two African Americans.
  • Member of the California State Assembly 1964 - 1995
  • Re-Elected 16 straight times to the 13th Assembly District (D-San Francisco)
  • Chair, Committee on Ways and Means (youngest in history of California and only African American)
  • Board of Trustees, California State University system (23 campuses and 50,000 students)
  • Regent, University of California (10 campuses and 200,000 students)
  • Chair, Revenue and Taxation Committee
  • Board of Administration, CalPERS
  • Bachelor of Arts, San Francisco State University, 1955
  • Juris Doctor, Hastings College of Law, University of California, 1958
  • Admitted to practice law, State of California, all Federal Courts and Supreme Court
  • Doctor of Law, Morehouse College, Atlanta
  • Doctor of Law, Atlanta University, Atlanta
  • Doctor of Law, University of Alabama, Birmingham
  • Doctor of Law, Golden Gate University, San Francisco
  • Doctor of Law, Lincoln University, San Francisco
  • Doctor of Laws, San Francisco State University, San Francisco
  • Doctor of Law, Jarvis Christian College, Hawkins, Texas
  • Doctor of Law, Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, Ohil
  • Doctor of Laws, Dominican University of California
  • Doctor of Science, California College of Podiatric Medicine
  • Fellow, Crown College, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Juris Doctor, San Joaquin College of Law, Clovis, Ca
  • Juris Doctor, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Juris Doctor, Southern University, Baton Rouge
  • Juris Doctor, The City College of New York
  • Juris Doctor, Paine College, Augusta, Georgia
  • Juris Doctor, Lorenzo Patino School of Law, University of Northern California
  • Born on March 20, 1934 in Mineola, Texas
  • Married September 1958 to the former Blance Vitero of Berkeley, Californa
  • Children:
    1. Susan Elizabeth Brown, San Francisco
    2. Robin Elaine Brown-Friedel, New York
    3. Michael Elliot Brown, San Francisco
    4. Sydney Minetta Brown, San Francisco