By Kathleen Maclay, UC Berkeley media relations
U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) announced that she is donating more than two decades of her congressional papers to the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. She also will be the first speaker in the new Barbara Boxer Lecture Series at UC Berkeley, an annual event launching in 2017 that will focus in part on women in leadership.
“After a 40-year career in elected office, I am so proud to leave my papers to the greatest public university in the world,” said Boxer. “I chose UC Berkeley because I got my political start in the Bay Area, because I believe strongly in the power of public education, because my son, Doug, is a proud alum, and because Berkeley agreed to make this a ‘living archive’ with the annual Barbara Boxer Lecture Series. I hope these archives will provide insights for historians, students and future generations who want to know what it was like for women when we were just beginning to break the glass ceiling.”
News of the Boxer papers and lecture series came at a gathering at the Bancroft Library attended by Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California system and a former governor of Arizona, as well as UC Berkeley Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Carol Christ, faculty, staff and students. The senator’s son, Doug Boxer, a UC Berkeley alum (Class of ’88), also spoke at the event.
A former journalist and stockbroker, Sen. Boxer entered politics working as an aide to former U.S. Rep. John Burton (D-San Francisco) in the 1970s. She won her first election in 1976 to the Marin County Board of Supervisors, where she served for six years and became the first woman to serve as president of the board. Boxer was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982. Ten years later, she became a U.S. senator from California, filling the office vacated by Sen. Alan Cranston.
She was the first woman ever to chair the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, where she now serves as ranking member. She also serves as the vice chair of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics and as a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where she founded and led the first subcommittee to focus on global women’s issues. In addition, she is a member of the senate’s Democratic leadership and has been chief deputy whip since 2005. In 2010, Boxer founded the Senate Military Family Caucus to help the families of U.S. service members.During her four terms in the Senate, Boxer has burnished her reputation as a powerful advocate for families, children, consumers, California and the environment, as well as a leader in efforts to rebuild the nation’s ailing infrastructure. She wrote landmark legislation establishing the first-ever federal funding for afterschool programs, which now serve 1.6 million children. She has also passed legislation protecting more than 1 million acres of California wilderness.
Assembled at the Bancroft Library, Boxer and university officials formally announced the new Barbara Boxer Lecture Series, which is cosponsored by the Bancroft Library and Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies.
IGS promotes research, educational activities and public service to promote better understanding of American and California politics and public policy. Jack Citrin, the director of IGS, said he is honored to have the institute join with the Bancroft and Sen. Boxer to initiate the Barbara Boxer Lecture Series next spring.
“The purpose of this series could not be more timely given the global need for courageous and forward-looking political leadership,” Citrin said.
Elaine Tennant, director of the Bancroft Library, said the Boxer papers “are an important addition to our political papers collection,” which includes archives of the late U.S. Sens. Alan Cranston and William Knowland, past California Govs. Hiram Johnson and Edmund G. (Pat) Brown, U.S. Reps. George Miller, Robert Matsui, Thomas Lantos and others.
Tennant also noted that the Boxer papers will complement the many existing Bancroft collections that “document the lives and work of women from antiquity to the present.”
The Bancroft already has on display some of Boxer’s photographs, campaign buttons and memorabilia, as well as other materials that the senator said are part of a “living archive” of her career that she hopes inspires and informs students, scholars and future generations of leaders, both male and female.