Honorary Degrees

Honorary Degrees

Jeffrey L. Bleich
  • Jeffrey L. Bleich
Jeffrey L. Bleich

U.S. Ambassador to Australia

San Francisco State University

When, in November 2009, Jeffrey L. Bleich was confirmed as United States Ambassador to Australia, a career marked equally by exceptional achievement and high principles moved to a global stage. Throughout his legal and public service career, Mr. Bleich has used the reach of his intellect and power of his chosen profession - the law - to advocate for public education, human rights and international justice.

A brief biography demonstrates how fully he has integrated these concerns: After graduation magna cum laude from Amherst, he worked on juvenile justice issues as a Coro Foundation public policy fellow; earned a master's from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government; moved west to graduate with honors from the University of California, Berkeley's law school; and then clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist and the Special Prosecutor for the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal at the Hague. While there, he received a certificate in public international law from the Hague Academy.

Returning to California, Mr. Bleich joined the San Francisco firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson, quickly making partner. While winning recognition as one of the nation's top lawyers, he made time for active service on more than 20 nonprofit boards, including Human Rights Watch, Boalt Hall Alumni Association and the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco. He has headed both the San Francisco and California Bar Associations. In the latter post, he won funds to provide legal services to the poor and promoted a "diversity pipeline project" to encourage children from minority groups to pursue legal careers.

A powerful advocate for California public higher education, Mr. Bleich served on the California State University Board of Trustees from 2000-09, including terms as vice chair (2006-08) and chair (2008-09). He also has taught international human rights at UC Berkeley's School of Law.

During the Clinton administration, he led the White House Council on Youth Violence, formed after the Columbine High School massacre. He co-chaired both the national finance committee and the higher education advisory board for the Obama campaign, and in 2009 joined the administration as Special Counsel to the President. He has said that his goal has long been to "make an impact...be prepared to make a difference."

In recognition of his commitment to the law, public service and higher education, the California State University and San Francisco State University are proud to confer upon Ambassador Jeffrey L. Bleich the honorary degree Doctor of Laws.