32. Janet Napolitano
Not only did Californians create and nurture one of the largest public universities in the world, they arguably made it the best public university in the world. Guarding that heritage is University of California President Janet Napolitano, who seemed to stay out of major trouble this year. With 10 campuses, 62 Nobel laureates, 250,000 students, 21,000 faculty members and 144,000 staff, UC is a sprawling, complex and oddly governed organization, with the individual campuses and the Board of Regents looking over Napolitano’s shoulder. Napolitano is used to that sort of thing. She headed the Department of Homeland Security during the Obama administration, and before that, she was governor of Arizona. The UC and its president are currently basking in the warm glow of public approval after the Regents approved a $60 drop in student tuition. The UC receives about 10% of its total annual budget from the state — some $3 billion — and the Capitol knows it has a tough bargainer on its hands when Napolitano comes to negotiate dollars.
Updated Aug. 20, 2018