26. Janet Napolitano
When the people of California created the University of California in 1868, they brought into being what many would argue is not only one of the largest public universities in the world (273,000 students, 223,000 faculty and staff and an operating budget of $36.5 billion) — but the best public university, as well. (Sixty-four Nobel laureates.) Presiding over this gargantuan enterprise is Janet Napolitano, possessor of a resume that would shame an emperor. She is the former governor of Arizona and former head of U.S. Department of Homeland Security, among other accomplishments. Napolitano took office in 2013 as the 20th president of UC, and the first woman. Napolitano is seen as a tough administrator and generally – but not always – has proved adept at staying on the good side of Sacramento, an important skill in the continuing effort to bring home those education dollars. But two years ago, UC got a big black eye when State Auditor Elaine Howle reported that some $175 million had been squirreled away and used for university projects, but not reported to the regents. Definitely, a no-no.
Updated Aug. 21, 2019