Edwin M. Lee '74


Citation for Edwin M. Lee, 2014 Common Good Award recipient.

"Edwin M. Lee of the Bowdoin Class of 1974, mayor of San Francisco, one of America's greatest cities, your outstanding record of public service epitomizes a life devoted to the Common Good. Born in Seattle into a working-class family of immigrants from China, you brought a keen intellect, a strong work ethic, and the wisdom of lived experiences to Bowdoin in the fall of 1970. At the College you were a James Bowdoin Scholar, a Surdna Foundation Fellow, co-captain of the tennis team, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and a summa cum laude graduate. A Watson Fellowship allowed you to study the Youth League Movement in China before obtaining a law degree at the Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley. For all the unexpected turns in your life, your commitment to the Common Good and public service has been a lodestar. As a civil rights lawyer, you advocated for tenant rights and equal employment opportunities for women and minorities, important work that you continued as investigator for

San Francisco's Whistle-Blower Ordinance, deputy director of employee relations, and executive director of the Human Rights Commission. In your roles as director of City Purchasing, director of the Department of Public Works, city administrator, interim mayor, and now mayor, you have shown that you know how to make municipal government work. Over the course of your pioneering career, as San Francisco's first Asian-American mayor, you have played a major role in creating the conditions that open doors of opportunity for all citizens. You have a rare gift for finding common ground and enlisting the support of diverse constituencies to solve some of the most difficult issues of the day, and the compassion, efficiency, and modesty that you exhibit in doing so is an inspiration to us all. We share with your family, your classmates, and fellow alumni a deep sense of pride in recognizing you for your extraordinary record of public service. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are proud to present to you the 2014 Common Good Award."

May 31, 2014