Nancy Pelosi ’62
Former Speaker of the House, current member of Congress - U.S. Congress
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi was Speaker of the House in the U.S. Congress until 2022, the highest and most powerful elected official in the legislative branch of the United States and second in line to the presidency. She made history in 2007, shattering the marble ceiling, when she was elected the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House. She made history again in January 2019 when she regained her position as Speaker of the House, the first person to do so in more than 60 years. She is in her fourth term as Speaker of the House and is still the only woman to achieve this leadership position.
For more than 32 years, Speaker Pelosi has represented San Francisco, California’s 12th District, in Congress. She has led House Democrats since 2003 and previously served as House Democratic Whip. In 2013, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Seneca Falls, the birthplace of the American women’s rights movement.
Under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi, the 111th Congress was heralded as “one of the most productive Congresses in history” by Congressional scholar Norman Ornstein. President Barack Obama called Speaker Pelosi “an extraordinary leader for the American people,” and the Christian Science Monitor wrote: “…make no mistake: Nancy Pelosi is the most powerful woman in American politics and the most powerful House Speaker since Sam Rayburn a half century ago.” She is credited with the passage of the Affordable Care Act and leading the House in the impeachment of the 45th president, twice.
Reflecting on her college experience, she wrote in her book, “I loved Trinity. It was intellectually demanding, and the professors wanted us to develop our minds to think about the world beyond us.” As she followed her passion for political science, she studied history, too. “The combination was perfect. In studying about American’s Founding Fathers, we learned about the qualities of leadership that were essential to establishing our country. Those same qualities were important in keeping our union together and are necessary for taking us into the future. We learned that leadership requires vision, judgment, action, and the respect of the American people.”
Speaker Pelosi has hosted Trinity students as her guests at the U.S. Capitol at special events, including programs honoring Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, the women members of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the “Hidden Figures” of the NASA space program. Trinity students have welcomed her to campus several times, including a special MSNBC interview with Joy Reid; a Dreamer Symposium; and Commencement.