Hillary Clinton is an accomplished politician and political activist who served as First Lady, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State, all before running for President. A tough and pragmatic leader, Clinton is known for being an outspoken advocate of social justice, while achieving many firsts during her long and illustrious career. A trained lawyer, she has built a thriving career in the public and private sector, which she’s balanced with family life following her 1975 marriage to Bill Clinton.
She was one of her husband’s closest advisors throughout his political career, which culminated in his election as president in 1992. Eight years later, she won a seat in the U.S. Senate, becoming the first former first lady to win an elected office. After a failed bid for the White House in 2008, Clinton was named U.S. Secretary of State by President Barack Obama, ensuring her legacy as one of the most prominent American politicians of the 2000s. Beyond her political career, Clinton is the author of seven best-selling books. Her most recent, What Happened, released in September of 2017, spent 16 weeks on The New York Times Bestseller List.
Engaged with politics at an early age, Clinton entered Yale Law School in 1969, where she continued to pursue her interests in social justice, children, and families. It was also at Yale that she met her future husband, but not before excelling in her classes and serving on the Board of Editors for the Yale Review of Law and Social Action. Clinton also found time to work at the Yale Child Study Center, taking on cases of child abuse, volunteering at New Haven Legal Services, and even researching the problems of migrant workers for Walter Mondale's Subcommittee on Migrant Labor. She received a Juris Doctor degree from Yale in 1973. After she graduated, Clinton turned down offers from lucrative law firms to instead work for the Children's Defense Fund, as well as on the congressional committee that investigated the Watergate scandal. That same year, her first scholarly article, "Children Under the Law," was published in the Harvard Educational Review.
Clinton's ties to her alma mater have never slackened over the years and she's continually made the Yale campus a point of destination despite her hectic schedule. Among her many noteworthy return visits, Clinton is one of the few people to serve as Yale’s Class Day speaker on two separate occasions, both in 2001 and 2018. She has also received multiple awards from Yale for her service, including an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2009; while in 2013 Clinton received the Yale Law School Association Award of Merit, which is given to those who have made a substantial contribution to public service or the legal profession.
In 2017, Harold Koh, a former dean of the Law School, succinctly characterized Clinton's return to the school as a fitting homecoming because she, "embodies everything Yale Law School trains its students to be: superbly able, fearless and utterly committed to making this a better world."