One of America's most influential legal minds, Earl Warren, served as the 14th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1953 to 1969. Under his leadership, the court handed down several historic rulings that have been recognized by many as a "Constitutional Revolution" in the liberal direction, with Warren writing the majority opinions in landmark cases on civil rights, the separation of church and state, and police arrest procedure in the country. Additionally, he is well known for leading the Warren Commission, which investigated the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Prior to his time on the nation's highest court, he was a three-term governor of California, making him the last Chief Justice to have served in an elected office before being nominated to the Supreme Court. A California native, he began his long career as an elected official as the District Attorney for Alameda County, before serving as the Attorney General for the state. Following his death in 1974, he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981. Among his numerous memorials and honors, he was also honored by the U.S. Postal Service with a 29¢ Great Americans series postage stamp.
Determined to become a lawyer like his idol Abraham Lincoln, Warren enrolled in the University of California, Berkeley in 1908. At Berkeley, his political appetite was whetted by his work on the successful campaign of Progressive Party gubernatorial candidate Hiram Johnson. He also became a member of the La Junta Club, which became the Sigma Phi Society of California while Warren was attending college. Despite being little more than an average student who earned decent but undistinguished grades, he earned his Bachelor's in Political Science in 1912 and then entered the University's Department of Jurisprudence (now UC Berkeley School of Law). He received his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1914. Like his classmates, upon graduation, Warren was admitted to the California bar without examination.
Among many tributes to the alumnus, in 1955 Warren Hall was built and named in honor of the former Chief Justice. Later, the building – which had long been Berkeley’s center for public health education – was demolished because of old age, only to be rebuilt at a nearby site on campus in 2005. In addition, the UC Berkeley School of Law celebrated Warren's legacy by establishing "The Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity” – a venture to produce research and innovation on issues of racial and ethnic justice throughout the country. Furthermore, the "Warren Room" inside the Law Building was also named in his honor, providing another place at Berkeley for students to connect with such a legendary figure.