Jacqueline Berrien, DC 81

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Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Jacqueline A. Berrien (DC, 81) received the Truman Foundation's 2014 Elmer B. Staats Award on May 25, 2014, in a ceremony at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum. Berrien is currently Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). President Barack Obama nominated Berrien on July 16, 2009, to a term ending July 1, 2014. Berrien came to the EEOC from the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, where she served as Associate Director-Counsel for five and a half years. From 2001 to 2004, she was a Program Officer in the Governance and Civil Society Unit of the Ford Foundation's Peace and Social Justice Program. Before joining the Ford Foundation, Berrien practiced civil rights law for more than 15 years. 

The Truman Foundation established the Staats Award in 1993 to honor Elmer Staats, the former Chairman of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. Mr. Staats was Deputy Director of the Bureau of the Budget during the Truman Administration and went on to serve six more Presidents before retiring in 1981 as Comptroller General. The award recognizes Truman alumni who have distinguished themselves professionally and have made significant contributions to the Truman Scholar community. Jacqueline Berrien has been a mentor in the Truman-Albright Fellows Program. She speaks to participants in Summer Institute and the Truman-Albright Fellows program, and she chairs one of our Truman Scholar Selection Panels.

Berrien is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where she served as a General Editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree with High Honors in Government from Oberlin College and also completed a major in English. In her junior year at Oberlin she received the Harry S. Truman Scholarship in recognition of her leadership potential and commitment to a career in public service. She is a native of Washington, D.C. and has lived in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, Peter M. Williams since 1987.


Photo courtesy of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission