Excellence in Achievement 2014

B.A. Political Science, 1980

Laurence M. Baer took over the day-to-day management of the San Francisco Giants baseball team in 1992 when he became executive vice president. A limited partner of the Giants ownership group, he was named president in 2008 and was appointed chief executive officer in 2012. Under his leadership, the Giants have won two World Series and have set attendance records at AT&T Park. Among his accomplishments, Baer was the driving force behind every phase of the development and construction of AT&T Park in San Francisco. He currently serves on the boards of Major League Baseball Enterprises and Comcast Sports Net Bay Area.

Baer’s scope as a civic leader matches his stature in professional sports. He is a board member of KQED, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and the San Francisco Committee on Jobs, and a board member and member of the Executive Committee of the Bay Area Council. He and his wife, Pam, currently co-chair San Francisco General Hospital Foundation’s Capital Campaign Committee to rebuild the hospital and trauma center. Among his awards are the 2001 Anti-Defamation League’s Torch of Liberty Award, Hebrew University’s Sports Torch of Learning Award, and the 1995 San Francisco Distinguished Leadership Award.


B.S. 1974, M.S. 1976
Ph.D. 1980,
Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences

An engineer and entrepreneur, Bob Epstein co-founded five companies: Sybase, New Resource Bank, GetActive Software, Colorado Microdisplay, and Britton-Lee.

Epstein’s early career concentrated on the commercialization of databases and networking. From 1976 to 1979, he was the manager of Cal’s INGRES project, which investigated relational database systems, and in 1984, led the architecture of client/server computing with the development of Sybase and SQL Server.

Epstein is deeply committed professionally and personally to advancing environmental policies. He co-founded Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), a national organization of business leaders dedicated to the dual goals of environmental protection and economic prosperity. Epstein led the E2 team that was instrumental in passing California’s landmark 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act.

He is also chairman of the National Resources Defense Council Action Fund, which works to advance the political climate for environmental issues. At Cal he serves as a trustee of the Goldman School of Public Policy and a member of the Executive Committee for the Berkeley Food Institute.

Epstein’s environmental work has earned numerous awards, including the California League of Conservation Voters Environmental Leadership Award, the Kleiner Perkins Caufied & Byers Prize for Greentech Policy Innovators, and the Cleantech Venture Network Cleantech Leader of the Year Award. He is also part of the team creating the Berkeley Food Institute, a multi-discipline research effort devoted to understanding and creating a more equitable and sustainable food system.


B.A. French, B.A. Political Science, 1984

As a former attorney general and two-term governor of Michigan, a distinguished professor of law and public policy at Berkeley, and a co-author of the Washington Post bestselling political book, A Governor’s Story: The Fight for Jobs and America’s Economic Future, Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm has taken on more than her share of challenges.

What does she consider her greatest achievement?

“Helping Michigan—the most economically challenged state in the country—transition from an old economy to a new one,” Granholm said. “We added new knowledge-based sectors, and we did it while ensuring people didn’t fall through the safety net during the difficult transition.”

These days, Granholm is deeply involved with renewable energy and is obsessed with creating American jobs through the clean-energy economy. She laments the lack of a comprehensive national policy on energy and advanced manufacturing, and warns that the United States is in danger of falling behind in the development of new and sustainable technologies.