Feb. 3, 2009
By a vote of 75 to 21 the United States Senate approved the nomination of University Trustee Eric Holder, a graduate of Columbia College and Columbia Law School, as the next Attorney General of the United States.
Holder (CC'73, Law'76) becomes the second consecutive Columbia graduate to serve as the attorney general. He succeeds Michael Mukasey (CC'63), who had been in the cabinet post since 2007, and was previously a U.S. District Judge on the Southern District of New York for 18 years.
"The Columbia community is proud that Eric Holder has become the 82nd Attorney General of the United States," said Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger. "This is a great moment for the country, for the Department of Justice and the law, and for Columbia. Eric has all the qualities I would want in the nation's legal leader." He lauded Holder's many years of public service, which include stints as a former deputy attorney general under President Bill Clinton, as well as acting attorney general, judge and prosecutor.
Holder is also the first African American to serve as the nation's chief law enforcement officer. His first job after graduating from Columbia Law School was at the U.S. Justice Department, where he was assigned to the newly formed Public Integrity Section. He later was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to be an associate judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, a post he held for five years before joining the Clinton administration.
Holder has been a Columbia University trustee since March 2007. "Eric Holder is a widely respected alumnus who has also served the University community as an actively engaged member of our Board of Trustees," Bollinger added. "His career has exemplified our commitment to educating young people for the responsibilities of active citizenship and public service to our nation and our world."
He is one of a number of Columbians who have joined the administration of President Barack Obama, who is himself a 1983 graduate of Columbia College in political science.
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