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Five Famous Alums: Politicians

Senators, Congresspeople, Cabinet members, more

Among the approximately 312,000 graduates of Boston University are a number of men and women who have distinguished themselves in their chosen profession. Writers. Athletes. Journalists. Scientists. Theologians. Actors. Each week this summer, we’re bringing you photos of five of these notable alums.

This week we feature five people whose careers in politics have made them household names, statewide or nationally. Several have been trailblazers.

Barbara Jordan, delivers the keynote address at the 1976 Democratic National Convention

Barbara Jordan (LAW’59, Hon.’69) was the first African American woman to be elected to Congress from a Southern state when she won a Texas seat in 1972. In 1974, as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, she earned national recognition for a televised speech before the committee calling for Richard M. Nixon’s resignation as president. In 1976, she became the first woman to deliver the keynote address at a Democratic National Convention (above). She was awarded the Presidential Medial of Freedom by President Bill Clinton in 1994 and died in 1996. AP photo

Secretary of Defense William Cohen at a Boston University School of Law event in 2000

William Cohen (LAW’65) was a Republican member of the US House of Representatives (1972 to 1978) and of the US Senate (1979 to 1997), from Maine, before becoming Secretary of Defense in the Clinton administration (1997 to 2001). Here, Cohen at a BU School of Law event in 2000 with Frances Miller (LAW’65), a LAW professor emerita (left), and Ronald Cass, former dean of LAW (right). Photo by Michael Hamilton

Gary Locke in Beijing while serving as US Ambassador to China

Gary Locke (LAW’75, Hon.’98) was Democratic governor of the state of Washington from 1996 to 2004, US Secretary of Commerce in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2011, and US Ambassador to China from 2011 to 2014. He is the only Chinese American ever to have served as a state governor. Here, Locke in Beijing, July 12, 2012. Photo by Linda Cotton/US Embassy

Martha Coakley speaks at a rally with President Bill Clinton during her campaign for U.S. Senate in 2010

Martha Coakley (LAW’79) became the first woman elected attorney general of Massachusetts, a post she held from 2006 to 2014. She ran for the US Senate in 2010 in a special election to fill the seat long held by Edward Kennedy (Hon.’70) (she’s pictured above at a campaign rally), but lost to Republican Scott Brown. She was the Democratic nominee for Massachusetts governor in 2014, losing to Republican Charlie Baker. Photo courtesy of Martha Coakley

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