Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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Gary Locke ’72

“On test scores alone, I probably would not have been admitted to Yale,” Gary Locke ’72 told a roomful of undergrads in a 2001 Chubb Fellowship Lecture. “Yale took a hard look at me and gave me a chance.” He was talking then about affirmative action. But the lesson about long-shot candidates and unexpected opportunities applied equally this week, when Locke became President Barack Obama’s third choice as Secretary of Commerce. (The first, New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, withdrew as an investigation into his business dealings heated up; the second, New Hampshire senator Judd Gregg, decided his conservative Republicanism wasn’t such a good fit with the Obama administration after all.) A son of immigrants, Locke didn’t learn English until he started school, but he also knows what it’s like to lead the pack: he served as the nation’s first Chinese-American governor, of Washington State, from 1997 to 2005.

Filed under affirmative action, appointed, milestones
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