Sept. 29, 2009
BERKELEY - John Garamendi, a three-year letterman for the Golden Bears from 1963-65 and a longtime figure in California and U.S. politics, has been chosen the 2009 recipient of the Glenn T. Seaborg Award.
The award, named after the former University of California chancellor and 1959 Nobel Prize-winning scientist, is presented annually to a former Cal football player for his career accomplishments by the Sons of California (Cal's football alumni association.)
"The Glenn T. Seaborg Award is the most important honor a former Cal football player can receive," said Jack Hart, chair of the Seaborg Award Committee. "Chancellor Seaborg was delighted to have such a high level of recognition named after him. He was a strong supporter of athletics, and more importantly, of us as athletes. John Garamendi, who was an outstanding student-athlete at Cal and has devoted his life to public service, is a worthy recipient of the Seaborg Award."
Currently California's Lieutenant Governor, Garamendi first served in elected office as a member of the California Assembly from 1974-76 before moving on to the State Senate from 1976-91. Garamendi served as California's Insurance Commissioner from 1991-95 and again from 2002-06. He joined President Clinton's administration as deputy secretary with the U.S. Department of the Interior from 1995-98.
As an offensive guard for the Cal football team, Garamendi was a two-time All-Pac-8 choice, earning first-team recognition in 1965. He was also selected a second-team All-American and Academic All-American during his collegiate career. Garamendi received Cal's Andy Smith Award for most playing time in 1964. After his senior season, he played in the East-West Shrine Game.
In addition to his football prowess, Garamendi was the West Coast heavyweight wrestling champion while a student at Cal.
After receiving his bachelor's degree in business administration, Garamendi served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia from 1966-68 before earning his MBA from Harvard.
Garamendi and his wife, Patti, have six children and nine grandchildren. Patti served eight years in the Clinton Administration as assistant director of the U.S. Peace Corps, among other government appointments.
Established in 1995, the Seaborg Award has been presented to 14 recipients. Past winners are:
1995 - Rod Franz M
1996 - John Najarian, M.D.
1997 - John Ralston
1998 - Les Richter
1999 - Vic Bottari
2000 - Pete Schabarum
2001 - Ed Bartlett
2002 - Ray Willsey
2003 - Jack Hart
2004 - Bob Karpe
2005 - Harry Agler
2006 - Chris Markey
2007 - George Stathakis
2008 - Nick Veliotes