Alumni of the Month

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Hiram Johnson (1984-1988):

  Hiram Johnson is one of our most esteemed alumni. After attending public schools and Heald College, Johnson first worked as a shorthand reporter and stenographer in law offices. He eventually pursued a legal career, studying at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a member of our own Lambda Chapter of Chi Phi, class of 1888. He was admitted to the bar in 1888 and commenced practice in his hometown. In 1902, he moved to San Francisco. He served as assistant district attorney and became active in reform politics, taking up an anti-corruption mantle. He attracted statewide attention in 1908 when he assisted Frances J. Hinley in the graft prosecution of Abe Reuf and Mayor Eugene Shmitz. His success was due in large measure to the fact that after Heney was gunned down in the courtroom, he took the lead for the prosecution and won the case. This led to Hiram serving as the 23rd Governor of California from 1911 to 1917, and then as a United States Senator from 1917 to 1945.