Edwin M. Lee '74 was sworn in as the 43rd mayor of San Francisco on January 11, filling the position vacated by the new Lieutenant Governor of California, Gavin Newsom. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors elected Lee, previously the city administrator, as the new mayor. Lee's ascension in San Francisco has gained national significance as he will become the city's first Asian-American mayor.

With Newsom being named lieutenant governor, Lee will serve out the remaining 11 months of Newsom's term as mayor. The board voted 10-1 in favor of Lee's succession. According to the New York Times, Lee was initially hesitant to accept the position, but ultimately agreed.

During his time as a student at Bowdoin, Lee majored in Government and Legal Studies and excelled academically, eventually graduating Summa Cum Laude in 1974. According to Professor of Economics David Vail, Lee was a campus activist who joined Vail on a trip to a Union for Radical Political Economy event in Boston. He was also heavily involved in the anti-Vietnam war movement on campus.

"Ed...[is] quite simply, a wonderful, dedicated, multi-talented person," wrote Vail in an e-mail to the Orient.

Vail said he happily wrote Lee a letter of recommendation for the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, which Lee won as a senior. Following Bowdoin, Lee attended the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, graduating in 1978.

Lee became a leading San Francisco activist and served as Executive Director of the Human Rights Commission for five years. He later became the Director of the Department of Public Works in 2000.

According to the New York Times, the election of Lee is a significant historical landmark for a city in which one-third of all residents are of Asian-American descent.

Several calls to Lee's office were not returned.