The Baxter Liberty Initiative engages high-profile intellectual leaders whose expertise and scholarship focus on the ideal of freedom in political and economic life. Visiting scholars are invited to UC Berkeley for a multi-day visit of public lectures, dialogue with a respondent, and discussions with students centered on the theme of liberty.
The Baxter Liberty Initiative is a program of the Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley, established with the support of the Honorable Frank E. Baxter, Ambassador of the United States of America.
In the two years since nationwide social justice protests followed the murder of George Floyd, California has undertaken the nation’s most sweeping effort yet to explore some concrete restitution to Black citizens to address the enduring economic effects of slavery and racism.
Ambassador Frank E. Baxter was born in and attended grammar and high school in Northern California. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a BA degree in economics with honors in 1961. Before college he enlisted in the Air Force for four years.
After college he worked at the Bank of California, San Francisco. In 1963 he joined J.S. Strauss and Company, San Francisco, which then was a major third market firm.
From 1974 until 2002 he was employed by Jefferies and Company, a global investment bank specializing in small and mid-cap companies. In 1984 he moved to London to start and act as Managing Director of Jefferies International, which now has offices in Europe, Asia, and Australia. In 1987 he became CEO of Jefferies. That same year he started the Investment Technology Group, which is now a major electronic institutional brokerage, listed on the New York Stock Exchange during the 90s. He is now Chairman Emeritus of Jefferies.
He was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay on November 7, 2006, and served until January 20, 2009.
He is a former director of the NASD and served as Chairman of the committee, which resulted in the spin-off of NASDAQ. He subsequently served on the Board of NASDAQ as a member of the Executive Committee and Chairman of the CEO search committee. He is also a former director of the Securities Industry Association.
Before his appointment as US Ambassador to Uruguay, Mr. Baxter was involved in numerous civic activities, including: Chairman of After-School All Stars; Chairman of the Board of Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools, an organization dedicated to starting a number of charter schools in Los Angeles; Board Member, California Institute of the Arts; Member, Governor Schwarzenegger's Commission for Jobs and Economic Growth; Vice Chairman of the Board of the Los Angeles Opera, whose budget grew 2 1/2 times during his tenure as President; Chairman of the Executive Committee, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, while undergoing a major building campaign; Trustee, University of California Berkeley Foundation; and Trustee, I Have a Dream Foundation, LA Chapter.
He is the recipient of the Bet Tzedek, House of Justice and the Getty House (Mayor's Residence) City of Angels awards.
Ambassador Baxter has been married to his wife Kathy since 1962. They have three children, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.