Historical confirmation: Berkeley Economics alumna Lisa Cook becomes first Black woman to serve on the Federal Reserve Board

May 23, 2022

Economist Lisa Cook smiling at camera in front of a whiteboard, and leaning next to booksOn May 10, 2022, Dr. Lisa DeNell Cook, UC Berkeley alumna, was confirmed to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. She is the first Black woman to serve on the Fed in its 108-year history. As governor, Cook will take part in setting U.S. monetary policy and stabilizing the national financial system. “I’d like to thank President Biden for nominating me to serve on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System," Cook said. "I’m honored to serve the public through this important U.S. institution.”

Prior to her confirmation, Cook was a professor in the Department of Economics at Michigan State University. She also served on the White House Council of Economic Advisers from 2011-2012 and was an adviser to President Joe Biden’s transition team on the Fed and bank regulatory policy. Cook has a distinguished educational career; she was the first Marshall Scholar from Spelman College and obtained a second bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Oxford University. 

In 1997, Cook earned a doctorate in Economics from UC Berkeley's College of Letters & Science, in the Social Sciences Division. Focusing on macroeconomics and international economics, Cook’s PhD dissertation examined the impacts of property rights on the banking system in czarist and post-Soviet Russia. Barry Eichengreen, George C. Pardee & Helen N. Pardee Chair and Distinguished Professor of Economics and Political Science, was Cook's faculty advisor. 

“Dr. Cook has many admirable qualities, but one that has always impressed me is her versatility: Lisa is multilingual; equally able as an economist and historian; knowledgeable about many parts of the world; and skilled as both a macro- and microeconomist.  That versatility will stand her in good stead at the Federal Reserve Board," said Professor Eichengreen.

Following the vote, Senate Banking Committee Chair Sherrod Brown released a statement, calling Cook’s confirmation “historic.” 

“I congratulate Dr. Cook on her historic confirmation to the Federal Reserve Board…She will bring an invaluable perspective while implementing the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate and protecting its independence.”

Cook’s term will run to January 2024.