As the person most responsible for harnessing the power of the microchip, Andy Grove revolutionized the way we work and live today.
Grove came to the United States as a refugee from Soviet-occupied Hungary and earned his PhD in chemical engineering from UC Berkeley in 1963. After working for Fairchild Semiconductor, he participated in the founding of Intel Corporation in 1968, became president in 1979, and later served as CEO and chairman.
Whether serving as an attorney, a California governor, or a United States senator, Hiram Warren Johnson placed principles solidly above politics. His progressive vision of a better society became the stepping-off point for California’s journey through the 20th century.
Johnson studied law in his father’s office in Sacramento, was admitted to the bar in 1888, and moved to San Francisco in 1902. In 1908 he was appointed Assistant District Attorney, beginning his long career in public service.
From humble beginnings in the California cotton fields, Rafer Johnson rose to become one of the world’s greatest athletes.
Johnson developed a passion for track and field while in high school in Kingsburg, California. At UCLA, where he served as student body president, he played basketball under legendary coach John Wooden and was captain of the varsity track team. In 1955 he competed in the Pan American Games, winning gold in perhaps the most grueling sporting event, the decathlon.
Entrepreneur and industrialist Henry John Kaiser’s innovations in shipbuilding and in healthcare changed the course of history.
In 1913, Kaiser bought a failing road-building company, and over the next fifteen years built dams in California, levees in Mississippi, highways in Cuba and he was just getting started. In the 1930s, his company played a leading role in the construction of some of the 20th century’s most massive projects, including Hoover Dam and the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge.
Joan Kroc’s giving spirit has benefited people the world over. One of the most generous philanthropists in history, Kroc gave away billions of dollars to causes she believed in, from hospice care to peace advocacy to providing children with safe places to play.
As the wife of McDonald’s Corporation founder Ray Kroc, she had the means to support all her favorite charities. The couple moved to San Diego from Chicago in 1976 after purchasing the San Diego Padres baseball team, and Kroc quickly embraced her new hometown, becoming involved in various local causes.
George Lucas’ devotion to timeless storytelling and cutting-edge innovation has resulted in some of the most successful and beloved films of all time.
The Modesto native’s genius was becoming evident by the time he was a student at the University of Southern California, where he created a short film that took first prize in a national competition. In 1971, with friend Francis Ford Coppola as executive producer, Lucas transformed that student project into his first feature film, THX-1138.
With one of America’s most recognized voices, John Madden has been a dominant force in professional football for more than half a century as a broadcaster, an unrivaled coach and outstanding athlete.
As a player at California Polytechnic University, Madden was twice voted to the All-Conference team in 1957 and 1958 for his outstanding performance on both the offensive and defensive lines. A knee injury in his rookie season with the Philadelphia Eagles ended his career as a player, but not his life in football.
Wielding bold colors and abstract shapes, Fritz Scholder forever changed the way the world saw American Indians in art.
Scholder was one-quarter Luiseño, a Southern California tribe, but was raised as white, a dichotomy that later would inform the themes of his artwork. Interested in art from an early age, he moved to Sacramento in 1957 and enrolled first at Sacramento City College, where he studied under Pop artist Wayne Thiebaud, and then at Sacramento State College.
Remarkable for her success as an author and for her business savvy, Danielle Steel has written 108 books, a majority of which have earned bestseller status.
Raised in Paris and New York, Steel began writing short stories and poetry as a child and had completed her first manuscript by the time she was nineteen. After moving to San Francisco she took up writing full time, and published her first book, Going Home, in 1973. Since that debut, she has continued to turn out novels whose mix of intrigue, suspense, and romance appeal to readers worldwide.
The most accomplished test pilot of all time, Chuck Yeager earned a permanent place in history when he became the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound.
His aviation career got its start when, just out of high school, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps to serve in WWII. Entering combat in December 1942, he shot down his first enemy plane in March 1944. The next day he was shot down over enemy territory, but with help from the French resistance, escaped to Spain.