8th class

Courtesy of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar


(Born 1947)

California Connection:

Attended UCLA, played for Lakers from 1975-1989, lives in Los Angeles


At the time he retired, no NBA player had ever scored more points, blocked more shots, won more MVP Awards, or played in more All-Star Games than Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

Born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr., he played for John Wooden’s Bruins at UCLA, where he was named outstanding player in the NCAA Tournament in 1967, 1968 and 1969. First pick in the 1969 NBA draft, he was Rookie of the Year. With him at center, the Milwaukee Bucks won the championship the next year, and led the division for four straight seasons. In 1975 he joined the last-place Los Angeles Lakers, and started a turnaround that took them to the conference finals the next season. Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson teamed up to make the Lakers one of the most dominant teams of the 1980s, appearing in the finals eight times and winning five championships. On April 5, 1984, with his trademark skyhook, Abdul-Jabbar scored career point 31,420, passing Wilt Chamberlain as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. He retired in 1989 with 38,387 points, a record that has never been matched.

Abdul-Jabbar has written several books, worked as a coach and broadcaster, fought hunger and illiteracy, and served as a U.S. global cultural ambassador.

  • 6-time NBA MVP and 2-time NBA Finals MVP
  • 19-time NBA All-Star
Courtesy of Southern California Library for Social Studies & Research.

Charlotta Bass

Civil Rights Advocate


California Connection:

Moved to California in 1912, and resided in Los Angeles until her death


Charlotta Bass was a civil rights activist who in 1912 became the first African-American woman to own and operate a newspaper in the United States and who in 1952 became the first to be nominated for Vice President of the United States.

During the 1920s, Bass became co-president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Universal Negro Improvement Association. She formed the Home Protective Association to fight against housing covenants that prevented people of color from buying homes and helped found the Industrial Business Council, which fought discrimination in employment and encouraged black people to go into business.

Bass used her position as editor and publisher of the California Eagle, the oldest black newspaper on the West Coast, to fight segregation in housing and schools. She campaigned to end race-based job discrimination at the Los Angeles General Hospital, the Los Angeles Rapid Transit Company, the Southern Telephone Company and the Boulder Dam Project.

In the 1940s, the Republican Party chose Bass as western regional director for its nominee’s presidential campaign. Three years later, she became the first African-American grand jury member for the Los Angeles County Court.

As the first African-American woman to run for Vice President of the United States, Bass called for civil rights, women’s rights, an end to the Korean War and peace with the Soviet Union. Bass’s slogan during her campaign was, “Win or lose, we win by raising the issues.”

Photo by Sofia Coppola. Courtesy of Francis Ford Coppola.

Francis Ford Coppola


(Born 1939)

California Connection:

Graduated from UCLA, now lives in the Napa Valley


Francis Coppola ranks as one of the leading motion picture directors of the 20th century. After graduating from UCLA’s prestigious film program, he made his directorial debut with You’re a Big Boy Now (1966) and followed it with the musical Finian’s Rainbow (1968). Shortly after, he gained critical acclaim and won an Oscar for his original screenplay for Patton (1970). However, it was The Godfather (1972), which he directed and co-wrote, that brought him lasting fame. Consistently ranked among the world’s best films, it transformed the gangster genre of movie-making and was for a time the highest grossing picture ever made. The sequel, The Godfather Part II (1974), cemented Coppola’s position as one of Hollywood’s top directors and made him the second director to win three Academy Awards for the same film. Both films were selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry. Other acclaimed films include Apocalypse Now (1979) and The Conversation (1974).

In 1969 Coppola co-founded with George Lucas an award-winning film production studio in San Francisco, American Zoetrope, which is now owned by Coppola’s son and daughter. Today, Coppola is less involved in the film industry and instead focuses much of his time on his various business ventures including wineries, resorts, a cafe and a literary magazine.

  • 14-time Oscar nominee and 5-time Oscar award winner
  • 3 Writers Guild of America awards
  • 4 Golden Globe awards
  • 2 Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or awards
  • Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award
  • Praemium Imperial, Japan’s highest arts & culture award
Photo by Robert Birnbaum. Courtesy of Robert Birnbaum.

Joan Didion

(1934 – 2021)


California Connection:

Fifth-generation Californian, lived in Southern California for 25 years


Biography current as of induction date

One of America’s leading authors since the 1960s, Didion has achieved that rare combination of critical acclaim and wide popularity. Her spare and carefully crafted prose, which explores contradictions and seeks truths beyond the accepted mythology of the state, has defined California to readers around the world. Her later essays have explored universal themes of life, love and loss.

Didion was born and raised in Sacramento. After graduating from UC Berkeley, Didion won Vogue Magazine’s prestigious Prix de Paris student writing contest and worked as an editor at the magazine for seven years. Her first book of essays, Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968) brought her into the national spotlight. Today she is the author of five novels, nine nonfiction books, screenplays, and many articles for magazines such as the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books. Her book meditating on the death of her husband, The Year of Magical Thinking, won the 2005 National Book Award and spent over 24 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

  • National Book Award
  • National Medal of Arts and Humanities
  • National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters
  • Writer’s Guild of America’s Evelyn F. Burkey Award
Photo by Ted Sahl. Courtesy of Fred Ross, Jr.

Fred Ross, Sr.



California Connection:

Born in San Francisco, CA


Fred Ross, Sr. was a trailblazer for social justice. His activism began in the late 1930s, when as a manager of one of California’s migratory worker camps, he organized Dust Bowl refugees, helping them form camp councils and achieve self-governance. He was the only camp manager to challenge racial segregation.

During WWII he and his wife moved to Cleveland, where he helped Japanese Americans find jobs and housing upon their release from the internment camps. After the war, in Orange County, Ross organized parents to fight segregation in the local schools. Some of them sued the school district and won, and their case, Mendez vs. Westminster, laid the groundwork for the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown vs. Board of Education.

In 1947, Ross founded the Community Service Organization, which gave a young César Chàvez his first training in organizing. In 1966, Chavez recruited Ross to become the Organizing Director for the United Farm Workers Union (UFW). There, he trained more than two thousand organizers, whose efforts helped tens of thousands of farm workers gain better wages, health care and safer working conditions.

In the late 1960s and 1970s, Ross worked in the Yaqui Indian community in Arizona, on the Robert F. Kennedy presidential campaign and with the United Farm Workers. In the 1980s, he fought for justice and peace in Central America. His influence continues to be felt today in the ongoing work of the thousands of leaders and organizers he trained.

Courtesy of Terry Root.

Stephen Schneider



California Connection:

Served on the faculty of Stanford University from 1992 – 2010


One of the world’s top climatologists, Stephen Schneider took a leading role in educating the public about the role of greenhouse gas emissions in global warming and in promoting a switch to clean energy.

In hundreds of scientific papers and books, Schneider wrote on the effects of climate change on areas as diverse as politics and wildlife. He advised the administration of every president from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama. As a member of a United Nations panel on climate change that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore, he helped write papers that were influential in framing the climate-change discussion.

Schneider was the founder and editor of the journal Climatic Change. He was Professor of Environmental Biology and Global Change at Stanford University, a Co-Director at the Center for Environment Science and Policy of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a Senior Fellow in the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. He also served as Chair of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Section on Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Sciences.

  • MacArthur Fellowship
  • Elected to National Academy of Sciences  
  • AAAS Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology
Courtesy of Mimi Silbert.

Mimi Silbert


(Born 1942)

California Connection:

Has lived in California for 50 years, earned Master’s and Doctorate from UC Berkeley


Mimi Silbert is co-founder, president and CEO of the Delancey Street Foundation, a residential educational community that serves ex-felons, prostitutes, substance abusers, and others who have hit bottom. Silbert and Delancey Street have been called “pioneers of social entrepreneurship.” Headquartered in San Francisco, the foundation includes five additional locations nationwide. For 43 years, at no cost to the client or taxpayer, Delancey Street has provided residents with academic, vocational, and social skills, along with the discipline and values they need to live successfully in society. There are currently over 18,000 successful graduates.

Although Delancey Street is her primary life work, Silbert is also a recognized national expert in criminal justice. She has been appointed to the National Institute of Justice by President Carter, to the California Board of Corrections by every Governor from Governor Deukmejian through Governor Schwarzenegger, to the State Advisory Group on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency, to the Blue Ribbon Commission on Inmate Population Management by the State Legislature, to the Expert Panel on Corrections, and to the State Police Officers Standards and Training Advisory Commission.

  • 11 Honorary Doctorates
  • San Francisco Business Hall of Fame
  • International Association of Business Communicators Leadership Award
  • Numerous religious, community and governmental awards
Photo by Sam Jones. Courtesy of USC.

Andre “Dr. Dre” Young & Jimmy Iovine


(Born 1965 & 1953)

California Connection:

Young was born in Los Angeles; both Young & Iovine reside there.


Born Andre Young but better known by his stage name, Dr. Dre changed the world of music as a key figure in one of the most-revolutionary groups of all-time: N.W.A. At the heart of N.W.A was Dr. Dre’s innovative production, a dense but funky beatscape that became the foundation of a new genre of music: gangsta rap. Dr. Dre brought hip-hop into the mainstream with his first solo album, which went triple platinum and earned him a Grammy. Dre later discovered and nurtured some of the top rappers, including Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and 50 Cent, becoming the first hip-hop producer to win a Grammy for Producer of The Year. 

Jimmy Iovine got his start as a studio go-fer in the 1970s, but quickly made his name as an engineer and producer. In 1990 he co-founded Interscope Records, which became the hottest label of the decade by betting on gangsta rap acts, including Dr. Dre. He was longtime chairman of Universal Music Group’s Interscope Records, where he guided the careers of U2 and Eminem.

In 2006, Young and Iovine teamed up to launch the immensely successful Beats Electronics, with its popular “Beats By Dr. Dre” headphone line. The company, which branched out into streaming media with Beats Music, was acquired by Apple in 2014. In 2013 Young and Iovine, neither of whom attended college, donated $70 million to the University of Southern California to establish the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Techology and the Business of Innovation, a new degree program that blends business, marketing, product development, design and liberal arts. Part of the endowment includes full scholarships to help disadvantaged students.

  • 6 Grammy Awards (Young)