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Slain Ambassador Went to Piedmont High and Cal

J. Christopher Stevens was born and raised in Northern California.

The United States ambassador killed in Libya Tuesday night was born and raised in Northern California, according to his official biography on the State Department’s website. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens went to and graduated from UC Berkeley in 1982 and Hastings College of Law in 1989. He joined the foreign service in 1991.

Stevens spent much of his diplomatic career in North Africa and the Middle East, according to KTVU. Between graduating from Cal and getting his law degree, Stevens taught English in Morocco as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Stevens was a 1978 graduate of Piedmont High, according to a statement from PHS Principal Richard Kitchens.

"He is remembered at Piedmont High as a former editor of the award-winning Piedmont High School newspaper, The Highlander," Kitchens said.

"He was an outstanding student, active in the PHS Model U.N. club, as well as active in the A.F.S. club. He was also active in all the musical productions at PHS and was featured in the quartet in 1978's The Music Man.

A quote from Stevens that accompanies his 1978 yearbook photo reads, "What a bore it is, waking up in the morning always the same person. I wish I were unflinching and emphatic and had big eyebrows and a Message for the Age."

Before moving to Piedmont, Stevens lived in Davis during the late 1960s and '70s, and attended Pioneer Elementary School and Emerson Junior High School there, according to Fox40.

For more about Stevens' early years in the East Bay and his continued ties to the area, see "Ambassador Chris Stevens 'A Very Smart, Very Funny Guy,' Says Cal Roommate."

Stevens was killed along with three other Americans in an attack by militants at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Tuesday night. The ambassador was fatally wounded while American and Libyan security personnel fought the attackers together, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said in a briefing in Washington, D.C., this morning.

"Heavily armed militants assaulted the compound and set fire to our buildings," Clinton said.

Clinton said a "small and savage group" committed the attack, but the motive is still unclear.

Stevens, 52, had been serving as the U.S. ambassador to Libya since May, according to the State Department. Stevens had served twice previously in Libya, including as a special representative to the Libyan Transitional National Council from March to November 2011, during the country's revolution.

Stevens spent most of his career serving in the Middle East and northern Africa, including stints in Jerusalem, Israel, Damascus, Syria, Cairo, Egypt, and Morocco.

President Barack Obama praised Stevens this morning. "Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States," Obama said in a statement. "His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice."

After graduating from Piedmont High in 1978, Stevens obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of California at Berkeley in 1982. He then went on to receive his doctorate from the University of California's Hastings College of the Law in 1989. In 2010, Stevens received a master's degree from the National War College.

David Levine, a professor of law at Hastings who taught Stevens, remembered him from his civil procedure class.

"He was sure of himself, but not cocky," Levine said. "He was diplomatic, if you will."

Levine, who has taught at Hastings since 1982, said Stevens had been interested in foreign service since he was beginning at law school.

"He was doing what he loved, and he stayed in it," Levine said. "He could have easily made more money elsewhere, but everything he did was for the United States."

Levine said Stevens' actions on Tuesday night were extremely heroic.

"He was devoted to the work he did, and always went above and beyond," Levine said. "He took risks; when he had a choice between something more dangerous or less dangerous, look what he did."

A U.S. Foreign Service information management officer, Sean Smith, and two other Americans whose names were not released were also killed in the attack.

Despite Tuesday's attack, Clinton today insisted the relationship between Libya and the United States is still strong.

The attack occurred the same day as a protest at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Clinton said. In light of the two events, Obama has directed his administration to increase security at all United States diplomatic posts throughout the world.

Bay City News Service contributed to this article.

Elsa Baldwin September 12, 2012 at 07:42 PM
I'm sure I join other members of Hasting's class of 1989 in remembering Chris Stevens not only as a stellar alumnus, but a true ambassador whose courageous dedication to foreign service was an outgrowth of his personal goodwill for others. Elsa Baldwin
Tom September 13, 2012 at 07:41 PM
This is just horrible. From what I have read he was a great guy. Prayers to the family. Also concerned for Marines being sent to beef up security based on this report: http://freebeacon.com/reports-marines-not-permitted-live-ammo/ U.S. Marines defending the American embassy in Egypt were not permitted by the State Department to carry live ammunition, limiting their ability to respond to attacks like those this week on the U.S. consulate in Cairo. Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson “did not permit U.S. Marine guards to carry live ammunition,” according to multiple reports on U.S. Marine Corps blogs spotted by Nightwatch. “She neutralized any U.S. military capability that was dedicated to preserve her life and protect the US Embassy.” U.S. officials have yet to confirm or comment on the reports. Time magazine’s Battleland blog reported Thursday “Senior U.S. officials late Wednesday declined to discuss in detail the security at either Cairo or Benghazi, so answers may be slow in coming.”
Frank Boothe September 14, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Richard, my best friend was killed in the Middle East. He was authorized to use any means necessary if American lives were in danger. The Marines and diplomatic security services were fully armed. FOX news has been trying ALL DAY to pin this on President Obama. It is not his fault, if anything it’s the fault of the ambassadors who wanted to downplay military force at their embassy. How do you practice international diplomacy in a host country with a gun turret on every point of embassy grounds? As a registered democrat, we have over extended ourselves in the middle east, we have been placating these camel jockies for far too long. It is time to pull out of that region and let the religious fanatics destroy themselves. I don’t care if gas prices rise to $10 dollars a gallon, just as long as our American community is safe and our values are protected here in America. We have no business trying to establish democracy in a part of the world whose religious doctrine vows to destroy us.
CJ September 14, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Only one problem Frank- Your party has sold out to Enviro Obstructionists who kill any and all efforts to be independant in our petro needs. WHat most Dems seem unable to grasp is the risk involved in Energy (all of it types) and the complete lack of scalability of the developing technologies. So what say you? $10 /gal gas will bring this country to it's knees economically and militarily. I agree that inserting Democracy into a 12th century society is ridiculous, but any logical and realistic analysis would have led to that conclusion decades ago.
Frank Boothe September 14, 2012 at 11:45 PM
And the biggest irony of all… If you look south to Beverly Hills, CA. Some of the world’s most wealthy and influential Muslim and Jewish families peacefully co-exist in private, ultra-wealthy communities. Every night- are there rocket propelled grenades being fired over the mountain canyons of southern California? NO. The ultra rich of both diametrically opposed religious factions live peacefully in the United States, once they return to their desert 3rd world biblical wasteland it’s game on… and America picks up the check as providers of peace in a place we shouldn’t be…
CJ September 14, 2012 at 11:47 PM
While the mainstream media is running front page stories on Kate Middleton's bare boob pictures and other nonsense . Fox and other non mainstream sources are actually digging into the lies and deception tactics of this administration. How is that the entire ME is on freaking FIRE! and not one of these outlets has anything resembling a headline on it? Fill me in.
Frank Boothe September 14, 2012 at 11:52 PM
CJ.. I say let’s plow right into Alaska and Yosemite to drill and mine our way out of foreign oil dependence. I could care less about a spotted owl or a herd of elk or rare mountain sheep. GOD gave us the Earth and we as Christians can extract what we want whenever we want… It is his will! More off shore drilling and close down the federal parks, just a bunch of idle land we can exploit every square mile of to prolong our reliance on fossil fuel. In the name of Jesus our savior.. AMEN!
CJ September 14, 2012 at 11:54 PM
How is that even related to this story? Keep the blinders on. You're gonna need them.
CJ September 14, 2012 at 11:57 PM
More strawman arguments. I would hope you can do better.
Jason September 15, 2012 at 05:12 AM
"How do you practice international diplomacy in a host country with a gun turret on every point of embassy grounds?" It is not possible to practice diplomacy to any positive extent with Middle-Eastern savages. Their culture is not capable of reason and does not desire progress. The Western world wants to advance the species, the Middle East wants to live in the 7th century forever. As far as pinning this on Obama, he has spent the past year boasting about killing that culture's greatest hero and arming Islamic coups to overthrow long term, stable, and comparatively moderate governments in the region, then leaves US embassies there defenseless while he is out golfing and giving interviews to seditionist Mexican TV stations. How is this not his fault?
Dept. of Misinformation September 15, 2012 at 05:42 PM
I hope things cool off a bit, in the east and in this thread--so that we can work together, appreciate and love each other, and celebrate our differences. Peace Mr. Stevens and the others who died Tuesday, I hope you were doing good work for the people of Libya. I believe in the end your deaths will not be in vain. Protestors: part of creating a free society is developing an evolving emotional and intellectual capacity for openness, humility, respect for all humanity, even a sense of humor helps. I hope the middle eastern growing pains will continue and not be derailed by extremism and dictatorship.
David Holden September 15, 2012 at 08:27 PM
CJ. Rockin' and trollin' as always. Thanks for the laughs.
Jose September 16, 2012 at 12:37 AM
What a senseless tragedy! Consumed and blinded by vengeance, these bad guys destroy everything around them as they try to strike at their enemy. It puts me in mind of Wrath of Khan. Khan just keeps missing his target and destroying everything and everyone around him, and every ideal he ever believed in. His every miss makes him more dedicated to his mad cause, and more alone. This fine American man, Mr. Stevens, along with all of the innocent Libyans, and Egyptians, and all the others caught up in this violence just happened to be in the way. The bad guys may have wanted him dead, but he was not their enemy, and he was not their target. A lot more people will die, but in the end, vengeance and hatred are not a cause to rally the masses. Ask the Oklahoma City bomber, ask the anti-abortion terrorists, ask the white supremacists how well their acts of violence inspired the masses to rise up in support of their revolutions. And, for all of this country's faults, the bad guys don't seem to be making much of an impact on the core values and the belief in tolerance that set this country apart. They are using the wrong ammunition, and they...just...keep...MISSING...their mark.

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