The Hon. Nick Petris obtained a B.A. degree in Journalism at the University of California Berkeley and a J.D. degree at Stanford University School of Law.

He was a classmate and friend of Mr. Warren Christopher the former US Secretary of State with whom he kept in touch during his years in office.


Mr. Petris, a Democrat, served in the California Legislature for 38 consecutive years and as a highly popular and productive politician, never lost an election. During the first eight years he served in the California Assembly and the subsequent thirty years in the California Senate. His popularity among minority groups, especially the African Americans in Oakland, and within the State of California at large, was legendary. Nick Petris was privileged to serve in some of the important Committees in the California Senate, such as:


a) The Senate Finance Committee, which includes the California Budget and especially the financing of Education at all levels, from Kindergarten to University Education.


b) The prestigious Rules Committee, which includes 5 Senators elected by the Senate membership.


c) The Elections Committee, which includes the reapportionment of Electoral Districts.


Senator Petris was a strong and tenacious advocate for adequate funding of the huge University of California (with 10 Campuses today and 195,000 students) during his years in the Senate. Following his retirement, a special Health Care Research Center, bearing his name, was established at UC, Berkeley in June 23, 1999. (See relevant article in this Website). During a moving Dedication Ceremony of the Nicholas C. Petris Research Center, at UC, Berkeley, Mr. Bill Lockyer the California Attorney General, (who had brought with him a check for $2 million for the new Center), described the remarkable legislative accomplishments of Senator Petris as follows:


“Several hundreds of bills were introduced by Senator Petris and it is impossible to adequately review his enormous work and contributions on behalf of the citizens of California. Nick Pretris was the first to raise the alarm about pollution and toxic substances, and he even proposed, about 20 years ago, the eventual phasing out of the internal combustion engine”. In effect Senator Petris carried several bills on air pollution, Medical Bills pertaining to Public Health, notably on Children’s issues, and was very active on environmental issues as well. Furthermore, Nick Petris played a pivotal role in helping to create the acclaimed,“San Francisco Bay Preservation and Development Commission”.


Senator Petris never forgot the birthplace of his parents and is indeed very proud of his Hellenic origins and proud of the Republic of Greece as the birthplace of Democracy and of Western Civilization. He speaks Greek and during his political oratory always quoted Greek philosophers and spoke eloquently about the significance of classical education for our young in America.


His popularity within the San Francisco Bay area, the State of California, and among the members of its Congressional Delegation, has been remarkable. His nickname among Greek-Americans in California and and the rest of the US, is to this day, “the Golden Boy of California.” Senator Petris is everybody’s friend.

An articulate and vibrant speaker he generated excitement and enthusiasm to any audience he addressed. He has been a supporter for special assistance to minority

Groups and to women for upward mobility. When he spoke at the Children’s Hospital in Oakland about Children’s issues, and the magnificent sound of the laugh of children, the audience responded with standing ovations. When Senator Petris addressed a special Premedical Class at the Martinez VA Medical Center, with 150 College Students and their Parents, the audience was mesmerized by his presentation and his passionate encouragement for upward mobility and professional achievement.    


Nick Petris is well known in the Republic Greece as well, with a lot of friends and admirers among the political elite, and in cooperation with others at UC, Berkeley was instrumental in getting the late Andreas Papandreou out of jail during the Junta years. Nick Petris was also a member of an American Mission for observing the Parliamentary Elections in Greece in 1946.

He strongly supports our Proposal for solving the Demographic Problem of Greece and has written a powerful letter of support to the Greek Government.


CONCLUSION: (Em) Senator Nick C. Petris has had a brilliant political career serving the people of California. His accomplishment in the Legislature are legion. Specifically, his early interest and considerable sensitivity to environmental issues is very remarkable indeed. Additionally, his steady interest and support for issues pertaining to minorities and of children and his strong advocacy for Education in general, and the steady and adequate funding of the University of California, in particular constitute probably, the high points of his legislative career.

Finally, his generous contributions and guidance to our Think-Tank have been invaluable. We are proud to have (Em) Senator Nick C. Petris of Oakland California, with us.