Ben Shalom Bernanke was born in Georgia in 1953. His father was a pharmacist and a mother was teacher. A gifted student, he was valedictorian of his high school and went on to earn an A.B. degree in Economics from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Between 1979 and 2002, Bernanke held full-time teaching positions at Stanford University and Princeton University as well as a visiting professorship at New York University. He left academia in 2002 after being elected to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.
Bernanke served as chief of the President's Council of Economic Advisors (during President George W. Bush's administration) before succeeding Alan Greenspan as Federal Reserve Chairman in early 2006.
Why It Matters
Ben Bernanke's role as Chairman of the Federal Reserve is to maintain stability in the United States economy through monetary policy. Bernanke works with members of the Board of Governors as well as the Federal OpenMarket Committee to determine interest rate adjustments and the sales and purchase of government securities.