Harvey J. Rosenfield ’74, Honorary Degree Recipient

Harvey J. Rosenfield ’74 (right) is presented with an honorary degree by President Anthony W. Marx.

Doctor of Humane Letters

Harvey J. Rosenfield is founder of Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that advocates for the interests of consumers and taxpayers. Based in Santa Monica, Calif., Consumer Watchdog focuses especially on matters related to insurance and health care reform, stronger privacy rights, energy industry accountability and greater citizen participation in democracy. The organization fights fiscal waste, fraud, price gouging, deregulation, the buying of political influence and what it calls “corporateering”— “the act of prioritizing commercial gain over individual, social or cultural gain.”According to Capitol Weekly, “When insurance executives gather and someone simply mentions ‘Harvey,’ they all know who they’re talking about.”

Rosenfield graduated from Amherst College magna cum laude in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and went on to earn a jurisprudence doctorate and a master’s degree in foreign service from Georgetown University and to be admitted to the bar in California and Washington, D.C. He worked as a staff attorney and legislative advocate for Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen Congress Watch from 1979 to 1981 and then as program director for the California Public Interest Research Group (CalPIRG) from 1982 to 1985. That year, he established the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, which later became Consumer Watchdog. Rosenfield was the author of Proposition 103, passed by California voters in 1988, which required insurance companies to refund more than $1.2 billion to California motorists and has saved the state’s consumers more than $62 billion through stringent regulation of insurance companies’ rates and practices. His book, Silent Violence, Silent Death: The Hidden Epidemic of Medical Malpractice, was published in 1994, and he appeared in the 2005 documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. He is also the current president of the Consumer Education Foundation, another California-based nonprofit consumer interest group.