Former national security adviser Sandy Berger ’67 died in Washington, D.C. Wednesday at the age of 70.
He served as the national security adviser for former President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 2000 and as deputy national security adviser from 1993 to 1996, according to the University.
Berger died of cancer, according to a statement released by the Albright Stonebridge Group, a strategy and business advisory firm Berger led with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
Berger was born on Oct. 28, 1945 in upstate New York. During his time as an undergraduate at Cornell, Berger was president of the Interfraternity Council, an orientation counselor and a member of the Undergraduate Secondary Schools Committee, among other activities. Following graduation, he attended Harvard Law School, where he earned his juris doctor degree in 1971.
As national security advisor during Clinton’s second term, Berger helped shape foreign policy and played tremendous roles during the Clinton administration’s decision to carry out airstrikes in Kosovo and push for free trade, according to The Associated Press. He was also involved in the response to al-Qaida’s attack of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.
Berger found himself in hot water in 2005, when he pleaded guilty to “illegally removing classified documents from the National Archives,” according to The AP. Sentenced to probation along with a $50,000 fine, he had expressed remorse over the action.
Albright said in a statement released through her consulting firm that Berger had a “deep and abiding commitment to public service” and that he shaped the lives of “countless people.”
“He was one of my dearest friends and among the wisest people I have ever met,” she said. “I will always treasure our decades-long partnership, both in and out of government, and I will be forever proud of what we accomplished together. All of us at ASG will continue to draw inspiration from his vision and leadership.”
President Barack Obama also lauded Berger’s humanitarianism in a statement.
“Around the globe, families and children are living healthier, more secure lives because, as a private citizen, Sandy was a humanitarian who helped the world respond to crises and feed the hungry,” he said.
Additionally, Obama commented on Berger’s tact and passion during his time in government.
“From his service in President Carter’s State Department to President Clinton’s National Security Advisor, Sandy devoted himself to strengthening American leadership in an uncertain world,” Obama said. “Today, his legacy can be seen in a peaceful Balkans, our strong alliance with Japan, our deeper relationships with India and China.”
Berger is survived by his wife, three children and five grandchildren.