Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in Thal, Austria, a small village bordering the Styrian capital of Graz. He immigrated to the United States in 1968 and became a U.S. citizen in 1983.
Schwarzenegger earned a BA in Business and International Economics at the University of Wisconsin—Superior. He received an honorary Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin—Superior in 1996 and an honorary Doctorate from Chapman University in 2002.
An increasingly politically active Republican during the 1990s, Schwarzenegger ran for the California governorship and won when Gray Davis was recalled in 2003. Schwarzenegger was sworn in as the 38th Governor of California on November 17, 2003, following careers in body building, business and entertainment. Schwarzenegger was the first foreign-born governor of California since Irish-born Governor John G. Downey in 1862. While governor, Schwarzenegger focused on reducing California's greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the minimum wage, and updating the workers' compensation system. He was also a proponent of physical education and after-school programs, and supported the After-School Education & Safety Act, which passed in 2002.
Prior to and during his term as governor, Schwarzenegger was involved with the Special Olympics, an organization founded by Maria Shriver's mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver. He was named Special Olympics International Weight Training Coach in 1979 and then a Global Ambassador. President George Bush appointed Schwarzenegger as Chair of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports in 1990, which he served on until 1993. He also served as Chair of the California Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under Governor Pete Wilson.
Schwarzenegger’s awards include the Simon Wiesenthal Center's "National Leadership Award" for his support of the organization's Holocaust studies. In 2002, Schwarzenegger was honored with the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award, presented to him by Ali, a longtime friend and sports mentor. In 2004 he was named as one of Time Magazine’s “100 people Who Help Shape the World”.