A Magazine for the George Mason University Community

Victoria Lipnic: The Privilege of Public Service

By Buzz McClain, BA '77 on April 29, 2016


It’s not surprising that a career in public service would call to Victoria Lipnic, JD ’91. Her father was mayor of her hometown, Carrolltown, Pennsylvania, for 25 years, and she was imbued with her father’s sense of honor and duty.

Victoria Lipnic

Victoria Lipnic

“I grew up understanding that all politics is local,” says Lipnic. “Governing is interesting, as maddening and frustrating as it can be. But it’s also fascinating, and a real privilege.”

Last year President Barack Obama re-nominated and the Senate reconfirmed Lipnic as one of five commissioners on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal body charged with enforcing the nation’s workplace civil rights laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This is her second term.

It’s an important position in a powerful agency—an agency that can bring the full force of the federal government to enforcing the law, she says. In 2014 there were some 89,000 complaints filed with the EEOC.

“Most people think Title VII is the premier section of the Act,” she says. “It changed workplaces all over the country. It took 20 years to effectively enforce, and it’s ongoing . . . . There’s plenty of old-fashioned discrimination to go around.”

Lipnic’s career has included stints as the assistant labor secretary and special assistant to then Secretary of Commerce Malcolm Baldrige Jr.

“The interesting thing about my legal education at Mason was the grounding in law and economics,” she says. “It helps to not just know the law but to also have an understanding of the economic aspects of it. That’s something unique to Mason and something that has really served me well.”


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