10 Things You Didn't Know About Ben Bernanke

Bernanke has been chairman of the Federal Reserve Board since 2006.

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1. Ben Shalom Bernanke was born Dec. 13, 1953, in Augusta, Ga. The family moved to Dillon, S.C., when he was 4 months old.

2. Bernanke's father, Philip, was a partner in a pharmacy; his mother, Edna, was a substitute teacher.

3. Bernanke learned to read in kindergarten and skipped first grade. At age 11, he won the South Carolina state spelling bee.

4. In high school, he taught himself calculus, since his school did not offer the course. He scored a 1590 out of 1600 on the SAT and graduated at the top of his class in 1971.

5. He received his B.A. in economics from Harvard in 1975 and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1979.

6. During college breaks, Bernanke worked a variety of jobs, including a summer as a waiter at South of the Border, a Mexican-themed roadside attraction near the border of North and South Carolina.

7. In 1979, Bernanke moved to California, where he taught economics at Stanford while his new wife, Anna, pursued her master's.

8. In 1985, Bernanke moved back east to teach at Princeton; in 1996, he became chairman of the university's economics department.

9. In 2002, he became a Federal Reserve governor. Three years later, he was named chairman of President George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers. In February 2006, he became the 14th chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.

10. Bernanke learned Hebrew partly from his grandfather. He officiated at the bar and bat mitzvahs of his children, Joel and Alyssa, without the help of a rabbi.


  • The Wall Street Journal
  • The New York Times
  • The Washington Post
  • Christian Science Monitor