Outgoing UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Karl S. Pister, a professor and former dean of the College of Engineering at Berkeley, received the campus's highest honor, the Berkeley Medal, during graduation ceremonies Saturday, May 18.
Pister, 70, who retires June 30 after five years as the Santa Cruz chancellor, was a Berkeley faculty member for 44 years and served as engineering dean from 1980 until 1990.
In awarding the medal to Pister, Vice Chancellor and Provost Carol Christ praised his "remarkable career in service to engineering, education and generations of young scholars."
"He helped build Berkeley's top-flight reputation in structural mechanics and earthquake engineering and was a founding father of the field of computational mechanics," Christ said. As dean "he brought the college through diminishing state budgets, boosted ties with industry and alumni, championed programs for minority students that became national models, and safeguarded and enhanced Berkeley's engineering excellence."
The Berkeley Medal, awarded for superior achievements in the public interest, is reserved primarily for heads of state. Past recipients include Philippine President Corazon Aquino, German President Helmut Kohl and the Dalai Lama.
A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Pister is well known for his research in the mechanics of solids and structures, earthquake engineering and computer-aided design of dynamic structures. He also is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Mechanics and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.