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 Berkeley Pledge Special:

Madrid Guides Pledge Programs

posted June 16, 1998

Anita Madrid had only 24 hours to decide if she wanted the massive job of coordinating the Berkeley Pledge, but the tireless administrator had 24 years to prepare for the demanding position.

“I’ve had the benefit of seeing these problems from a lot of different perspectives,” says Madrid, who started working for UC Berkeley in 1974, and has held a number of jobs, including admissions officer, undergraduate recruiter, management analyst and campus ombudsman.

Before joining the university staff, she taught in San Francisco Bay Area elementary and junior high schools. Madrid says she “didn’t sleep for 24 hours” when former Chancellor Tien asked her to take the job, but “I was clear in the morning that it was the right thing to do.

“I wanted the challenge and, most of all, I wanted to accomplish the goals of the Pledge,” she says.

Madrid’s charge was broad – and daunting. “Chancellor Tien wanted us to create nothing less than a national model for outreach,” says Madrid. “It was a very appropriate request, considering that we work for the University of California at Berkeley. I have always maintained that our staff work should be the best. I also knew that Cal had some of the most outstanding outreach programs in the nation.”

In February, Madrid reached that goal. In the State of Education address, U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley heralded the Pledge’s outreach efforts as “an example of how a great university can raise standards, open the door to college to those who have been excluded, and encourage racial conciliation...If you set high standards for everybody, you have to keep them. At the same time, every effort ought to be made to help people meet those standards, and this is especially true for those Americans who have never had a history or a chance to rise up.”

Madrid, however, is not one to rest on laurels – hers or anyone else’s. “There is still so much work to be done,” she says. “We have to solve some of these serious educational problems this time around. We can’t continue to patch things up.”

Growing up in East Los Angeles, Madrid saw firsthand the educational disparities between the rich and poor. She believes the state university has a moral responsibility to use its great resources to help close that gap.

“All children are capable of excelling,” says Madrid. “We cannot just write off some children.”

While she knows the university can’t heal the ills that burden the state’s K-12 schools, she believes that Berkeley in partnership with schools can provide leadership and expertise to spark and sustain excellence.

“We have to sit down with the (Pledge) schools and community groups and set some goals. We have to find a way to replicate what is happening in some of our excellent outreach programs so that the entire school district benefits.

“I won’t see all of these changes in my lifetime,” she added. “But it is great to be on the journey. I am enjoying that as much as the destination.”

    Anita J. Madrid
    Berkeley Pledge Coordinator
    Office of the Chancellor
    200 California Hall #1500
    Berkeley, CA 94720-1500
    TEL: (510) 643-5088
    FAX: (510) 642-9483\\

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