A message from the Chancellor

28 August 2002 |

Dear Members of the Cal Community:

I welcome you back to campus and another promising year at UC Berkeley. When I joined you in 1997, I said we would settle for nothing less than excellence in all we do — in the classroom, library, residence halls, laboratory, neighborhood, and on the playing field. We can be proud that Cal continues to be a strong, thriving learning community — by any measure one of the finest in the world.

You all will soon receive a letter from me about Berkeley’s accomplishments over the last year. I am pleased to report they are many.

• After several years of effort and enhancement, our library this summer received top ranking among public research universities in the United States and was ranked third overall, behind only Harvard and Yale.

• We return to seven seismically strengthened campus buildings, the result of a $140-million renovation for safety and facility improvements.

• We continue to recruit and retain faculty of great promise and prominence, with Professor George Akerloff winning our third Nobel Prize in economics in seven years. Two more National Medals of Science came to our faculty this year, as well as an array of other prominent awards and tributes.

This month, our students returned to much-needed new housing and dining facilities. For the first time in recent memory, we have no waiting list for rooms. Graduate student fellowship funding is on the rise, and support and programs for graduate and undergraduate students continue to be a top fund-raising priority for this year. And I am pleased to report that, despite the fall of the stock market and its impact on endowments across the nation, we just completed our second-largest fundraising year ever, thanks to strong support from Berkeley’s friends and alumni.

We do face substantial challenges this coming year. This week we faced issues raised by labor unions. Across campus, the downturn in state revenues means far fewer dollars to go around. We’re still waiting to know the outcome of state budget deliberations.

Political winds, too, blow through the Berkeley campus, stirring discussion, debate, and activism. The Sept. 11 horror and its aftermath, the alarming escalation of violence in the Middle East, the rumors of impending war — these engage the hearts and minds of our students, well known for caring deeply about the world. As Jesse Gabriel, our new ASUC president, said at Convocation last week, “If we can deal with all this in a manner that is inclusive and not divisive, then we will have sent a powerful message about tolerance and the capacity of humankind to live together.”

I couldn’t have said it better. I am deeply proud of our students and of the learning community that fosters their growth.

Warmest regards,

Robert M. Berdahl


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