Berdahl Named Chancellor

Robert Berdahl, president of the University of Texas at Austin, was named Berkeley's next chancellor at a press conference March 6. UC President Richard Atkinson said Berdahl and Albert Carnesale, Harvard University provost who was named UCLA's new chancellor, were his top picks because of their national reputations for academic excellence.

In a telephone interview, Berdahl, shown here with Chancellor Tien, acknowledged the inevitable comparisons to Tien. "Following Tien is a big challenge. He has been an inspiration to us all."

In a letter to colleague's and friends of Cal, Chancellor Tien wrote, "I have known and worked with Bob for several years and have great respect for him. He is a nationally recognized leader in higher education. "

An element of surprise

After more than three years of sometimes fierce debate, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) has tentatively reached agreement to name element 106 Seaborgium after Berkeley's Glenn T. Seaborg.

Seaborg is a former chancellor, professor of chemistry and associate director-at-large of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

In 1951, he shared the Nobel Prize in chemistry with former lab director Edwin McMilan for "their discoveries in the chemistry of the transuranium elements."

Seaborg has said the naming of an atomic element for him is the greatest honor he has ever received, even better than winning the Nobel Prize.

"Future students of chemistry, in learning about the periodic table, may have reason to ask why the element was named for me, and thereby learn more about my work," he said in 1994, when the name was first proposed.

The naming of the element and five other elements require confirmation by the union's members at its August meeting. The chemical symbol will be Sg.

Coming Home to Cal

This fall, thousands of alumni and their families will return to Berkeley for Cal Homecoming and Reunion Weekend '97. Scheduled for Sept. 19­21, this event marks the premiere of an integrated homecoming and reunion celebration on campus. All alumni, regardless of graduation year, are invited.

The weekend offers an array of activities designed to appeal to the intellectual, the athletically inclined, the culturally inquisitive, and the just plain hungry. On Friday, special luncheons and dinners for reunion classes - '57, '62, '67, '71, '72, '77, '82, '87, and '92 - will allow these grads to reunite with their classmates in an intimate setting. Lectures, seminars and workshops open to all Cal alumni also will be held Friday.

Homecoming activities Saturday include a Chancellor's Brunch before the Cal vs. University of Oklahoma football game, campus tours, more workshops and seminars, and open houses throughout the day. On Sunday, the gala weekend wraps up with selected class meetings and an old-fashioned picnic with games and entertainment for all ages.

Pre-registration is required. For more information, call 1-888-UNIV-CAL (1-888-864-8225), or visit

Chavez Honored

Golden Bear Center was rededicated April 3 as the Cesar E. Chavez Student Center in memory of the late Latino labor leader. The ceremony included a keynote address by United Farm Workers vice president Dolores Huerta, above, and comments from Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien. The effort to rename the center began in 1995 when two student government senators introduced legislation to change the name.

Applications Reach Record Numbers

A total of 8,243 freshman applicants have been admitted to the University of California, Berkeley for fall 1997, according to preliminary figures.

The campus received a record 27,085 freshman applications - an increase of 8 percent over last year - but was able to admit only 30 percent of those who applied. That means that 18,842 applicants were denied fall admission to UC Berkeley.

The class that actually enrolls is expected to number about 3,500.

Acceptance letters were mailed March 19.

Competition for admission to UC Berkeley has risen 36 percent in the last five years. Nearly 12,000 of the applicants for the fall '97 freshman class had high school grade point averages of 4.0 or better.

"Having such an academically talented pool of applicants is very good news," said Bob Laird, director of the Office of Undergraduate Admission and Relations with Schools. "The down side is that we have to deny admission to more than 18,000 applicants."

The campus selection process is complex yet very personalized.

"Our staff read in detail 23,000 applications, including the personal essays submitted by the applicants," Laird said. "Some of them were read up to four times. The rest of the applicants were admitted strictly on academic criteria."

Preliminary figures show that the next freshman class probably will have a racial and ethnic breakdown that is comparable to the one this year. The percentage of African Americans (7 percent) and American Indians (1 percent) in the fall '97 admit pool remained the same as last year. Chicanos (13 percent) increased by one percentage point and Asian Americans (36 percent) increased two percent. Whites (33 percent) declined by one point and Latinos (3 percent) dropped one percentage point.

Harmon's Last Stand

After six decades of hosting great athletes, coaches and scholars, Harmon Gymnasium closed it's doors March 6.

The Cal men's basketball team wrapped up 65 years of men's and women's Bears basketball in Harmon with a victory over Arizona State.

The old gym now makes way for a $40 million renovation. When it reopens in December 1998, it will be the Haas Pavilion and nearly twice the size, with 12,000 seats.

Among those on hand to watch the final game was Ted Ohashi, a member of the 1932-33 Cal team that played in the first game ever held in Harmon, a 40-37 Cal win over UCLA on Jan. 13, 1933, and Pete Newell, who coached Cal to its only NCAA title. Also on hand was A.K.P. Harmon, the 84-year-old great grandson of the Harmon for whom the gym is named.

Longtime Cal player Alan Grigsby was also honored by being the second basketball player ever at Cal to have his number retired.

KALX Wins Awards

Best known for its diverse musical style, Berkeley's KALX radio station in February received the Gavin Award for the best college station in the country and in April took home eight awards from the California Intercollegiate Press Association.

The Gavin award is based on nationwide polling of college stations and record company executives.

Sandra Wasson, the station's general manager, attributes its success to its commitment to "bring on the cutting edge. We try to be an alternative to what you are going to get elsewhere."

In the CIPA awards, KALX claimed first place for best sportscast, second place for best newscast, news story, sports story and sports play by play, and third place for best documentary, news magazine and sports play by play.

KALX maintains diversity with its 65,000-piece library and by requiring all DJs to play at least three different styles of music on their shows. Commercial radio stations are generally devoted to one kind of music and college stations tend toward dedicating two- to three-hour blocks on one style.

Distinguished Teachers Named

A professor whose students liken her style to alchemy, another whose midterms are "a masterpiece" and still another who's an odd-on favorite to make her students shout "aha!" are among the five recipients of the 1997 UC Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award.

The award, given annually since 1959 by the Committee on Teaching of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate, recognizes excellence in teaching at Berkeley.

This year's recipients are: Elizabeth Abel of English, Chenming Hu of electrical engineering and computer sciences, Pedro A. Noguera of the Graduate School of Education, Deborah Nolan of statistics and Jasper Rine of molecular and cell biology.

They were honored at a ceremony April 23 in Zellerbach Playhouse.

Also honored was the recipient of this year's Educational Initiatives Award. It is presented annually to a department or unit in recognition of distinctive contributions to undergraduate education. This year's award winner is the Undergraduate Minor in Education in the Graduate School of Education.

Team Makes Its Mark

Thanks to the U.S. Postal Service and a Cal alum, Berkeley's men's basketball team left its stamp on more than just the court. Postal officials presented Berkeley with a special cancellation mark April 1.

The mark is featured on envelopes from the Cal Basketball office and is dated April 1, 1997. Canceled stamped envelopes sold for $1 and the new stamp was destroyed at the end of April.

Cal alumnus Stephen Middlebrook proposed the idea just prior to the Bears' matchup with North Carolina.

This is the second time a cancellation mark has been issued to honor Cal basketball. The first time was in 1993, when the team again reached the Sweet 16.

Tyson returns to Berkeley

In her role as top economic adviser to President Clinton, Berkeley economics and business professor Laura D'Andrea Tyson flourished.

It is no surprise that her return to campus in January to assume the Class of 1939 Chair and teach economics and business has been met with so much enthusiasm.

"Laura has always been a great teacher, and for the past four years, her classroom has included the cabinet, Congress and the American people," said William Hasler, dean of the Haas School of Business. "Her return to Berkeley is wonderful news for both students and faculty."

[ More Stories ]

[Table of Contents] [Berkeley Magazine Home] [UC Berkeley Home]

Copyright 1997, Regents of the University of California, All rights reserved.
Please e-mail your comments to