Press Release
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Eidelson family The Eidelson family, taken in 2001 in Norton 414 — including father, Jon, left, and Aaron (in yellow shirt), who moves in this Sunday.

Fourth member of 'Old Blue' Eidelson family set to move into 414 Norton Hall

| 19 August 2009

Perhaps it's time to call Norton Hall's Room 414 at UC Berkeley "The Eidelson Room."

This Sunday (Aug. 23), 18-year-old Aaron Eidelson of Santa Barbara will move into the very same residence hall room that his father Jon and brothers Michael and Joel ate, slept, studied and occasionally partied in during their undergraduate years at UC Berkeley. Room 414 is a double room in Unit 3 that overlooks Durant Street and has a corner view of the landmark Campanile.

"I'm really excited to be continuing the family tradition," said Aaron Eidelson, a self-described "middle child" who plans to major in computer science.

Incoming freshman Aaron Eidelson with his little sisterIncoming freshman Aaron Eidelson with his sister, Leah.

Some 6,200 undergraduates, including 4,500 new freshmen and 600 transfers, are set to move into UC Berkeley student housing this weekend, said Michelle Kniffin, associate director of Cal Housing Assignments. She has been corresponding with the Eidelson family since 2001, when the eldest son, Michael, moved into Room 414.

It all started in the fall of 1976 when Jon Eidelson of Yorba Linda, Calif., moved into Norton Hall and was assigned Room 414 on what was then a males-only floor. His décor included a a historic poster of the electromagnetic spectrum, a stereo system and vinyl collection that included albums by Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, and Boston.

Two weeks into the semester, he met Gayle Levy from Room 606 at a meeting to discuss whether the 4th and 6th floors should go co-ed. The plan fell flat, but the two hit it off. They married in 1979, a year before graduating — he in physics and she in anthropology.

Jon Eidelson went on to earn an MBA from UCLA and took a job in financial software development in Santa Barbara. He and his wife had seven children — six sons and a daughter. In 2001, their oldest son, Michael, enrolled at UC Berkeley and shared at a freshman orientation meeting the story of how his parents met in Norton Hall. The story reached the housing assignment office, and he was given Room 414.

Kniffin recalled how Michael Eidelson had e-mailed her a photo of his parents and their seven children and said he was interested in living in the same hall as his parents.

"I loved his story and the idea of starting a family tradition," Kniffin said. "We made sure he received the same room."

Welcome Days highlights

• New Student Convocation, Monday, Aug. 24, 3-4:15 p.m. All new undergraduates are invited to hear from Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and other speakers at a picnic dinner on Memorial Glade.

• Chancellor's Receptions for New Undergraduates, Tuesday, Aug. 25-Thursday, Aug. 27, 4:30-6 p.m. New undergraduates can meet the chancellor at invitation-only gatherings at the Chancellor's Garden, University House.

• Calapalooza, Thursday, Aug. 27, 5:30-9 p.m. More than 300 student groups, campus services and performers will introduce themselves to new students at this annual resource fair at Upper and Lower Sproul Plaza.

Then, in 2004, a year before Michael graduated with a bachelor's degree in legal studies, Joel, the second-oldest Eidelson, entered UC Berkeley and also requested and received Norton 414. Joel graduated with a double major in molecular and cell biology and psychology in 2008. The third oldest son, Ben, broke tradition and went to Stanford University to study electrical engineering.

This Sunday, Aaron will become the fourth Eidelson to occupy Norton 414. He and his parents and the two older brothers who also occupied Room 414 will drive to Berkeley from Santa Barbara.

"It will be like visiting an old friend," said Gayle Eidelson. "It's a good thing," she added jokingly, "that the walls of Room 414 can't talk."

"Maybe we need to consider renaming the room in the Eidelsons' honor," Kniffin said. "When I retire, I will definitely leave a note for my replacement to look out for the next generation of Eidelsons."

Move-in weekend precedes "Welcome Days," Aug. 24-27, when new students can take campus tours and attend workshops, lectures and receptions offered by UC Berkeley's schools, colleges and departments. For many students, classes begin Wednesday, Aug. 26. For the fall semester, UC Berkeley expects more than 9,000 new students to enroll, including more than 4,000 freshmen, 2,000 transfer students and nearly 3,000 graduate students.