Toward Excellence: Chancellor Tien's Six Years

by Robert Sanders

February 15, 1990 The University of California Board of Regents, upon the recommendation of President David P. Gardner, appoints Chang-Lin Tien Chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley campus. The seventh UC Berkeley Chancellor, Tien is the first Asian-American to head a major research university in the United States.

July 1, 1990 Tien, 54, takes office in California Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. He assumes also the A. Martin Berlin Chair in Mechanical Engineering. In celebration of his chancellorship a $1 million gift was announced by the Tang Foundation.

August 20, 1990 Tien sets a new style for the campus, donning a "Welcome Week" T-shirt and personally greeting incoming students registering for the Fall semester. This personal touch, along with a balloon-festooned information booth and extra staff members to reduce waiting lines, are part of "Smooth Transition," Tien's idea for taking the stress out of the yearly registration process.

September 1990 At various forums Tien voices a theme that recurs throughout his tenure, that diversity is the key to excellence at UC Berkeley.

September 8, 1990 An early-morning fire sweeps through the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity, killing three students and injuring two others. This is the first of a string of crises to hit the campus during Tien's first 12 months on the job.

September 10, 1990 Tien swears in UC Berkeley's first woman chief of police, Victoria Harrison.

September 27, 1990 A heavily armed gunman forces his way into Henry's Publick House and Grille inside the Durant Hotel a block from campus, taking 33 people hostage. One, a UC Berkeley student, is later killed, while nine other students are injured. The gunman, Mehrdad Dashti, was shot and killed by police later that day. A few days later Tien consoles a grieving campus at memorial for the slain student, and addresses safety issue.

November 17, 1990 Tien leads cheering on side-lines at his first Cal-Stanford Big Game contest. Despite Tien's enthusiasm, Cal loses.

November 19, 1990 Tien heads up UC Berkeley delegation in 12-day tour of Asia, heightening outreach to friends and alumni throughout the Pacific Rim.

January 1, 1991 Tien is assailed for sending football team to play in Arizona's Copper Bowl, because the state refuses to recognize holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Cal defeats Wyoming.

February 7, 1991 Tien reacts to first hints of state budget cuts and student fee increases, vowing to maintain UC Berkeley's "high level of academic excellence."

March 22, 1991 Tien inaugurated as UC Berkeley's seventh Chancellor at university's 123rd Charter Day ceremony. Tien espouses "excellence through diversity," and pledges to strengthen and extend diversity throughout the campus while "maintaining always the highest standards of quality and the most steadfast principles of fairness."

May 15, 1991 Tien is named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

June 7, 1991 Chancellor's Blue Ribbon Panel recommends beefing up Cal athletics and merging men's and women's sports, plus building new facilities.

June 30, 1991 In response to state budget cuts, UC offers incentives for early retirement to one-third of UC Berkeley faculty. More than 160 accept -- 10 percent of all active faculty.

July 1, 1991 Tien named to four-year term on the Princeton University Board of Trustees.

September 13, 1991 Tien hosts West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl at UC Berkeley Convocation, awarding him the Berkeley Medal.

October 18, 1991 Tien hosts Irish President Mary Robinson, awards her the Berkeley Medal.

October 20, 1991 A fire breaks out in the Oakland Hills and burns through the following day, killing one U.C.-Berkeley student and throwing as many as 450 students, faculty and staff out of their homes. The campus reacts quickly, providing aid and counseling to those displaced by the fire, including emergency loans.

November 18, 1991 Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori greeted by Tien, and is awarded the Berkeley Medal.

January 1, 1992 Tien cheers the California Golden Bears to victory over Clemson University in the Florida Citrus Bowl.

February 1992 Tien named to four-year term on Board of Directors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

August 25, 1992 A 19-year-old woman breaks into the on-campus residence of the Chancellor and his wife. Police respond quickly and corner the machete-wielding intruder, Rosebud Abigail Denovo. She is shot and later dies.

Fall 1992 At Tien's suggestion campus initiates new series of freshman courses, called Freshman Seminars, to bring well-known faculty in contact with new students. The small classes are a hit.

January 1, 1993 Second wave of early retirements hits, with 92 faculty accepting. This brings to 258 the total number of faculty to retire since 1990 -- 16 percent of all active faculty.

January 1993 A new university health center, the Tang Center, opens, thanks to a $4 million gift from the Tang Foundation. The donation is in honor of Hong Kong businessman Jack Tang.

March 19, 1993 Southeast Asian friends of the late Chinese industrialist Tan Kah Kee pledge $8.5 million to build new chemistry/chemical engineering building, Tan Hall. Completion date is late 1996.

March 25, 1993 Cal's men's basketball team advances to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time since 1962, but loses to Kansas. Cal makes the NCAA tournament again in the 1993-94 and 1995-96 seasons, but each time loses in the first round.

April 29, 1993 Tien reacts forcefully to announced $31 million cut in UC Berkeley's state funds. He links a strong UC to a thriving state economy, and calls for the public to lobby legislators to avoid the consequences of dismantling the University of California. "It's not a matter of whether we can survive, it's a matter of being excellent or mediocre," he says.

September 1993 Asia, Inc., a regional business magazine, names UC Berkeley top U.S. school for Asians.

September 28, 1993 Tien is upbeat in address to campus staff, bragging that UC Berkeley still attracts the country's top scholars and scientists.

November 28, 1993 Tien named honorary member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for lifetime service to engineering.

December 31, 1993 Cal defeats Iowa in the Alamo Bowl.

June 29, 1994 Carol Christ named Vice Chancellor and Provost of UC Berkeley, the first woman to assume administrative post as the second-in-command at the UC Berkeley campus.

June 30, 1994 Tien is concerned but optimistic about third wave of faculty and staff retirements. 195 faculty accept early retirement incentives, bringing the total faculty to retire since 1990 to 453 or 27 percent of senior faculty active in 1990. Though many are eventually replaced, the campus resigns itself to a permanent 10 percent decrease in faculty numbers.

August 26, 1994 Tien announces campus initiatives for revitalizing Telegraph Avenue and Southside at "Welcome Back to the Ave." street fair. Initiatives include pledges on safety and People's Park future.

September 1994 Tien named to Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

September 1994 The main library's new four-story underground stacks open, connecting Doe Library with Moffitt Undergraduate Library to form one of the largest academic buildings in the world. The state-funded project also includes aboveground landscaping to create a central campus glade.

September 1, 1994 Tien announces that UC Berkeley received $110.7 million in private support in 1993-94, the sixth consecutive year that the campus topped the $100 million mark. This comes after a four-year period when state funding dropped $70 million or 18 percent.

October 11, 1994 Berkeley receives its 16th Nobel Prize, the 1994 Prize in Economic Sciences to pioneering game theorist John C. Harsanyi.

October 24, 1994 Campus dedicates state-of-the-art computer sciences building, Soda Hall, representing a new wave of buildings with classrooms and offices fully wired for computers and Internet access.

October 31, 1994 In Newsweek column Tien decries immigrant bashing.

January 13, 1995 Tien holds press conference to announce good news: $200 million in private gifts raised toward a proposed $1 billion fund-raising campaign.

April 28, 1995 Tien hosts US Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala at Charter Day.

May 6, 1995 Tien officiates at dedication of new Haas School of Business, a $55 million, high-tech facility financed completely by private donations.

May 1995 The US Congress appoints its first West-Coast Poet Laureate, UC Berkeley's Robert Hass, professor of English.

May 9, 1995 U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich addresses 1995 Commencement Convocation.

July 20, 1995 UC Regents vote to eliminate affirmative action in admissions over objections of Tien, the UC president and other chancellors.

July 26, 1995 Tien announces record year in fund raising: $156 million dollars raised in past 12 months. The good news comes at a time when direct state support now accounts for about 37 percent of UC Berkeley¹s budget, compared to 49 percent in 1990. During that same period student fees went up 117 percent.

September 7, 1995 Tien announces Berkeley Pledge, a $1 million UC Berkeley commitment to a new partnership with California's K-12 students. The goal is to prepare high school students to meet UC standards and thus maintain a diverse student body in the absence of affirmative action.

September 12, 1995 For the third straight decade the National Research Council ranks UC Berkeley one of the top universities in the country, with the largest number and the highest percentage of top-ranked doctoral programs in the nation.

November 14, 1995 Tien's colleagues host international symposium on thermal science in his honor.

January 18, 1996 Building toward the launch of a billion-dollar fund-raising campaign in the fall of 1996, Intel chairman Gordon E. Moore gives $15 million for ground-breaking "new materials" work at UC Berkeley.

February 1996 Tien named to membership in the Council on Foreign Relations.

February 29, 1996 Six months after announcement of Berkeley Pledge, the campus details proposal to develop "pipeline partnerships" with K-12 schools and expand its outreach and recruitment efforts to underrepresented minority students.

March 31, 1996 In the Sunday New York Times Tien writes on affirmative action.

April 23, 1996 Resolving a 27-year dispute over use of the property and marking a new era of town-gown cooperation, the Berkeley City Council approves a resolution for a People's Park management agreement with the campus.

June 10, 1996 Two UC Berkeley professors receive nation's highest scientific honor, the National Medal of Science. The campus total is now 20.

July 1, 1996 On his way to Taiwan, Tien announces major gift from Cal alumni and friends in Taiwan‹a $15 million pledge to help build the East Asian Library & Studies Center.

July 9, 1996 Tien announces decision to step down after seven years as UC Berkeley Chancellor, no later than June 30, 1997.

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