by Fernando Quintero
With the announcement last week by Chancellor Tien of nearly $200 million in private gifts to the campus in the past year and a half, the stage is set for a proposed $1 billion fund raising campaign--the largest in the university's history.
"These gifts, from corporate and civic leaders across the state, demonstrate tremendous confidence in Berkeley--and a growing conviction that private support is needed to keep this public university strong," said Tien last Friday at a press conference at Alumni House.
While the campus's last campaign emphasized building new facilities, the preliminary goals of the planned $1 billion campaign are to enhance programs and support for undergraduates, graduate students and faculty alike.
The official announcement of the campaign is set for late 1996, when campus fund raisers hope to have raised about half their goal.
Of the money raised so far, $100 million comes from major gifts, including $25 million from an anonymous donor--the largest single gift ever received by a UC campus--and $25 million in contributions from Mimi and Peter E. Haas Sr. and Evelyn and Walter A. Haas Jr.
The $25 million anonymous gift is dedicated for science facilities and an endowment in the social sciences. Of the Haas gifts, $15 million is for top academic priorities at the discretion of the chancellor, and $10 million will go toward a new $35 million student athletic and activity facility that will include an expansion of the basketball arena.
"Raising $1 billion by the turn of the century will definitely be a challenge," said Tien.
"I am encouraged by these early major gifts, which show that our alumni and friends realize that it will require massive doses of private gifts to keep Berkeley's access and excellence alive, and they are reaching deeper than ever before to help."
One explanation for the generosity, said Tien, is that people are beginning to realize the importance of the campus to the state and the economy.
High-quality university education and research have been crucial in the development of California's computer and high-tech industries, as well as its biotechnology companies.
Peter Haas, a Berkeley alumnus and chair of the executive committee of Levi Strauss & Co., said at Friday's announcement that his support was "a chance to give back to the campus what it has given me."
Haas, who quipped that despite "some long afternoons at Memorial Stadium, I keep coming back," has been instrumental in rounding up financial support for the campus as head of the chancellor's campaign cabinet, said Tien.
A major emphasis of the campaign is new directions in research and education, in particular high-tech education.
One of the largest goals is to raise $83 million to launch a program to research and develop new types of materials for industry.
The latest gifts come at a time when state funding for higher education has plummeted. In the past four years, Berkeley has lost $70 million in state funds.
The trend is for modest increases in coming years.
Today, the state contributes only 37 percent of the campus budget, compared to nearly half in 1990.
However, despite the difficulties facing the state, Wilson continues to champion higher education as is reflected in his current budget proposal, said C.D. Mote Jr., vice chancellor of University Relations.