Honoring Savio and Free Speech
by José Rodriguez, University Relations
Thirty-three years after Mario Savio mounted the roof of a police car to defend free speech at Berkeley, the campus is honoring his name and the movement he started with an endowment for books, a University Library cafe, and a digitized archive at The Bancroft Library.
Thanks to a $3.5 million gift by alumnus and former library employee Stephen M. Silberstein, Berkeley will establish an endowment to supplement state appropriations for the University Librarys collections, which have been the focal point of concern by faculty and students. The gift will also build a library cafe honoring Savio and the Free Speech Movement of 1964.
Chancellor Berdahl said the gift is an acknowledgment of Savios impact and the events of 1964 a reconciliation with history.
No one would disagree that the Free Speech Movement had a significant role in placing the American university center stage in the free flow of political ideas, no matter how controversial, Berdahl said.
Silberstein, who worked at the University Library for 10 years before co-founding his own company, Innovative Interfaces, said, I am honored to help keep alive the memory of Mario and the FSM, so that future generations can appreciate the tremendous amount that they accomplished here.
To do so by supporting the University Library, one of the worlds truly great libraries, is something I imagine Mario would appreciate, given his love of learning and ideas.
Silbersteins gift will fund three components of the Library: the Mario Savio/Free Speech Movement Endowment, the Free Speech Movement Cafe, and the Free Speech Movement Archives at The Bancroft Library.
The endowment will supplement state appropriations for the librarys collection budget. Besides serving latte, the 1,500-square-foot cafe will have Free Speech Movement exhibits illustrating the history of the period.
The FMS Archives will enhance Bancrofts body of material on the subject, and make the archives available via the Internet.
While the gift forms a small part of Berkeleys Campaign for the New Century, it is among the largest gifts ever for the University Library.
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