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Governor Gray Davis Headlines Charter Day Celebration of Campus' 131 Years

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Happy Birthday, All You Golden Bears
Governor Gray Davis Headlines Charter Day Celebration of Campus' 131 Years

By D. Lyn Hunter, Public Affairs
Posted May 5, 1999

Photo: Gray Davis

California Governor Gray Davis was keynote speaker at the Charter Day ceremony in Zellerbach Auditorium. Peg Skorpinski photo.

With a mighty grrrrr, the Berkeley campus threw a giant birthday party for itself April 30 celebrating 131 years of education.

The Charter Day event started in a packed Zellerbach Auditorium with the Cal band playing traditional songs, a poem about books written and read by Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz, awarding of the Haas International Award to Berkeley alum Ahmed Goueli and remarks by the Chancellor.

Governor Gray Davis then took the stage to congratulate the campus on its continuing contributions to the state and to talk about improving educational opportunities for California's youth. Since taking office, Davis has implemented a high school graduation exam, a peer-review process for K-12 teachers and $200 million for an intensive reading program to help more than 250,000 children statewide improve their skills.

"Our educational culture needs to change," said Davis. "We need to replace excuses for poor performance with higher expectations for our children."

Davis challenged Berkeley students and faculty to help him "renew the promise of public education in our great state."

Reflecting on the recent shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., he said this tragic event reminds us of the need to teach children how to resolve conflicts without weapons, to encourage tolerance and respect for differences and to better recognize the warning signs of troubled children.

Davis' speech was briefly interrupted by a small group of protesters from the Third World Liberation Front, which seeks increased funding and support for Berkeley's ethnic studies program. Another protester shouted his demand for the Governor to grant clemency for death-row inmate Manny Babbitt, a Vietnam veteran since executed for the 1980 murder of an elderly Sacramento woman.

After Davis' speech, the UC Men's Octet sang "Hail to California." The party then moved outdoors to sunny Dwinelle Plaza for cake, entertainment and a drawing for a $500 vacation voucher.


May 5 - 11, 1999 (Volume 27, Number 33)
Copyright 1999, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
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