Chancellor outlines fundraising priorities

By D. Lyn Hunter, Public Affairs

10 October 2001 | Chancellor Berdahl on Friday announced four priorities that will guide campus fundraising efforts over the next three years.

Culled from more than 80 fundraising projects and needs for private support described by campus deans and directors, the four priorities are critical in maintaining the excellence of the university, Berdahl told the UC Berkeley Foundation board of trustees and campus fundraising staff on Oct. 5.

At the top of the list is the Health Sciences Initiative, aimed at bringing together physical and biological scientists and engineers to understand and solve today’s major health problems. With the frontiers of health sciences rapidly expanding and with Berkeley’s broad excellence in related fields, the campus has an opportunity to make a major contribution to human health, Berdahl said. The initiative, he said, “will redefine how we do research in the sciences.”

The initiative was launched in 1999 with a fundraising goal of $400 million. To date, $220 million has been raised.

A second top priority is construction of the East Asian Library and Studies Center. The proposed center will create new facilities that benefit the Department of East Asian Languages and the Institute of East Asian Studies, as well as house collections of the current East Asian Library. When completed, the center will bear the name of former chancellor Chang-Lin Tien.

So far, $28 million has been raised toward completion of the first phase of the project estimated to cost $35-40 million.

Also of critical importance, said Berdahl, is increasing endowments for graduate fellowships. The campus has become less competitive in recruiting top graduate stu- dents, he said, because Berkeley is unable to keep pace with the levels of financial support offered to top students by peer universities.

Private institutions with which Berkeley competes offer full funding for graduate students, Berdahl said. Berkeley is not always able to do that, particularly in the social sciences, arts and humanities.

“We don’t want to see our high standards in this area decline,” said Berdahl. “We will need a significant amount of endowment growth to begin to address this problem.”

The fourth priority is increasing support for undergraduate education. Christina Maslach, vice provost for undergraduate education, has been charged with coordinating this effort.

Other key initiatives identified by Berdahl include upgraded facilities for the physical sciences, a new location for the Berkeley Art Museum and seismic improvements to Memorial Stadium.

“The scale and feasibility of these projects remains to be seen,” said Berdahl. “But they are on the agenda and need to be addressed.”

Berdahl said private funding will become even more crucial to the campus in the coming years because of the economic downturn.

“In the past, the university enjoyed a high priority in the allocation of state funds, which enabled us to plan longer term growth,” he noted. “But now there is a great cloud over the state’s finances. We have to ask ourselves how we will deal with what is bound to be a greatly constrained budget next year.”

Donald McQuade, vice chancellor for university relations, outlined strategies to increase support, including building long-term relationships with Berkeley’s external constituencies; increasing collaboration among fundraising units across the campus; building the infrastructure needed to sustain fundraising growth; and identifying external trends that may affect private support of the campus.

“The university’s budget may be severely cut in the coming year,” said McQuade. “As a result, we will rely on private support to maintain the depth and breadth of what makes Cal the world’s premier university.”


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