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Celebrations, ceremonies, symposia shaping up for Birgeneau inauguration

| 17 March 2005

Three days of academic events and celebrations will surround the April 15 ceremony inaugurating Robert J. Birgeneau as UC Berkeley's ninth chancellor and celebrating the 137th anniversary of the founding of the University of California. Information on all inauguration events is online at inauguration.berkeley.edu.


The campus community is invited to a range of inaugural festivities from Thursday through Saturday, April 14 to 16 - from a student barbecue to a faculty-staff reception, and from symposia on some of today's most debated topics to the formal inauguration ceremony itself.

The celebration for Birgeneau, who took office last September, is timed to coincide with the commemoration of Charter Day, marking the university's establishment in 1868, and with the annual Cal Day, this year set for Saturday, April 16, with some 35,000 visitors expected for the campus open house.

The theme of the inaugural events is "Frontiers of Knowledge, Frontiers of Education," highlighting emerging fields of research and teaching and advances in the ways students learn. Inauguration symposia on the subject will feature sessions on all three days, all free and open to the public.

Festivities kick off on Thursday, April 14, with a student-sponsored barbecue and ice cream social at noon in Sproul Plaza. The first of the symposia, "Frontiers of Education," will begin at 2 p.m. in the Berkeley Art Museum Theater; Vice Provost Christina Maslach will moderate a faculty panel examining innovations in teaching and learning. The panelists include economist Martha Olney, Robert Full of integrative biology, and Professor Steven Lerman, director of the Center for Educational Computing Initiatives at MIT.

Also on Thursday, Chancellor Birgeneau will be the guest of honor at an inauguration reception for faculty and staff, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Chevron Auditorium of International House. All are invited to attend.

Friday, April 15, is inauguration day. It begins at 10 a.m. with part two of the inauguration symposia, "Frontiers of Knowledge," at the Pacific Film Archive Theater. Wendy Brown, professor of women's studies and political science, will moderate a discussion of leading-edge research, sparked by panelists Maria Mavroudi (a Berkeley historian who is an expert on Greek-Arabic cultural relations in the Middle Ages) and neurologist Robert Knight, professor of psychology.

For a break from the cerebral, the community is invited to indulge in cupcakes and games marking the charter anniversary at 11:30 a.m. on Friday in Sproul Plaza.

Friday's highlight is the central event of the weekend: the Inaugural and Charter Day Ceremony at 2 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall. Traditional processions of faculty, staff, alumni, students, and distinguished visitors will start the event, which will feature Birgeneau's investiture and inaugural address, as well as other speakers and student entertainment. A reception follows for all attendees in Alumni House. (Free tickets for the ceremony are available at the Cal Performances box office at Zellerbach Hall.)

Inaugural events will continue on Cal Day, Saturday, April 16, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The chancellor will give a special talk at 2 p.m. (at which he will also present the annual Haas Public Service Award). The inaugural symposia will continue throughout the day, with faculty experts engaging visitors on five hot topics: "Preparing for What's Next: SARS, HIV, Avian Flu" (10 a.m., featuring Berkeley alumna Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), "Winning Elections: Why and How the Republicans Win" (11 a.m.), "Socratic Dialogue: A Country of Immigrants – What is an American?" (noon), "Working Women: Babies, Burnout, and Balance" (1 p.m.), and "Future Nobelists," a look at undergraduate research (3 p.m.).

Locations and panelists will be announced soon, and a full schedule of Cal Day events will be online starting April 1 at www.berkeley.edu/calday.

The weekend concludes with the annual Charter Banquet Gala, sponsored by the California Alumni Association, on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at Fort Mason in San Francisco. (Tickets are $125 per person, and reservations are required by April 4.)