Berkeley — Chang-Lin Tien, who, as chancellor
of the University of California, Berkeley, from 1990-97
was an outspoken supporter of equal opportunity in higher
education and who preserved the campus's preeminence despite
a prolonged state budget crisis, died Tuesday, Oct. 29
at Kaiser Permanente hospital in Redwood City. He was
67 years old.
September 2000, Tien was diagnosed with a brain tumor
and suffered a debilitating stroke during a diagnostic
test. He never regained his health and retired from his
many duties on June 30, 2001.
memorial service: Even in death, Chang-Lin
Tien illuminates and inspires
(Nov. 14, 2001)
Tien announces the "Berkeley
Pledge," vowing to do everything
possible to ensure that California students
receive a first-rate education, regardless
of their race, ethnicity or gender.
Excerpt from Tien's
(Sept. 7, 1995)
(March 22, 1991)
President Richard Atkinson's tribute,
delivered at a symposium honoring Tien
(June 22, 2002)
Robert Berdahl's tribute, taped after
of C.D. (Dan) Mote, former vice chancellor
for University Relations at Berkeley,
at the June, 2002 symposium honoring Tien
by the Committee of 100, upon conferring
on Tien their Inspiration Award in Washington
(April 26, 2001)
of the most popular and respected leaders in American
higher education and an engineering scholar of international
renown, Tien spent nearly his entire professional career
at UC Berkeley. He was the campus's seventh chancellor
and the first Asian American to head a major research
university in the United States.
was an exceptional leader during one of UC Berkeley's
most challenging periods, a time of severe budget cuts
and political changes," said UC Berkeley Chancellor
Robert M. Berdahl. "His energy and optimism, his
willingness to fight for the principles he cherished,
and his loyalty and love for this campus made it stronger
Tien's visionary leadership, outstanding scholarship,
uncommon enthusiasm, and warm regard for his fellow human
beings have made an everlasting mark on the Berkeley campus
— and have secured for him a very special place
in the long line of Berkeley chancellors," said UC
President Richard Atkinson. "He has made an immeasurable
contribution to the vitality and excellence of UC Berkeley
and to the educational opportunities available to students
matter of excellence
Tien once said the most important fight he faced as UC
Berkeley chancellor was in the early 1990s when, with
California's economy lagging, state funding to the campus
dropped $70 million, or 18 percent, within four years.
During the same time period, 27 percent of active faculty
members took advantage of incentives to retire early and
personally recruited top young professors, dedicated himself
to retaining prominent faculty members and presided over
consecutive years of record private fund-raising, vowing
that UC Berkeley would stay on top.
not a matter of whether we can survive," he said
in 1993, asking the public to help spare the campus's
dismantling by lobbying their legislators, "it's
a matter of being excellent or mediocre."
Berkeley more than weathered the storm. In 1995, for the
third straight decade, the National Research Council identified
UC Berkeley as one of the premier research universities
in the nation. Overall, 97 percent of the UC Berkeley
graduate programs assessed in the survey made its Top
help reduce the impact of the state cuts on the university,
Tien in 1996 launched an ambitious fund-raising drive,
the largest of its kind at the time for a public university.
"The Promise of Berkeley — Campaign for the
New Century" would support students and faculty members
through scholarships, professorships, research funds and
facilities. Encouraged by Tien to strengthen ties with
its alumni and friends worldwide, the campus raised more
than $975 million under his leadership.
a gala in April 2001 to celebrate the end of the campaign,
which ultimately raised $1.44 billion, Berdahl announced
that a new facility to house campus resources in East
Asian studies, languages and cultures would bear Tien's
name and be "a tribute to his enduring presence on
an East Asian center at UC Berkeley was one of Tien’s
favorite campaign projects and reflected his roots in
the region. The Tien family requests that donations in
memory of the former chancellor be made to a project he
championed and which will be named in his honor, the Chang-Lin
Tien Center for East Asian Studies.
in the United States and overseas, Tien's expertise
— in thermal science and engineering, as an educator
and humanitarian — was called upon by engineers,
scholars and government officials alike.
the field of thermal sciences, "he was a visionary.
... He marked out new high-impact areas, he did seminal
work in those areas, and then he led everybody to the
next area," said Richard O. Buckius, a former student
of Tien's who is professor and head of the Department
of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University
of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
radiation, thermal insulation and, most recently, microscale
thermal phenomena were among the fields carved out by
Tien, the campus's first NEC Distinguished Professor
of Engineering. He also made important contributions to
fluid flow, phase-change energy transfer, heat pipes,
reactor safety, cryogenics and fire phenomena.
major contribution was always helping to understand the
phenomena," said Buckius, "but he also had an
eye on the applications in order to insure the impact
of the basic research."
the United States and Hong Kong governments called upon
Tien for technical advice. He helped solve problems with
the Space Shuttle's insulating tiles and with the nuclear
reactor meltdown at Three Mile Island in the late 1970s.
Hong Kong, he was chair of the Chief Executive's
Commission on Innovation and Technology. The government
there recently gave Tien its highest award, the Grand
Bauhinia Medal, for service to the territory. In Japan,
his basic formulas for "superinsulation" are
used in the design of magnetic levitation trains.
1999, Tien received from the UC Regents the prestigious
title of University Professor for his groundbreaking research
and service to the university. The post allowed him to
be a "professor-at-large" on all 10 UC campuses.
"His scholarly work has been of enormous benefit
to humankind," said Berdahl, "and around the
world, he has touched tens of thousands of people with
his enthusiasm and kindness."
chancellor, Tien also was an unofficial diplomat in Asia,
meeting with heads of state including Chinese President
Jiang Zemin and Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui. He helped
found the Committee of 100, a nonpartisan group of prominent
Chinese Americans that promotes dialogue and understanding
between the United States and China. Last year, the committee
presented Tien with its Inspiration Award.
also became "a bridge-builder to overcome the many
disconnections between public K-12 education and higher
education," former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard
Riley said in June. "He understood that a university
like Berkeley could remain one of the great crown jewels
of American higher education only if it had a steady stream
of talented students from all walks of life and every
stratum of our society."
in integrity, justice
Tien was born on July 24, 1935, in Wuhan, China, and educated
in Shanghai and Taiwan. With his family, he fled China's
Communist regime for Taiwan in 1949. After completing
his undergraduate education at National Taiwan University,
Tien arrived penniless in the United States in 1956 to
study at the University of Louisville. Supported by scholarships,
he earned his master's degree there in 1957 and then a
second master's degree and his PhD in mechanical engineering
at Princeton University in 1959.
joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1959 as an assistant
professor of mechanical engineering. In 1962, when he
was 26 years old, Tien became the youngest professor to
receive UC Berkeley's Distinguished Teaching Award, an
award for which he was enduringly proud. Rising through
the ranks, he became a full professor in 1968, later served
as chair for seven years of the Department of Mechanical
Engineering and, for two years, 1983-85, was UC Berkeley's
vice chancellor for research. In 1988, Tien left UC Berkeley
— for his first and only time — when he was
appointed executive vice chancellor at UC Irvine. He returned
to UC Berkeley as chancellor in 1990.
man of great personal integrity and a fighter for justice
and equal opportunity, Tien said his values and ideals
were shaped, in part, by the racism and discrimination
he encountered in America. To explain his support for
affirmative action as a tool to level the playing field
in college admissions, he often told the story of how,
as a new immigrant, he confronted a South still divided
along color lines.
day I got on a bus and saw that all the black people were
in the back, the white people in front. I didn't know
where I belonged, so for a long time I stood near the
driver," Tien would recall. "Finally, he told
me to sit down in the front, and I did. I didn't take
another bus ride for a whole year. I would walk an hour
to avoid that."
said that, as a student, he had to stop a professor in
Louisville from addressing him only as "China man"
and confronted housing restrictions against "Orientals
and Negros" in Berkeley in the 1950s and '60s. These
experiences made him sensitive not only to victims of
racism, he said, but to all people who suffer disadvantage
of affirmative action
In a 1996 essay in The New York Times, Tien made his case
for the use of affirmative action in university admissions,
in direct opposition to the UC Regents' decision in 1995
to abolish its use. Tien wrote that America had come a
long way since the days of Jim Crow segregation, but that
equal opportunity for everyone was not yet a reality.
would be a tragedy if our nation's colleges and universities
slipped backward now, denying access to talented but disadvantaged
youth and eroding the diversity that helps to prepare
leaders," he wrote.
was a naturalized U.S. citizen who said he was deeply
grateful to be an American, but he also was proudly Chinese.
When he became chancellor, he declined the suggestion
from well-meaning supporters that he seek coaching to
speak with less of an accent. On his office wall hung
the Chinese character for crisis, but Tien explained how
it actually represents two ideas – danger and opportunity.
He said he preferred to see most crises as opportunities.
faced both as UC Berkeley's chancellor.
addition to successfully battling years of devastating
state budget cuts on campus, Tien developed ways to counter
the impact of the UC Regents' ban on affirmative action.
In 1995, for example, he launched the Berkeley Pledge,
a partnership between UC Berkeley and California's K-12
public schools that now is called School/University Partnerships.
Designed to improve the academic performance of hundreds
of students in the Berkeley, Oakland, West Contra Costa
and San Francisco unified school districts, the program
was a model for Education Secretary Riley in creating
a national program that today is active in almost every
state in America.
cheerleader for Cal
As chancellor, Tien was beloved as a champion of students.
He was famous for his frequent strolls to Sproul Plaza
to greet students, bringing cookies to those studying
late in the library, and yelling a heartfelt "Go,
Bears!" at events. If he returned to UC Berkeley
at night after a long trip, he'd frequently visit the
campus to check in with students working in his lab before
great sports fan, Tien found time to cheer on UC Berkeley's
teams, often doing so while running onto the field with
the players at the start of football games. As an undergraduate
in Taiwan, Tien had aspired to play professional basketball,
turning to academic pursuits only after reluctantly acknowledging
that, at 5’6" tall, a professional career was
also launched a "Smooth Transition" program
for incoming UC Berkeley students, special small-class
seminars to bring freshmen and sophomores in closer touch
with top faculty members, and other initiatives that helped
undergraduate retention rates continue to rise.
raised the profile of women in leadership at UC Berkeley,
appointing the first woman vice chancellor and provost
— the second-in-command on campus — and the
first woman chief of the campus police department. He
also brought more ethnic diversity to the leadership of
the university administration.
asteroid, an oil tanker and other honors
During his career, Tien's many honors included, in 1976,
becoming one of the youngest members of the National Academy
of Engineering, which awarded its highest honor to him,
the NAE Founders Award, in September 2001. The award recognizes
academy members who have made lifelong contributions to
engineering and whose accomplishments have benefited U.S.
also was elected a fellow of the Academia Sinica of Taiwan,
the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American
Association for the Advancement of Science, the American
Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the
American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), as well
as a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
He was an honorary professor of the 15 leading universities
in China and an honorary research professor in the Chinese
Academy of Sciences' Institute of Thermophysics.
his long list of awards is the highest international award
in heat transfer, the Max Jakob Memorial Award. He also
won the Gustus L. Larson Memorial Award and the Heat Transfer
Memorial Award of the ASME, the Thermophysics Award of
the AIAA; the Thermal Engineering Award for International
Activity of the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers;
the 1996 Fellowship Award of the International Centre
for Heat and Mass Transfer; the Golden Plate Award of
the American Academy of Achievement; and the Harvard Foundation
Award from Harvard University.
was the first recipient of the UC Presidential Medal.
He also was given UC Berkeley's Clark Kerr Medal and the
Benjamin Ide Wheeler Medal of the Berkeley Community Fund.
held 12 honorary doctorates, including degrees from universities
in China, Hong Kong and Canada. One unique honor was when
the Zi Jin Mountain Observatory in China named a newly
discovered asteroid "Tienchanglin." Also bearing
his name is one of the world's largest oil tankers —
Chevron Corp.'s M/T Chang-Lin Tien.
was a consultant to many organizations, research laboratories
and private companies and served on the boards of numerous
firms, including Chevron, Kaiser Permanente and Wells
Fargo Bank, as well as on the boards of the San Francisco
Symphony and Princeton University.
authored more than 300 research journal and monograph
articles, 16 edited volumes and one book.
all his academic successes, friends and colleagues said
that Tien was devoted, above all, to his family.
wife and children joined some 200 admirers from around
the world last June on campus, and many others via Webcast,
to celebrate the former chancellor's contributions
to research, education and society. Former U.S. Education
Secretary Riley, National Science Foundation Director
Rita R. Colwell, UC President Atkinson, former UC President
Jack W. Peltason, former UC Regent Ralph Carmona, and
many former students and colleagues attended.
the event, Chancellor Berdahl awarded Tien the Berkeley
Citation, the campus's highest honor for a retiring faculty
Tien's death, Berdahl said, "For over 40 years, he
has been a dedicated citizen of this campus, and he will
be sorely missed."
is survived by his wife, Di-Hwa, of Berkeley; a son, Norman,
a professor of electrical and computer engineering at
UC Davis; and daughters Phyllis, a physician at the University
of California, San Francisco; and Christine, the deputy
city manager of Stockton. Tien also leaves four grandchildren.
gifts to honor the former chancellor may be made to the
Chang-Lin Tien Center for East Asian Studies. Checks,
payable to the UC Berkeley Foundation, may be sent to
Vice Chancellor-University Relations, University Relations,
2440 Bancroft Way #4200, University of California, Berkeley,
Berkeley, CA 94720-4200. For more information on the center
or to make an online contribution, see http://tiencenter.berkeley.edu/.
about Chang-Lin Tien:
Timeline: Milestones of Tien's tenure as UC Berkeley
Scores a Touchdown with Tien: A 1997 profile of the
tireless chancellor from Berkeley Magazine.
AsianWeek: "Time Out for Chancellor Tien":
In a 1997 conversation with AsianWeek one week before
his departure from Berkeley for an extended tour of Asia,
Tien talked about the high and low points of his tenure,
his impassioned fight to preserve affirmative action,
the current political climate toward Asian Pacific Americans,
and his brush with national politics.
Bridges with Asia: Asian Americans in the United States:
Tien presented this keynote address about affirmative
action's role in fighting discrimination to the Asia Society
Tien Center for East Asian Studies
This new facility will bring together UC Berkeley's incomparable
resources and programs in East Asian studies. It will
unite the East Asian Library, the Institute of East Asian
Studies, and the Department of East Asian Languages and
Cultures in a new, state-of-the-art building of architectural
distinction. It is one of the university's top fund-raising
Tien: An educator, a diplomat, a mentor: A report
on the June 2002 UC Berkeley symposium honoring Tien,
from the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional
Good Teachers Say About Teaching: Chancellor Tien,
a UC Berkeley Distinguished Professor, on the interrelationship
between teaching and research.