UC Berkeley NewsView of Campanile and Golden Gate Bridge
NewsCenter
Today's news & events
News by email
For the news media
Calendar of events
Web feature

A timeline of Robert M. Berdahl’s years as chancellor of UC Berkeley

March 1997 Robert M. Berdahl appointed eighth chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, effective July 1, 1997.
July 1997A $10 million gift from the Richard & Rhoda Goldman Fund goes to the Graduate School of Public Policy for improved facilities and new academic and public outreach initiatives. In recognition of the gift, the school is named in honor of the Goldmans.
Aug. 1997For the first time since World War II, the majority (50.7 percent) of UC Berkeley's entering class are women.
Nov. 1997 National Science Foundation names UC Berkeley to head the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER) Center, one of three new centers for such research in the country.
Oct. 1997Following a comprehensive structural review of campus buildings, Berdahl announces an action plan to improve seismic safety on campus. The SAFER (Seismic Action Plan for Facilities Enhancement and Renewal) Program calls for more than $1 billion in public and private funds, administrative restructuring, and a coordinated effort to guide extensive retrofitting and new construction.
Dec. 1997Berkeley chemists Darleane C. Hoffman and Harold S. Johnston receive the National Medal of Science in a White House ceremony.
March 1998Berdahl and the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) announce a new operational structure for the student-run bookstore, in an effort to return it to profitability and generate money for student activities.
April 1998Berdahl is inaugurated as chancellor in a ceremony also celebrating the 130th anniversary of the founding of the University of California.
May 1998Berdahl appoints Laura D'Andrea Tyson, former chief economic adviser to President Bill Clinton, as dean of the Haas School of Business, and Edward Penhoet, former president and CEO of Chiron Corp., as dean of the School of Public Health. These are the first of more than 16 deans Berdahl will name during his tenure.
July 1998UC Berkeley launches a four-year restoration and seismic retrofitting of historic Hearst Memorial Mining Building, which many call the architectural gem of the UC system.
Aug. 1998Alumni giving rate climbs from 9 percent to 14 percent between 1993 and 1997, a reversal of historically low levels.
Aug. 1998The Fields Medal, often called the Nobel Prize of mathematics, is awarded to Professor Richard Ewen Borcherds.
Aug. 1998UC Berkeley student fees decrease (by four percent) for the first time in recent history.
Aug. 1998Berdahl teaches a freshman seminar on the history of the University of California. Student demand is high to enroll in the class, part of a popular program of seminars limited to 15 first-year students.
Oct. 1998Berdahl establishes position of Vice Chancellor for Capital Projects to coordinate the campus's massive seismic retrofitting program and new construction.
Nov. 1998 UC Berkeley and the Novartis Agricultural Discovery Institute, Inc. create a unique - and controversial - long-term research collaboration, with Novartis committing $25 million over five years to support basic research in agricultural genomics.
Nov. 1998Professor Bruce N. Ames is named by President Clinton to receive the National Medal of Science.
Feb. 1999Nobel Laureate Glenn T. Seaborg, one of the great chemists of the 20th century, adviser to 10 U.S. presidents, and former UC Berkeley chancellor, dies at age 86.
March 1999UC Berkeley graduation rate hits an all-time high with more than 82 percent of students now graduating, outpacing most other top public research institutions.
April 1999California Gov. Gray Davis delivers keynote speech at Charter Day, the 131st anniversary of the founding of the university.
May 1999Berdahl underscores the campus's continued commitment to Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley, reaching an agreement with concerned faculty and students who had launched a strike in support of the department.
May 1999UC Berkeley teaching assistants vote in favor of representation by the United Auto Workers. Berdahl commends the high voter turnout and "looks forward to a productive relationship with the union."
Sept. 1999The 12,000-seat Walter A. Haas Jr. Pavilion opens as a venue for basketball and other activities.
Oct. 1999Berdahl launches the Health Sciences Initiative, a bold interdisciplinary effort to understand and solve major health problems and stimulate breakthroughs in the treatment of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, brain and spinal cord injuries, and genetic and infectious diseases.
Feb. 2000Paul R. Gray, dean of the College of Engineering, is named Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost.
April 2000The first-of-its-kind Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic is established, combining expertise in high-technology law, public policy and consumer rights.
May 2000U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright speaks at Commencement Convocation about foreign policy and U.S. national security interests.
May 2000The Virginia-based Whitaker Foundation awards $15 million to UC Berkeley's two-year-old Department of Bioengineering, boosting work on biomedical advances to diagnose and treat disease and prolong healthy life.
June 2000Berdahl creates two new vice provost positions, one for academic affairs and faculty welfare and a second to oversee academic planning and facilities. They are key components in Berdahl's restructuring of the campus's senior administration to seize opportunities in teaching, technology and research.
Aug. 2000"Deeply saddened" by news that a UC Berkeley student and her parents died in a Berkeley house fire, Berdahl institutes measures to strengthen fire safety in local housing for students.
Oct. 2000Professor Daniel L. McFadden wins the Nobel Prize in economics, describing himself at a campus press conference as "a designer of the machinery that other economists can use."
Nov. 2000UC Berkeley opens a new, privately funded $5 million Brain Imaging Center, housing the largest magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner in the United States devoted solely to basic research in neuroscience
Dec. 2000Berdahl creates the new post of vice provost for undergraduate education, underscoring his commitment to enhancing undergraduate education.
Dec. 2000Gov. Gray Davis establishes three new California Institutes for Science and Innovation and later, persuaded by UC Berkeley, asks the state Legislature to fund a fourth, headquartered at UC Berkeley. Each is awarded $100 million (to be matched by $200 million in private gifts) over the next four years. UC Berkeley is part of two of the multi-campus centers: the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS), based at Berkeley, and the California Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research (QB3), centered at UC San Francisco.
March 2001Calling it "an unprecedented success in American higher education," Berdahl announces that the Campaign for the New Century has raised $1.4 billion, surpassing the goal set when it was launched in 1993.
May 2001Berdahl announces plans to name the proposed East Asian Library and Studies Center in honor of Chang-Lin Tien, former UC Berkeley chancellor.
June 2001For the first time, summer sessions receive state funding, allowing expanded summer enrollment to serve increasing numbers of students.
Sept. 2001A campuswide memorial service to honor those who died in the terrorist attacks of September 11 draws 12,000 people to Memorial Glade.
Oct. 2001Professor George A. Akerlof wins the Nobel Prize in economics, the second consecutive year in which the Nobel has gone to a UC Berkeley economist.
Jan. 2002A new report finds UC Berkeley is a powerful force in the Bay Area economy, with its educational and research enterprise making the region a leading center for innovation.
Jan. 2002Speaking to a full house at Zellerbach Hall, former President Bill Clinton talks about the overriding importance of our common humanity in the "world without walls" created by globalization.
April 2002After Berdahl urges the continuation of calm, civil debate on the explosive topic of the Mideast, student demonstrators stage a sit-in at Wheeler Hall during midterm exams, resulting in 78 arrests.
May 2002UC Berkeley physicist Marvin Cohen and chemist Gabor Somorjai are awarded the National Medal of Science.
May 2002An English class to be taught by a graduate student instructor on "The Politics and Poetics of Palestine Resistance" draws widespread media attention and criticism over a course description discouraging "conservative thinkers" from enrolling. The university acknowledges a failure of oversight and acts to remedy it.
May 2002Summer sessions draw a record number of UC students, with enrollment topping 40 percent of the regular term for the first time in the program's 103-year history.
May 2002Trying to fill a record budget shortfall, the state of California proposes cuts to many programs, including significant cuts for the University of California.
June 2003The Association of University Libraries ranks UC Berkeley's as the top public university library in North America. The campus library is ranked No. 3 overall, behind Harvard and Yale.
Aug. 2002Unions representing clerical workers and lecturers stage a brief strike during the first days of classes for the new school year. Campus operations continue without significant interruption, and the university and the unions reach agreement on new contracts the following May.
Sept. 2002 Thousands gather on Sproul Plaza to mourn the victims and commemorate the heroes of the terrorist attacks a year earlier. Berdahl denounces "outrageous allegations" that the campus memorial was "unpatriotic" because students considered distributing white ribbons to those attending instead of red-white-and-blue ones.
Sept. 2002 "Bear in Mind," the chancellor's radio-style Web talk show, debuts with interviews and conversation about key issues of the day and life in the Cal community.
Sept. 2002Randy Schekman, professor of molecular and cell biology, wins the Lasker Award, the nation's highest award for basic medical research.
Oct. 2002Chang-Lin Tien, Berdahl's predecessor as UC Berkeley chancellor, an internationally known engineering scholar and a beloved figure on campus, dies at age 67.
Nov. 2002Cal wins its first Big Game of the new millennium, crushing Stanford on the gridiron 30-7 and bringing the coveted Axe back to campus.
Nov. 2002John Dwyer, dean of the Boalt Hall law school, announces he will resign following an allegation of sexual harassment that he denies. The university conducts a thorough review of its sexual harassment policies and institutes increased education on harassment for students, faculty, staff and administrators.
Jan. 2003As the state budget crisis deepens, Berdahl establishes committees and sets core principles to guide the campus in coping with more than $370 million in proposed cuts to state funding of the University of California system.
April 2003 The eruption of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in Asia prompts government travel advisories and subsequent summer enrollment restrictions at UC Berkeley for students from SARS-affected areas. Berkeley's policies draw sharp criticism, but the campus's planning for SARS paves the way for other institutions as they prepare for similar public health threats.
April 2003A "War in Iraq" faculty forum fills Zellerbach Hall. The event is one of a semester-long series resulting from a special advisory committee appointed by Berdahl to foster ongoing campus dialogue on issues related to the war.
May 2003After nearly three years of work and review, UC Berkeley unveils its Strategic Academic Plan to guide the campus into the future.
May 2003Campus breaks ground for the Stanley Biosciences and Bioengineering Facility, to be the campus's largest research building.
Sept. 2003Berdahl announces plans to step down as Berkeley's eighth chancellor at the end of June 2004.