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Commencement 2004

UC Berkeley Web Feature

A few words of advice for the incoming chancellor

To give the new chancellor, Robert Birgeneau, and his wife, Mary Catherine, a head start on settling in at UC Berkeley and its host city, we asked students, faculty, and staff if they had any advice for the new arrivals. Not surprisingly for the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement, our respondents had strong opinions on everything from coffee to crosswalks. They did, however, forget to share the most important Berkeley caveat: Don't wear red on Big Game day (or preferably, ever)…


Beth Nitzberg
'Walk around campus as much as you can. Not only is it the same as having an open-door policy for people who want to approach you, but you get a good sense of what's going on just from the snippets of student and staff conversation you'll hear as you go by. Another reason to walk: parking is a huge problem both in the city of Berkeley and on campus.'
—Beth Nitzberg, senior administrative analyst, Athletic and Recreational Sports Office

'I hope the new chancellor comes in with both guns blazing, recognizing that leadership is always in short supply. Too much timidity is often a recipe for inaction. I hope he or she will also recognize that while academic excellence is always the first priority, the university's relationship with and obligations to the outside world should never be forgotten. And finally, I have never felt that it was more critical that the university begin to make itself relevant to the great host of issues and problems that bedevil the world. We will ignore at our peril the great opportunity and the need for universities like ours to be the locus of discussion on real-world issues.'
—Orville Schell, dean of the Graduate School of Journalism


 Elsa Tranter
'Skip Starbuck's. The best lattes in town are at Café Milano on Bancroft Way. Not only are they among the cheapest to be found, they're richer and better tasting — even the nonfat ones. And the staff are very efficient and nice.'
—Elsa Tranter, graduate assistant, sociology

'I hope the new chancellor will take special care of the campus's "small jewel" departments, like nuclear engineering. We have only seven or eight faculty, and yet we compete very successfully against MIT and the universities of Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin, which have much bigger programs. We're not alone on this campus; there are a number of other departments that have a small number of faculty compared to what they produce. Because we're small, even tiny cuts have a big impact. And lastly, there desperately needs to be a crosswalk between Etcheverry Hall and main campus. One of these days a student is going to get killed running across Hearst Avenue.'
—William Kastenberg, professor of nuclear engineering
William Kastenberg

Jonathan Moussa
'Listen to the Campanile bells playing. On Sundays they have concerts in the afternoon, and they're nice. The music can be really soothing.'
—Jonathan Moussa, Ph.D. candidate in physics

'Make international students a priority; pay more attention to their rights and needs on campus, and how budget cuts affect them. The new restrictions and fee increases are endangering the diversity on campus.'
—Mona El-Sherif, Ph.D. candidate in Near Eastern studies
Mona El-Sherif

Jesse Trutna
'The further north you go on campus, the more amicable the students are. South Siders are more impassioned; North Side students tend to be less political. If you're going to put a glass bottle in the trash by accident instead of in the recycling container, make sure you do it on the North Side.'
—Jesse Trutna, almost-graduate (Aug. 2004) in computer science and applied math

'There's so much to do here that you have to remember to take time off and reflect. The Berkeley Rose Garden is good for that.'
—Jovy Lam (left), 4th-year American Studies major
'Bring comfortable shoes for walking around campus. It's huge and there are a lot of big hills.'
—Monita Muchell (ctr), 4th-year African American Studies major
'Listen to Proverb 16:3, "Commit your ways to the Lord, and your plans will succeed."'
—Angie Kim (right), English '04
Jovy Lam, Monita Muchell, Angie Kim

Tom Leonard
'Students are nocturnal, and Doe Library is one of their favorite haunts. We really are the students' living room, along with the Free Speech Movement Café next door, where the coffee is always hot. Both are great places to meet students.'
—Tom Leonard, University Librarian