As we begin the spring semester, I want to welcome you back and bring you up to date on some recent campus developments and on Governor Pete Wilson's budget proposal. The outlook for Berkeley is extremely positive.
On Jan. 7 I was in Sacramento to attend the governor's inauguration. He made a point of coming over to me and making sure that I noticed he was wearing his Cal tie. Indeed, he wore the same Cal tie when he made his acceptance speech on election night. The governor is very proud of his degree from the Boalt School of Law, presently celebrating its 100th anniversary.
I wanted to share this encounter with you, because it is a good example of the pride our alumni are feeling these days in the institution--and in the work that you are doing--everywhere I go.
Very tangible evidence of this pride is the generous private gifts to the campus that were announced last week. In the past 18 months, we have received donations that surpass $200 million--a record breaking pace of giving to launch our proposed capital campaign.
The governor's commitment to the University of California system over the next four years is also very positive. The greater stability offered by his budget plan gives us a platform upon which to build for the future. The proposed budget for next year, which includes a 2 percent increase in our state budget allocation, also includes funds to expand the faculty and stabilize the UC student/faculty ratio.
While strongly supporting the research and academic mission of the university, the governor has also made clear his desire to see further improvements in administrative efficiency and productivity. This is a goal that I strongly support. As you know, we have already eliminated more than half a dozen high-level management positions in Berkeley's administration, and we will continue to prune our administrative costs.
I am excited about the prospect of working with our new leadership team, headed by The Vice Chancellor and Provost Carol Christ. I am pleased to welcome Professor Genaro Padilla as our acting vice chancellor for undergraduate affairs and Iwill soon announce the new vice chancellor for business and administrative services.
I continue to put a high priority on improvements to the environment on and around the campus. Already I have had a very productive meeting with the new mayor of Berkeley, Shirley Dean. As a long-term campus employee, she knows the university very well. She and I will work together to continue our town-gown initiatives, including improved street lighting, greater cooperation between the campus and Berkeley police departments, a faculty coordinator to focus campus resources on resolving neighborhood problems and matching funds for capital improvements to Southside.
Our campus environment is also enhanced by the opening of the impressive new Haas School of Business this semester. In fact, we have moved into several new or enhanced facilities this year, including the underground library stacks, the Valley Life Sciences Building and Soda Hall. Money for capital improvements proposed in the governor's budget would enable us to move forward with the long-awaited Dwinelle Hall expansion and take care of some serious deferred maintenance.
The successful completion of the large number of campus buildings in the last 10 years has been as a result of our previous capital campaign. As we move into the new campaign, the priority is on direct support for students and faculty, advancing their work in teaching and research.
Finally, I am making discretionary resources available to move the campus forward in high-technology areas by enhancing faculty computing and assisting faculty research initiatives; and by automating administrative procedures and providing staff training and development to ensure its success. I am also continuing to support undergraduate student employment and graduate student fellowships.
I am very aware of the dedication and commitment you bring to the campus each day. Despite the fact that we are doing more with less, your patience and sacrifice have enabled us to keep Berkeley strong and to continue attracting the very best students, faculty and staff to our ranks. This faith and loyalty are heartening. I look forward to working with you during what promises to be another productive and enjoyable semester.
Chang-Lin Tien, Chancellor