Former Chancellor Heyns Dies

Former ChancellorRoger W. Heyns died on Sept. 9 at age 77. At the time, he was in Greece with his wife, Esther, on a three-week tour that began in the Holy Land.

Retired for two years from the presidency of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in Palo Alto, Heyns served as chancellor from 1965 to 1971.

Described as a warm, thoughtful man who stayed calm and fair though many crises, Heyns is widely credited with holding the university together through the height of student dissent and anti-war protest.

"He came like a gift of heaven to leadership of the Berkeley campus," said former UC President Clark Kerr. "He was an ambassador of goodwill when so many others were expressing ill will."

Chancellor Tien, who knew Heyns well, described him as "a very warm human being with a strong dedication to the campus."

"Time after time he went to the center of trouble and did what needed to be done to keep the university open," said Tien.

Tien added that Esther Heyns also "worked hard for the university and made many contributions to this campus."

"Heyns presided as chancellor at Berkeley during some of the most turbulent and difficult times in the campus's history. His courage and even-handedness kept Berkeley open and its academic integrity intact," said current UC President Jack Peltason.

Born in Iowa in 1918, Heyns grew up in Holland, Mich. He attended Calvin College, becoming president of the 500-member student body. Following service in World War II, Heyns completed his graduate work at Michigan, earning a doctorate in 1949.

He joined the Michigan faculty in the early 1950s, specializing in such areas as group dynamics, social conformity and motivation. He is the author of "The Psychology of Personal Adjustment" (1958) and co-author of "An Anatomy for Conformity" (1962).

Heyns was a bright star at Michigan when in 1965, UC regents selected him unanimously to head the Berkeley campus.

Friends and associates of the former chancellor take particular note of his humanity and sense of equity. Upon taking office at Berkeley, Heyns moved into University House, the on-campus residence for chancellors that had been unoccupied for several terms.

According to Earl F. Cheit, vice chancellor at the time, Heyns did that because he thought he "ought to be in the center of things." Finding the house locked upon his arrival, Heyns simply climbed through a window, said Cheit.

"Heyns had clarity, good humor and an utter lack of a sense of self-importance," said Cheit, recalling that he once told his staff that leaders could either get things done or get credit for getting things done, but rarely could they choose to do both.

Heyns was committed to equality of opportunity. During his tenure, he made great strides in expanding outreach to minority students.

Upon leaving Berkeley in 1971, Heyns returned to teaching for a short period at Michigan before taking on the presidency of the American Council on Education in Washington, D.C. He was with the Hewlett Foundation from 1977 to 1993.

Heyns is survived by his wife and three sons and their families: Michael of Sioux City, Iowa; John of Holland, Mich.; and Daniel of Jackson, Mich. He also leaves his sister, Jacqueline Rudeen of Olympia, Wash., and seven grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held in Holland, Mich. A memorial service will be held in California, but dates have not yet been determined.


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